Most photoworthy locations across New Zealand

From the panoramic Hauraki Gulf to pristine glacial lakes, the rolling pastures of ‘Middle Earth’ and dramatic coastlines – New Zealand is home to some of the world’s most spectacular and photogenic scenery. So get ready to be the envy of friends and family as you capture the stunning natural beauty of this unique country. Here’s our list of some of the best photo locations in New Zealand to get you started!

Sky Tower Auckland 

See the views from the Sky Tower. Photo by Caramel on Unsplash.

Grab a wide-angle lens (or just switch to pano mode) for this must-visit Auckland attraction. Towering 328 metres over the city, Sky Tower offers breathtaking panoramic views of the skyline and the surrounding Waitemata Harbour. This iconic landmark is the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere – take a glass-fronted elevator to the top of the tower, where you can enjoy 360-degree views of the sparkling Hauraki Gulf. You can also dine on the experience at Sky Tower – Orbit 360.

Where to stay

Base yourself in the heart of West Auckland at Quality Hotel Lincoln Green, with the beautiful west coast beaches only 30 minutes away and a host of Auckland’s restaurants and natural attractions at your doorstep. 

Lake Tekapo

Visit the beautiful Lake Tekapo. Photo by Char Beck on Unsplash.

Situated in the heart of the South Island, Lake Tekapo lookout offers stunning views of the famous glacial lake and the Southern Alps. The lake’s crystal-clear waters reflect the surrounding mountains, creating a breathtaking landscape that is perfect for photography. Takapō is also part of UNESCO’s Dark Sky Reserve – making it ideal for stargazing and capturing some seriously dazzling images. Did we mention the region’s incredible hiking, mountain biking and skiing?

Where to stay

Make the most of your visit to the Canterbury region by basing yourself midway between Christchurch and Dunedin, and a few minutes stroll from Caroline Bay, at the Comfort Hotel Benvenue in Timaru. A two hours scenic tour through the surrounding country to Lake Tekapo will present you with some spectacular scenery.

Hobbiton Movie Set 

Visit the Lord of the Rings set. Image from Sara Orme.

Hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Inn, and iconic rolling farmland. Fans of the Lord of the Rings films will love the chance to take some Hobbiton movie set photos in Matamata, where the comforts of Middle Earth seem to exist for real. This is where the films were shot, and today the comfortably furnished Hobbit holes, inns and locations are open to explore – you can even dine at the Green Dragon.

Where to stay

You’ll find great accommodation options in Taupo offering ideal bases to explore the Hobbit set, beautiful surrounding countryside and local vineyards. You’ll find options set among grapevines as well as centrally located accommodation. 

Nugget Point, Invercargill

Beautiful scenery at Nugget Point. Image from Graeme Murray.

The stunning coastal promontory of Nugget Point is a photographer’s dream, presenting dramatic surrounding cliffs, thriving wildlife and one of New Zealand’s oldest lighthouses. Take a scenic two-hour drive from Invercargill to this southernmost point of the South Island, adorned by Nugget Point Lighthouse (Tokata lighthouse), and settle in to spot seals, penguins and other wildlife. The lighthouse is a great vantage point to admire the sunrise and sunset. 

Where to stay

The Comfort Inn Tayesta is a great base for a day trip to Nugget Point. Only three minutes from Invercargill’s CBD, this hotel is located amidst some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.

Split Apple Rock

Come visit the Split Apple Rock. Image from

Situated in the Abel Tasman National Park, Split Apple Rock is a striking rock formation named after its distinctive shape. Grab your camera and get up close to this photo magnet by jumping aboard a boat tour, walking to Towers Bay or exploring a nearby viewpoint overlooking lush forests, pristine beaches and stunning panoramic views of the coastline. The area is surrounded by making it a great spot for nature lovers and photographers.

Where to stay

To explore the spectacular country around Split Apple Rock Nelson is just a scenic hour away – The Honest Lawyer offers boutique old-world charm and comfortable rooms, with an English-styled country pub.

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