8 Spectacular Photography Spots in New Zealand (South Island)

In Travel by Stefano CaioniLeave a Comment

It is unlikely you will run out of places to photograph around the world. However, there are some places which you should put on top of your list. New Zealand landscape photography is second to none and should be experienced at least once in a lifetime.

New Zealand photography involves spending your time photographing some of the most dramatic and exciting natural landscapes on earth. This is a country with many hidden photo hot spots. Thanks to the many landscape photographers sharing their images on the Internet the natural beauty of New Zealand is now better known around the world than ever before.

Just like in any other country, there are photo hot spots which are more spectacular than others. To reach them, you have to do a bit of traveling around. A popular way of getting around New Zealand is to rent a motor home. Camping sites and overnight stops are of a high standard, and there are plenty of them to let you make the most out of your New Zealand photography experience.

Milford Sound 

Milford Sound looks very much like a Norwegian fjord. Beautiful waterfalls come crashing down the sides of the steep hills. This is enough to turn it into one of the best places in New Zealand for landscape photography. However, you can also enjoy what can only be described as sub-tropical vegetation, and the stunning Mitre Peak which rises out of the mist.

Wanaka Tree

The lonely Wanaka tree growing on the shores of Wanaka lake on New Zealand’s South Island has more or less become a symbol of New Zealand. The surrounding alpine landscape is a natural wonder and you should not only photograph the Wanake tree.

Stop for a couple of days, and explore the surrounding alpine area which is just as beautiful as the Alps in Switzerland.

Nugget Point

Nugget Point Lighthouse

Nugget Point is one of New Zealand’s most dramatic settings with its many little islets and lighthouse. But don’t miss out on photographing wildlife when you visit Nugget Point in New Zealand. The penguins seem to have got used to the human visitors and often like to show off. But, penguins are not the only birds you are going to find in and around Nugget Point. Take the opportunity to photograph spoonbills and gannets. 

The coastline is perhaps one of the most dramatic coastlines in the world, and it is worth your while to slow down your pace a little and take a look around the entire area.


Glenorchy was once a well-kept secret. However, once you get there, you may get a feeling of deja vu. The location has been used in numerous movies including in the first installment in the Lord of the Rings franchise.

Other famous movies have been shot in and around Glenorchy. They include The Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian, X-Men Origins Wolverine, and the Water Horse.

Church of the Good Shepherd

The Church of the Good Shepherd looks out of the clear waters of Lake Tekapo.

It looks lonely and forlorn that you get a feeling it feels abandoned. The colors of the sky and mountains are gorgeous, and you should try to photograph both the church and the natural landscape during different times of the day and year. 

This location looks especially beautiful in spring and during fall months, offering spectacular color combinations.

Mt Cook Aoraki

This is one of the most rugged-looking places in the world. You get a real feeling of isolation, but the National Park of Mount Cook is well worth a visit. Believe it or not, 19 of the surrounding peaks are more than 3,000 meters high. Mount Cook, or Aoraki as it is also known, is the highest mountain in New Zealand.

If you would like to make the most out of your New Zealand landscape photography experience, it is worth hiring a local guide. There are no dangerous animals around, but the local weather and environment can be very challenging for the novice visitor to the area.

Roys Peak

Are you in the mood for a hike? If you feel like stretching your legs and enjoy some stunning New Zealand photography, you should check out Roys Peak. The elevation is over 1,500 meters, and the peak can be reached on paths which slowly zig-zag up the mountain. It will take you a good day to explore the mountain.

Is it worth it? It is certainly worth making the effort. You get amazing views over Lake Wanaka and Glendhu Bay. The experience is not unlike walking up Mount Snowdown in Wales. The main advantage is that the weather is normally better and you have more of a chance to take some stunning landscape photos.

Peter’s Lookout – Lake Pukaki 

Peter’s Lookout is easy to find as it is located on the Mount Cook’s road. It is great place to stop and take photos of Mount Cook and Lake Pukaki. This New Zealand photography hot spot gets very busy. As it is only about a three-hour drive from Christchurch, it is worth getting up a bit earlier to enjoy it before the crowds arrive.

This place has a serene beauty to it and is a fantastic place to sit quietly for a little while and take in the natural scenery. You may feel a bit lost in the landscape, but then again, you may just photograph something which no one else has seen. The mountain scenery seems to change shape with the light and many say a visit to Peter’s Lookout is an experience for the senses and the camera lens. 

The New Zealand capital is a fantastic place for landscape photography as well. If you come from another larger metropolitan area such as New York or London, it may not feel like a national capital. However, that is the way the New Zealanders like it. They love the small-town feel and enjoy exploring the surrounding landscape which is incidentally packed with New Zealand photo spots.


Even if the focus of your visit to this lovely is not landscape photography, New Zealand landscape photography is something you have to try. Yes, New Zealand is a bit out of the way, but it is beautiful. Once you have tried your hand at New Zealand photography, you may even feel inspired to travel to other natural locations around the world with your camera and start snapping away.

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