It’s no secret that New Zealand is an exquisitely beautiful country. Despite being small, it’s incredibly diverse and many of the most incredible spots are easy to access. From snowcapped mountains to white sand beaches and rainforest, New Zealand has it all. It’s an instagrammers dream.
Here’s our guide to the most instagrammable spots in New Zealand. Most that made our list are easily accessible, but we've added a few from some places which you'll have to work harder to get to. We promise it will be worth it though!
1. Hooker Valley Track, Mount Cook (South Island)
Mount Cook alone has a ridiculous number of instagrammable spots but you can't go past our favourite. The board walk on the Hooker Valley track makes for a perfect photo opportunity at any time of day. Clear weather is best as sometimes the mountain can be hiding. The Hooker Valley Track is an easy 10km walk, which also happens to be one of the best day hikes in Mount Cook.
2. Onsen hot pools, Queenstown (South Island)
The view from these hot pools is worth the entry fee alone. They are definitely our favourite hot springs in New Zealand. The onsen is completely private so you can spend some time setting up a shot without worrying about who is watching!
It books out quick so we didn't get one of the coveted sunset spots, if you get the chance that is definitely the slot we'd opt for.
3. Hokitika Gorge, Hokitika (South Island)
Views like this would usually come at the end of an arduous walking trail. Not so at Hokitika gorge. It's just a 15 minute easy walk to the end of the trail and the rocky area pictured in this photograph. There are several other photo worthy spots along the way too, our second fave would be the swing bridge towards the end of the track.
4. #ThatWanakaTree, Wanaka (South Island)
Can you say you've been to New Zealand without queuing up at sunset to see the Wanaka Tree?! This has become so popular that the crowds are entertained by a pianist who serenades them as the sun goes down.
Jokes aside, it's a magical place and the tree is popular for a reason. There are few views as beautiful as this one.
5. Franz Josef Glacier (South Island)
Getting up to Franz Josef is sadly a lot more expensive than it used to be, the glacier is no longer considered safe to hike, as it was on our first visit. We think it's worth the splurge on a heli hike in order to get some time in this incredible landscape. There are various take off points but we flew from Franz Josef. You can read more about our experience here.
It wasn't cheap, but we thought it was worth every cent.
6. The Jetty at Te Anau (South Island)
Fiordland isn't blessed with good weather, receiving over 9 metres of rain a year. But if you're lucky and get some clear skies, then the jetty at the yacht club near Te Anau is the best place to watch the sun go down. It makes for some great shots with that stunning mountain backdrop.
Extra points if the mountains are snow capped!
7. Rob Roy Glacier Track, Wanaka (South Island)
Getting to the Rob Roy Glacier Track isn't for the faint hearted as you have to drive down a 30km dirt road with fords and blind corners. However, once there the track offers incredible views. It was so good, that we could have chosen 3 or 4 more shots from this track alone. The walk is 10km return but this view is in the first five minutes of the track if you don't want to go the whole way.
8. Luxmore Hut, The Kepler Track in Fiordland (South Island)
Luxmore Hut on the Kepler Track offers 5 star views with 1 star prices. From the verandah you can see Lake Te Anau and so many mountains. Luxmore hut is the first night stay on the popular Kepler Track, you don't have to walk the whole thing though, you can visit as a day trip, or stay overnight to watch the glorious sunset.
9. The Kepler Track, Fiordland (South Island)
The Kepler Track is one of the best hikes we've ever done. It's so good that we can't help shouting from the roof tops that everyone should do it! The ridges are incredible and offer so many amazing photo opportunities, perfect for Instagram.
10. Tasman Glacier, Mount Cook
This is another Instagram spot that requires some investment, but again it's worth it. You can only reach the Tasman Glacier by helicopter, but it's a stunning place to explore, you get to see Mount Cook from a whole different angle. You spend two hours adventuring on this breathtaking glacier, you can read our thoughts on the trip here.
