Top photo spots in New Zealand

New Zealand’s unique landscape is just begging to be photographed. From high mountains and clear lakes to deep rainforests and roaring waves on real dream beaches. The country with its two main islands is incredibly diverse and has a lot to offer.

This makes it ideal for landscape and travel photographers. Researching photo spots in advance and optimally preparing for your trip is not always trivial, which is why I have put together my TOP 5 photo spots in New Zealand for you here.

Milford Sound:

Best time to photograph: Milford Sound is beautiful all year round, but the best light is at sunrise and sunset.
Photography tips: Use a wide-angle lens to capture the vastness of the fjord. Add elements such as boats or wildlife to your composition to make your shots more interesting. Experiment with long exposures to capture the softness of the water and the movement of the clouds.

Tongariro National Park (Mount Ngauruhoe and Emerald Lakes):

Best time to photograph: The Tongariro Crossing is best hiked in summer (December to February), but the landscapes can be mesmerizing at any time of year.
Photography tips: Capture the iconic volcanic peaks, such as Mount Ngauruhoe, against a dramatic sky. Include hikers along the way to enlarge the image and make it more interesting. In winter, the snow-covered landscape offers a unique photo motif.

Lake Tekapo and the Church of the Good Shepard:

Best time to photograph: The lake is beautiful year-round, but lupine season in late spring (November) brings vibrant colors to the landscape.
Photography tips: Shoot during the “blue hour” to get stunning shots of the Church of the Good Shepard with the lake and mountains in the background. Include the lupines in the foreground for extra color. A wide-angle lens is great for capturing the sweeping views, while a telephoto lens brings the mountains in the background closer to the main subject.

Fox- and Franz-Josef-Glacier:

Best time to photograph: Visit the glaciers in the summer months, when the hiking conditions are better and you have the opportunity to photograph glacier landscapes.
Photography tips: Use a telephoto lens to capture the details of the ice formations. Experiment with different angles to emphasize the size of the glaciers in comparison to the surrounding mountains. Include people in your shots if possible to emphasize perspective and scale.

Hooker Valley Track and Mount Cook:

Best time to photograph: Late fall (April) or early spring (October) when there are fewer crowds and pleasant weather.
Photography tips: Capture the reflections of Mount Cook in the glacial lakes along the Hooker Valley Track. Use the leading lines formed by the track and the river to draw attention to the mountain. Sunset or sunrise provides soft, warm light for stunning landscape shots.

You can find more tips for great spots in the hiking and photo guide: 40 day hikes in New Zealand.

Always remember that New Zealand weather can be unpredictable, so be prepared for sudden changes. Also, always respect the environment and adhere to conservation guidelines when photographing these beautiful locations.

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