The Travelling Fine Art Photographer

New Zealand's Best Photography Spots

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New Zealand (n) the land of the long white cloud.

New Zealand is a photographers Mecca. Around every corner something beautiful lies in wait. 

New Zealand is a photographers paradise. With sheer beauty around every corner, there's no shortage of the perfect photography spots. The diverse landscape lends itself perfectly to those etheral dynamic landscapes that change with the light. Providing a plethora of opportunities for my personal passion - surreal fine art portraits. 

Contents


Best Photography Spots

North island

  • Mount Taranaki
  • Hobbiton
  • Tongaririo Alpine Crossing
  • Waipu Caves
  • Rotorua 
  • Muriwai Beach
  • Lake Tarawera - Free Gloworms
  • Cape Reinga
  • Mount Maunganui
  • Devonport
  • Whatipu Beach
  • Rainbow Falls

South Island

  • Tasman Glacier
  • Mount Cook
  • Wanaka Tree
  • Lake Marion
  • Roy's Peak
  • Rob Roy Glacier
  • Milford Sound
  • Lake Benmore
  • Avalanche Peak
  • Wharariki Beach
  • Castle Hill
  • Lake Pukaki
  • Hanmer Springs
  • Kaikoura
  • (add) Moke Lake
  • Glenorchy Boat Shed
  • Lake Tekapo

Hidden Gems

  • Wildflowers
  • Textures


New Zealand's Best Photography Spots

Find everything from the best spots to photograph mountains, where to find wildlife, and how to capture those coveted astro shots. 

Tasman Glacier 

It's not every day you call upon a view such as this, a scene to be enjoyed, a scene to be cherished, and one to always return to. I was overjoyed to illustrate this mesmerising view as part of the New Zealand series. The sharp shadows on the mountain are a perfect juxtaposition for the sweeping minimal lines of the road below. It will forever be a favourite. 

Muriwai Gannet Colony

Muriwai National park is home to black beaches, sweeping vistas, and thousands of gannets. A walk up to the headland will reward you with fantastic views over the ocean pockmarked by dozens of swirling and circling gannets. They are gathered below you, stinking up the place a little, but providing a majestic experience of birdwatching that is unrivalled this close to Auckland. 

Sunset over Auckland CBD from Mount Eden. A former volcanic crater in the heart of the city. 

The North Island's best photography spots

Mount Taranaki from Pouaki Tarn.

This view is famous for one reason - the magnificent mirror reflection in Pouaki Tarn. As it's an upward slog up a few 1000 steps, this viewpoint is a challenge. But choose a calm, clear day, and the view is beyond spectacular.

Tips for the Taranaki reflection shot.

Hobbiton

No trip around the North Island would be complete without a visit to the institution that is Hobbiton. Make sure to catch a quick shot of yourself sitting outside one of the Hobbit sized doors. 

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

The North Island's best and most diverse Great Walk. Tongariro Alpine Crossing leads to awe evoking volcano craters and epic geothermal activity. The hike takes 6-8 hours and is worth every minute. 


Waipu Caves

The Waipu caves are the North islands answer to the famed Waitomo. Though much less crowded. Seeing the glowworms gleam across the ceiling is simply enchanting. 

Discover Glow-worms at Waipu

Rotorua

The greeting when you arrive in Rotorua is the smell of rotten eggs and the promise of adventure. Inside Te Puia Heritage Park is the incredible Pōhutu Geyser. The perfect time for a time-lapse. 

Muriwai Beach

There are two charming additions to Muriwai beach. One is the sparkling black sand, the other is the endearing abundance of gannets on the cliff. It's a delight to see them, even if they are somewhat smelly.

Lake Tarawera

A bit of a secret spot close to Rotorua. The only other people here were local families and the resident black swans. A gorgeous place to camp for the night as it's only accessible by boat. 

Cape Reinga

The whole of the Northland is simply spectacular and worth the trip. From the cute little lighthouse where the spirits leave the land. To the epic rolling sand dunes sparking excitement with sand boarding and  glorious sunny glows. 

Mount Maunganui 

You can often witness people running up and down the Mount in some sort of crazed endurance test, but as it's one of the more easy-going hills in New Zealand's North Island and rewards you with spectacular views across the whole of Tauranga, it's worth reaching the top.

Auckland - Devonport

Sitting atop the old military base on the top of a hill in Devonport I met a Kiwi. He was surprised to hear it was my first day in Auckland and I had found this spot already. As a local, he professed this was one of the best spots in Auckland, and he always brought friends to this exact spot!