10. Lake Pukaki, Pukaki (South Island)
Ever seen a lake that's bluer than the sky? We hadn't until we saw Lake Pukaki. You'll drive past this huge glacial lake on any trip to Mount Cook. Even on a cloudy day it looks a stunning bright blue.
11. Hobbiton, Matamata (North Island)
Ever wanted to be an extra in Lord of the Rings films? Well the original movie set for Hobbiton is still intact and you can tour around hobbit holes and even have an ale at the Green Dragon, so you'll come pretty close!
The owners have tried to make it look like it's a living town with smoking chimneys, real vegetable gardens, music and the true atmosphere of Hobbiton.
12. The Hump Ridge Track, Tuatapere (South Island)
The beautiful Hump Ridge track is growing in popularity, so much so, that there's rumours about it being classified as a new Great Walk of NZ. There are so many incredible photo ops, and if you get in quick, you will still find the track relatively quiet.
It's a pretty tough hike with a incredibly steep climbs and long days, but it's worth every step.
13. Milford Sound (South Island)
It's hard to put into words just how incredible Milford Sound is. This fjord has been a tourist attraction for over a century and Mitre Peak is the most photographed mountain in the Southern Hemisphere.
Sadly the weather gods didn't look kindly on us when we visited, but it didn't detract from the grandeur of the place. This photo is taken from the jetty so the amazing views start even before you take a boat ride!
14. Highway 80, Mount Cook Road (South Island)
Highway 80 to Mount Cook is one of the most picturesque roads we've driven on. On a clear day, you'll see it head straight towards Mount Cook itself, which dominates the skyline. There are plenty of places to pull over and take it all in, including the popular Peter's Lookout where this photo is taken from.
15. Haast Blue Pools, Haast Pass (South Island)
The Haast Blue Pools have to be seen to be believed. The water is a deep, aqua blue and looks like someone's put food colouring in it. There is no photoshopping going on here.
The best time to visit is at sunrise when the crowds haven't yet descended, and the sun isn't high enough in the sky to start reflecting off the water.
16. Thunder Creek Falls, Haast Pass (South Island)
This was just another stop at the side of the road whilst driving the Haast Pass, and we were so glad we pulled over! Thunder Creek Falls may not get much publicity, but in any other country it would be a tourist attraction in itself. A huge waterfall and a river running glacial blue/grey ticks all the boxes for us, and it was quiet in the middle of the day to boot!
17. Sutherland Falls, the Milford Track (South Island)
Sutherland Falls is the tallest waterfall in New Zealand and when at full flow can be heard from miles away. We visited just after 200mm of rain in a day, and it sounded like a jet engine. It also has a dramatic and picturesque path on the way in to make for a great shot, the above is taken just a few hundred metres before you reach the falls.
18. Taranaki Falls, Whakapapa (North Island)
Tongariro isn't just about the volcanoes, it has some amazing lakes and an epic waterfall as well. You can easily access the falls from Whakapapa village as it's only a 6km return walk from town. They were quite busy when we visited in the middle of the day, but if you wait a while you can still get a shot with no one in it.
19. Tongariro Alpine Crossing (North Island)
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of the best day walks in the world for a reason. All the way along you get incredible photo opportunities, but our favourite was just before the red crater. The emerald lake is a stunning green, and despite visiting on a wildly popular sunny day, it was easy to get a clear shot without the crowds.
20. Torrent Bay, Abel Tasman (South Island)
Torrent Bay is an idyllic beach, the water was perfect for swimming. It's a great stop on the Abel Tasman Track, but if you don't fancy hiking for 2-3 days, you can just take a water taxi there and enjoy it for the day. This view is from the lookout point which is at the top of a small hill to the far left of the beach.
21. The Desert Road, Highway 1 between Ohakune and Turangi (North Island)
There are so many amazing roads in New Zealand, but the Desert Road by Tongariro may be our favourite. All the way along you'll get incredible views of Mount Ngauruhoe dominating the landscape, making everything appear tiny in comparison.
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