December 29, 2015—January 11, 2016

If you are interested in this trip and have not submitted your deposit, contact immediately.

This hands-on course is for those who want to learn more about the field of digital publishing while exploring some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, mountains and glaciers in the country of New Zealand. In this course we will write, photograph and capture sound and video to create original content for online publications and produce a video-based travel documentary. Our trip begins by viewing the Southern Cross while stargazing at a Dark Sky Reserve at Mt John. We then explore the Southern Alps, including Lake Tekapo, Mt Cook, Wanaka, Fiorland National Park and Milford Sound. Our next stop is Queenstown  – known as the adventure capital of the world. After relaxing and exploring the shops, galleries and cafés of Queenstown we keep moving further South to the stunning Franz Josef Glacier. A scenic trip on the world famous TranzApline train will complete our journey. *This 3-credit course fulfills a COM elective and is open to all SJU students with a desire to travel with us.

Fall Semester 2015 we will be meeting on Tuesdays at 6:30pm. Schedule TBA at first meeting (August 25th).

Required texts:

Documentary Storytelling: Creative Nonfiction on Screen, 3rd Edition. Sheila Curran Bernard. (2010) ISBN-10: 0240812417

Effortless Beauty: Photography as an Expression of Eye, Mind and Heart. Julie DuBose. (2013) ISBN-10: 098597740X

Lonely Planet New Zealand’s South Island (Travel Guide). (2014) ISBN-10: 1742207898


Tuesday, December 29, 2015: Depart Philadelphia International Airport

Thursday: December 31, 2015: Arrive Christchurch, New Zealand

Airport pick-up and transfer to Tepako. Join Earth & Sky for a Mt John Observatory Tour. Happy New Year!


Mt John Observatory

Lake Tekapo

December 31—January 2, 2016: 2 Overnights at Peppers Blue Water Resort, set near the shores of Lake Tekapo and surrounded by the spectacular landscapes of the Southern Alps. Breakfasts included.

Friday, January 1, 2016: Morning visit to Church of Good Shepherd via round trip coach; Private coach to Mt Cook for ½ day Guided Tour + ½ day Guided Hooker Valley Track + Glacier Lake (1:30p—5:00pm), Dinner included

Hooker Valley

Saturday, January 2, 2016:  Continued private coach transfer to Omarama, buffet dinner included

January 2—3, 2016: 1 Overnight at Heritage Gateway Hotel with cooked breakfast included



Sun, January 3, 2016: Continued private coach transfer from Omarama to Te Anau

January 3—5, 2016: 2 Overnights at Distinction Luxmore Hotel with daily cooked breakfast included

Te Anau - Fiordland

Te Anau – Fiordland

Monday, January 4, 2016: 9:30am—6:00pm: Guided hike Fiordland National Park with picnic lunch included

Fiordland National Park

Fiordland National Park

Tuesday, January 5, 2016: 7:30am transfer by private coach from Te Anau to Milford Sound for Scenic Cruise (optional)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016: 2:30pm group transfer to Queenstown – the adventure capital of the world –  arriving at 5pm

Milford Sound Stirling Falls

Milford Sound Stirling Falls

January 5—7, 2016: 2 overnights at stay Rydges Lakeland Resort Queenstown Hotel with daily cooked breakfast included

Wednesday, January 6, 2016: Evening Skyline Gondola with Dinner included at Skyline’s Stratosfare Restaurant

Skyline Restaurant  - Queenstown

Skyline Restaurant – Queenstown

Thursday, January 7, 2016:  Private coach transfer to Wanaka

January 7—8, 2016: 1 overnight at Grand Mercure Oakridge Resort with cooked breakfast included

Friday, January 8, 2016: (morning) continued private coach transfer from Wanaka to Franz Josef

January 8—9, 2016: 1 overnight at Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier Graham Wing with cooked breakfast included

Friday January 8, 2016: (afternoon) Franz Josef Glacier Guided Valley Walk

Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Sat, January 9, 2016: Transfer by private coach from Franz Josef to Greymouth

January 9, 2016: Board the scenic Tranzalpine Train at 1:45pm arriving in Christchurch at 6:05pm; pick-up at station and transfer to hotel

Tranzalpine Scenic Train

January 9—10, 2016: 1 Overnight at the Chateau on the Park Hotel with cooked breakfast included.

Sunday, January 10, 2016: Pick-up at hotel for transfer to airport for return flight to Philadelphia (Arrive January 11, 2016)


20% Reading responses  (10 @ 2%)

Reading responses demonstrate engagement with the ideas in the assigned course material in class (book chapters, articles, films, talks, websites, etc). Responses should contain observable signs of notable effort, thinking, and involvement. An effective response will demonstrate that you have thoroughly read and understood the material (or that you ask compelling questions that reveal careful reading). It will develop connections between the material and the themes of the course and demonstrate that you have considered the implications of the materials. A reading response is not a summary of your reading, but a response to a way of thinking about the material. Responses are not formal papers, but should be carefully written nevertheless. Be specific about the works you’re discussing, give details to back up any assertions you may make, include references, page numbers and citations when appropriate, and finally, pay attention to grammar and mechanics. Responses should be approximately 400 words in length.

80% Collaborative video documentary (4 @ 20% each)

In this course you will complete four short video documentaries, incorporating contemplative sound and image from our trip. This production will involve destination research, storyboarding, field recording, photography, video, and interviewing, as well as post-production editing and coloring. For this project, you will plan and produce  four 5-minute segments of the overall documentary. Groups may have  2-4 students.  You will be evaluated on your ability to 1) integrate research, image, and sound into your portion of the documentary [about 5 minutes], 2) draw on the conventions of the travel documentary genre, 3) produce a captivating and technically well-produced piece.