Grab the ferry from downtown Auckland and head to Devonport. 

Whatipu Beach 

Whatipu beach is one of the North Island's best kept secrets. After an hour driving down a dirt road off the beaten path, you'll find yourself alone on one of the most remarkable black lava beaches in the world. The lighthouse on the island in the middle of the sea makes the scene even more ethereal. 

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls are a spectacular sight. Though incidentally it's low on my list to visit again. mostly due to the fact that I almost drowned in Quick mud behind the falls.

Dangerous Liaisons at Rainbow Falls

The South Island's best photography spots

Tasman Glacier 

My absolute favourite place in the entirety of New Zealand is this exact spot. I came here 7 or 8 times, and each time I saw something new and felt my emotions overwhelm me in this incredible vista. 

The best mountain photography spots in New Zealand. 

Wanaka Tree

The Wanaka tree defies all logic. Sitting gracefully in the midst of Lake Wanaka, The best season is autumn, when the trees leaves turn a vibrant shade of yellow and the mountains have a dusting of snow.

Lake Marion

Nestled within the Southern mountains near Te Anau and Milford Sound. It takes two and a half hours through dense rainforest to reach this spot, then waiting for the sun to hit that perfect sweet spot. It's so worth it.

Roys Peak

Possibly the most famous Instagram spot in New Zealand. Though I'm not sure anyone has ever lugged a giant wedding dress up there! The hike up is steep, long, and extremely boring. Would you say the view is worth it? 

Top tip - Skip climbing Roys Peak - Fly a plane over the view instead.

Milford Sound

This view is iconic. Every person who visits New Zealand should head down the incredible Road that leads to the majestic Mitre Peak, sitting pretty in Milford Sound. Sunrise and sunset make for astounding images. 

Lake Benmore

This view was a surprise treat that I stumbled upon by accident. Driving to Wanaka inland from Oamaru, I stopped for a snack. Lo and behold, the amazing Lake Benmore was stretching out before me, still as glass. 

Avalanche Peak

Arthur's Pass is bursting with beauty. One of my favourite hikes in the area was Avalanche  Peak. The summit is simply breathtaking with a 360 degree view of resplendent mountain scenery. 

Wharariki Beach

Wharariki Beach is a little out of the way on the South Island's most northwestern peninsula, but once you get here you feel like you've left the Earth entirely. If you're lucky enough, you may even see wild seals in this alien beachy land.

Castle Hill

Another gem along Arthur's pass is Castle Hill. a giants causeway or rocks and boulders. Perfect for a dynamic sunset photoshoot, or a cheeky game of hide and seek. 

Peter's Lookout - Lake Pukaki

The jaw-dropping views around Aoraki/Mount Cook cannot be explained with words. It's a phantasmagorical place of sheer, indescribable beauty. the closest I can come to realism is Waldeinsamkeit -  a German word that refers to the feeling one has while being alone in the woods, usually a sublime or spiritual one. Though the woods are sparse here, the mountains are formidable, and to be among them an experience of the most divine. 

This is a mountain of achievement, a mountain of glory. The practice land of Sir Edmund Hillary before his maiden voyage to conquer the great Mount Everest. Aoraki is the tallest mountain in New Zealand and by far the prettiest.  

Hanmer Springs

The bridge into Hanmer Springs village is one of the more picturesque bridges in New Zealand. It's worth coming to this sleepy town just to see the glorious colours of the trees in winter, let alone the fabulous hot springs here! 

Kaikoura

The mountains in Kaikoura can be seen from the whole city and cast an ethereal awe across the bay. Sunrise and sunset create a dynamic scene. Catching the peaks clear of clouds is the challenge. 

Hidden Gems

I adore wildflowers, and the alpine regions and hikes in New Zealand don't disappoint when it comes to beautiful blooms and photography opportunities. The delicate flowers and alpine succulents here inspired me to make these illustrated prints. There are also so many perfect opportunities to capture colour and texture in inspiring ways. The waves catching in the sunlight on the black beaches of the West Coast had me mesmerized. 

Discover New Zealand


Where to Stay

I found using AirBnB to be a real treat in New Zealand. My trip was enriched by staying with locals and learning about the land. 

Get £35 off Airbnb

My Car Your Rental

For the duration of my journey around New Zealand, I rented a car with My Car Your Rental, Owned by locals, easier and much more affordable. 

MYCR

Awesome activities not to miss!

Travel Insurance

The best, and the only provider I use for long term travel insurance is World Nomads. They're reliable, extendable, and cover everything!

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