Landscape Photography: A New Zealand Guide

Landscape Photography: A New Zealand Guide

New Zealand is a beautiful country and a dream location for any photographer. Capturing awe-inspiring and beautiful landscape images is not hard while travelling in New Zealand, but with a few tips an everyday photographer can produce some truly stunning images.

New Zealand’s landscapes can change immensely from one region to the next. It is best to choose your travel route based on what kind of scenery you wish to capture. When planning your travel through New Zealand the first issue to consider is what island you wish to visit. The landscapes of the North and South island can be vastly different.

The North Island is smoother and generally less dramatic than the South Island. The North Island is filled with an abundance of rolling green hills, forested mountains, and abundant beaches. The Northland region is a picturesque example of such characteristic New Zealand geography. The area is best seen by following the Twin Coast Discovery Highway, north of Auckland. The route will take you near the Bay of Islands and Goat Island, both of which are amazing scenes for anyone interested in sea-side and beach photography. The road can lead to the tip of New Zealand at Cape Reinga, which provides visitors with exciting opportunities to photograph towering sand dunes and the clash of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. It is possible to take successful and dramatic photos of the entire Northland region even in bad weather, with the strong geographic features of the area holding their own unique presence on overcast or rainy days.

Outside of the Northland, the East Cape of the North Island is perhaps one of the most picturesque areas of New Zealand. The region is best experienced by taking the Eastland section of the Pacific Coast Highway. The drive can be seen as a compressed photographic tour of New Zealand, featuring rocky outcrop beaches, smooth and expansive sand beaches, smooth rolling mountains, jagged snow peaked mountains, small towns, cities, farms, forests, along with the longest wharf in the southern hemisphere.

For some, the South Island can be a better photographic travel destination than the North, as it is much more dramatic and varied, but the weather and travel times will require more patience and commitment from the individual. It is perhaps easiest to think of the South Island as a few distinct areas, with different characteristics and photography styles.

The North side of the Island is filled with beaches, coves and sounds. The weather is also much more favorable, generally being some of the sunniest in New Zealand, making it perfect for sunset and sunrise shots by the water.

The East coast of the South Island is very dramatic, starting with the sheer rock faces and rocky beaches of Kaikora, to the perfectly round isolated boulders of Moeraki. As with the Northland of the North Island, it is possible to take powerful photos of the East coast in bad weather, with powerful storm clouds often complementing the jagged features of the terrain.

Turning West at any point on the East coast will bring you into the middle of the South Island’s Southern Alps. This area is blessed with extremely tall snow peaked mountains, and subsequently breath taking views. It is advised to take a polarization filter for your camera, and wait for particularly clear weather, as the areas appeal often lies in the expansive landscapes.

The West Coast is more subdued than the East coast with terrain that is more reminiscent of the North Island. But the area also features the world famous Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier, where one can see a wall of ice pushing straight into a native rainforest.