New Zealand, a land of unparalleled natural beauty, is a dream destination for photographers and travelers alike. Its diverse landscapes, from breathtaking mountains to serene beaches, offer endless photo opportunities. You’ll find that New Zealand’s friendly locals and safe environment make for a seamless and enjoyable journey.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore some of the most photogenic locations in New Zealand, including Auckland, Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, Glenorchy, and Christchurch. For additional ideas, don’t forget to check out my New Zealand gallery.
Now that New Zealand is opening up post COVID Pandemic closures, it is the perfect time to cross it off your bucket list!
Auckland: The City of Sails
As New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland is a vibrant and diverse destination, with a rich history and stunning natural surroundings. The city was founded in 1840 and has since become a melting pot of cultures, making it a fascinating place to explore.
- Sky Tower: Offering 360-degree views of the city, the Sky Tower is a must-visit for photographers. Capture the bustling cityscape during the day or the twinkling city lights at night.
- Mount Eden: The highest natural point in Auckland, Mount Eden offers panoramic views of the city and its surrounding volcanic cones.
- Devonport: A quick ferry ride from Auckland’s Princes’ Wharf, contains a large variety of antique, gift and bookshops; the Devonport Naval Base, and the stunning vistas of Mount Victoria.
Queenstown: The Adventure Capital of the World
Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is an idyllic resort town surrounded by the breathtaking Southern Alps. Known as the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown offers a wide array of adrenaline-pumping activities, such as bungee jumping, skydiving, and jet boating. This area reminds me of Lake Tahoe in the United States – and there is something amazing about being able to swim in Lake Wakatipu in the morning, and go skiing in the Remarkables in the afternoon!
- Lake Wakatipu: The crystal-clear waters of Lake Wakatipu provide a stunning backdrop for photos, especially during sunrise or sunset.
- The Remarkables: This striking mountain range is an iconic part of Queenstown’s landscape, providing endless photo opportunities.
- Glenorchy: At the northern tip of Lake Wakatipu, the charming town of Glenorchy offers postcard-worthy views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Don’t miss the famous red boat shed, a favorite among photographers.
Christchurch: The Garden City
Christchurch, New Zealand’s third-largest city, is known for its stunning gardens and rich history. Rebuilt after a series of earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, the city now features a blend of historic buildings and modern architecture.
- Christchurch Botanic Gardens: These beautiful gardens offer endless photo opportunities, with vibrant flowers, tranquil ponds, and lush greenery.
- New Regent Street: This charming, pedestrian-only street features colorful Spanish Mission-style buildings and is a great spot for architectural photography.
Moeraki Boulders: Nature’s Mysterious Masterpiece
Located on the Otago coast of New Zealand’s South Island, the Moeraki Boulders are a fascinating and unique natural attraction. These large, spherical boulders, scattered along the picturesque Koekohe Beach, have intrigued visitors and photographers for centuries. Formed millions of years ago by natural processes, the Moeraki Boulders offer a captivating subject for photographers seeking to capture the beauty and mystery of nature.
- Koekohe Beach: The backdrop of the ocean, the waves crashing against the boulders, and the interplay of light and shadow create endless opportunities for stunning photographs.
- Sunrise or sunset: Visit the Moeraki Boulders during the “golden hours” around sunrise or sunset to capture the dramatic, warm light that casts a magical glow on the boulders.
As you explore New Zealand’s awe-inspiring landscapes, be sure to include the Moeraki Boulders in your itinerary. Their unique, otherworldly appearance and the breathtaking coastal scenery will provide you with unforgettable photo opportunities and lasting memories of your journey.
Tips for Photographers
Now that you’re familiar with the stunning locations New Zealand has to offer, let’s dive into some essential tips for photographers visiting the country. These tips will help you make the most of your photography experience and ensure you capture unforgettable images.
- Plan Ahead: Research the locations you plan to visit and identify the best spots and times for photography. Check the weather forecast, sunrise, and sunset times, and be prepared to adjust your plans accordingly. Planning ahead will ensure you’re at the right place at the right time to capture the perfect shot.
- Be Patient: Patience is key when it comes to photography. Wait for the right light, the perfect weather conditions, or the ideal moment when a group of tourists clears out of your frame.
- Dress for the weather: New Zealand experiences a wide range of temperatures throughout the year, so pack appropriate clothing and gear to stay comfortable during your shoots. Climates in New Zealand can vary from wam temperate regions to go swimming in the ocean, down to skiing weather in the Remarkables. Sometimes its not how far you travel, but how high you travel.
- Pack Light: When traveling to New Zealand, try to pack light, bringing only the essential camera gear. This will make it easier for you to move around and capture photos on-the-go.
- Be Respectful of the Environment: New Zealand is known for its pristine landscapes, so be mindful of your surroundings and avoid damaging the environment while taking photos.
- Stay Safe: While exploring remote or unfamiliar locations, prioritize your safety. Stick to designated paths, follow local guidelines, and be aware of your surroundings. If you are traveling through New Zealand’s more remote areas, ensure that you let someone know where you are going and when you should be returning. Relying on your phone’s GPS to help find you may not work in some more remote areas.
- Ask for Permission: When photographing people or private property, it’s always a good idea to ask for permission first. This will help you maintain a respectful relationship with the locals and avoid any potential conflicts.
- Backup Your Photos: To avoid losing your precious memories, regularly back up your photos to an external hard drive, cloud storage, or both.
- Get to Know the Locals: Connecting with local people can provide valuable insights into the best photography spots, unique experiences, and interesting stories. Be open to conversation and respectful of their culture and customs.
- Embrace Flexibility: Travel plans can change unexpectedly. Be prepared to adjust your itinerary and make the most of any unforeseen circumstances, as they may lead to new and exciting photo opportunities.
With its diverse landscapes, friendly locals, and rich history, New Zealand is a must-visit destination for photographers and travelers alike. By following this guide, you’ll be well on your way to capturing stunning images and creating unforgettable memories in this beautiful country.
From the bustling city of Auckland to the serene landscapes of Lake Wakatipu and the magical world of Hobbiton, New Zealand has something for everyone. Don’t hesitate to embark on your journey and discover why this country is truly a photographer’s paradise.
“Through the Lens” is a series of posts I am writing about my favorite locations around the world to visit and photograph. Intermixing location information with my photos and links for more information on the locations for a travel photographer.