It is seriously difficult not to fall in love with New Zealand, especially for a nature lover like me. When it comes down to landscapes I have never seen such diversity in such a small country. You can cross it from the east coast to the west coast in just few hours, but during those few hours you will get to see stunning waterfalls, beaches, snowcapped mountains, turquoise lakes and more. Maybe few hours won't be enough after all.
After living in Queenstown - a place that I called my home away from home during last summer, I finally decided to leave what the locals call the Queenstown bubble and go on a road trip around the south island. A road trip that took me right back to......Queenstown, but that's a topic for another story. Back to the road trip. It was all about photography. During the 6 weeks I was on the road I wanted to capture the most photogenic and dramatic landscapes of the south island of New Zealand. Landscapes that make you want to gasp for air and leave you screaming for more. Have I succeeded? See for yourself!
If you are wondering what gear have I used to capture these photographs, then check out my complete gear list.
18 Best Places to Photograph in New Zealand
1. Moeraki Boulders
A fiery sunrise over these large dragon eggs. Daenerys Targaryen eat your heart out.
2. St Clairs Beach - Dunedin
A nice beach stroll with view like this!!! Who could say no? For the best light, make sure you go there at sunrise and check the tide! You don't want to end up like me, with your shoes soaking wet.
3. Purakaunui Waterfalls
One of many great waterfalls in the Catlins region near the southern tip of the south island.
4. Church of the Good Shepherd
The list wouldn't be complete without an astro shot from this gem. A must see for every astrophotography enthusiast! This little chapel is placed right among the international dark sky reserve in Tekapo. One of the stops on my two week road itinerary around the South Island of New Zealand.
5. Lake Pukaki
Crystal clear icy blue water covering 180 square kilometres, the north part of which almost touches the southern alps.
6. Lupin Flowers in Tekapo
For once a year in the height of summer (December) lupin flowers bloom for around 6 weeks and look absolutely fantastic.
7. Wharariki Beach
Now to the north of the south island, Wharariki (read: Farariki) beach at sunset is the perfect end to a days picnic. With a bit of luck you might spot some seal pups hanging around the place.
8. Hooker Glacier Lake
The glacial lake at the foot of Mount Cook is stunning at all times of the year, but winter is my favourite for taking photos.
9. Mount Roy
An iconic point overlooking Lake Wanaka and one of the best day hikes on the south island of New Zealand.
If you're interested in improving your photography around the South Island of New Zealand then go to
10. Lake Matheson
Reflections galore, I could have spent days here watching the light bend over the mountains in the distance.
11. Milford Sound
The most visited tourist attraction in the whole of Oceania. Milford Sound, which by the way is not actually a sound but a fjord, is an incredible place. It's a must do if you're in New Zealand and here's a list of travel tips with 8 beautiful photos that will inspire you to visit Milford Sound.
12. The Remarkables
Aptly named as they are indeed remarkable. The iconic mountain range located next to Queenstown is also host to one of the best ski fields in the area. The Remarkables are one of the most photogenic spots in Queenstown.
13. Bennett's Bluff, Glenorchy Road
A view point on one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand, that connect Queenstown and Glenorchy. The view point overlooks pig and pigeon islands and lake Wakatipu.
14. Nugget Point
The most photogenic nuggets I have ever seen in my life, no doubt about it!
15. Devil's Punchbowl Waterfall
The largest waterfall in New Zealand, the Devil's Punchbowl waterfall is 131m high and well worth a visit. Take your rain jacket and expect to get wet!
16. West Coast Sunset
On the beach, watching the sun go down, with my camera, a memory I'll never forget.
17. Franz Josef Glacier Valley
Although quickly retreating, the river that marks where most of the glacier used to be is a fast flowing photogenic place.
18. That Wanaka Tree
A symbolic willow tree just off the shore line of Lake Wanaka is rumoured to be one of the most photographed trees in the world.
Though New Zealand is a small country, if you do decide to come here, my number one tip would be to not to cram too many places in too little time. For a big photography enthusiasts like me, make sure you have your own transport, proper photo equipment and some spare batteries!
What's the most photogenic place you have visited in your life?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I am Marta Kulesza - the photographer and creator of www.inafarawayland.com. I come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me somewhere in the mountains.