New Zealand in Pictures: 40 Photos To Give You Wanderlust

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Seeing New Zealand in pictures from home is one of the best ways to get inspired to plan a visit to this amazing country.

When we first started planning our trip to New Zealand, all we heard about was the fabulous South Island and how we should spend all our time down there.

I wasn’t sure I could travel halfway around the World and not see both the North and South islands of New Zealand. Luckily, these New Zealand photos will prove our point.

New Zealand in Pictures: The North Island

New Zealand’s North Island should not be overlooked.

Some of our most amazing memories came from our time spent on the North Island from surfing at Piha, climbing the Auckland Bridge, white water rafting on the Kaituna River, Dolphin Watching in Tauranga, experiencing the Maori up close and personal in Rotorua, to testing our strength and determination on the Tongariro Crossing in Taupo.

We also jumped out of a plane for the first time in Taupo.

These memories are unbeatable, couple them with beautiful countryside and we can honestly and firmly say that the North Island should not be missed on your next visit to New Zealand.

As a way of pleading my case, I have put together this post of my favorite New Zealand photos from our time on the North Island.

Auckland New Zealand Photos

~Auckland is a huge, beautiful city~

Piha New Zealand Photos

~Piha Beach, 1 Hour North of Auckland~

Piha New Zealand Photos

~Learning to surf with Felipe at Piha Beach~

New Zealand Photos

~Hot Water Beach on The Coromandel~

Karangahake Gorge New Zealand Photos

~Karangahake Gorge, The Coromandel~

Cathedral Cove New Zealand Photos

~Cathedral Cove on The Coromandel~

River Rats Rafting Rotorua New Zealand Photos

~Rafting Waterfalls on the Kaituna River (we’re in the front!) Rotorua~

Tamaki Maori Village New Zealand Photos

~Tamaki Maori Experience, Rotorua~

River Valley Stables Horse Trekking New Zealand Photos

~Horse Trekking in the River Valley~

Tongariro Crossing Taupo New Zealand Photos

~Completing the Tongariro Crossing, 19.9km~

Tongariro Crossing New Zealand Photos

~Sunrise at the Tongariro Crossing~

Tongariro Crossing New Zealand Photos

~Experiencing a live volcanic field on the Tongariro Crossing, Taupo~

Tongariro Crossing New Zealand Photos

~ Leaping at the Emerald Pools on the Tongariro Crossing, Taupo~

Tongariro Crossing New Zealand Photos

~Emerald Pools on the Tongariro Crossing, Taupo~

Hobbiton New Zealand Photos

~ Playing around at the Hobbiton Movie Set, Matamata~

Hobbiton New Zealand Photos

~Us at Bag End! Bilbo and Frodo’s hobbit hole~

hobbiton New Zealand Photos

~Looking through the Green Dragon Pub’s doors out into the Shire~

We took thousands of New Zealand photos during our 5 weeks traveling both the islands and while this is a small sampling, I hope it does some justice to the North Island.

If you were ever contemplating whether you should spend the time away from the South Island, just do it. You won’t regret it.

New Zealand in Pictures: The South Island

So now that I have shared with you our favorite photos from the North Island, it is time to take a look at our time in the South Island and show you our favorite New Zealand photos from the other island.

We really loved the North Island, but the South Island is spectacular for its own set of reasons. People are not wrong in telling others to spend time there. If you only have 2 weeks, yes, go to the South Island and make it count.

It is such an incredibly diverse place that it is easy to see why people fall in love with it and never venture North. From mountain vistas, cool towns, amazing wildlife and everything in between, it is a beautiful place in this great big world.

We spent the better part of 3 weeks in the South Island and made our way around to some of the best spots.

One of the best ways to see New Zeland is by road tripping. Check out: 8 Realities of Road Tripping New Zealand

Nelson Lakes Lake Rotoiti New Zealand photos

~Nelson Lakes Park, Enjoying Lake Rotoiti~

Nelson Lakes Lake Rotoiti New Zealand photos

~Wharf Jumping at Lake Rotoiti~

Westpost Beach New Zealand photos

~Watching the sunset on the beach in Westport~

Pancake Rocks New Zealand photos

~Punakaiki Pancake Rocks~

Ice climbing franz josef glacier new zealand photos

~Ice Climbing on a Glacier in Franz Josef~

Lake Hawea New Zealand photos

~Perfect day to visit Lake Hawea, so stunning~

Blue Pools New Zealand photos

~Dave taking the leap at the Blue Pools~

Queenstown Sunset New Zealand photos

~Sunset in Queenstown~

Queenstown New Zealand photos

~Birds Eye View of Queenstown~

Moeraki Boulders New Zealand photos

~Visiting the Moeraki Boulders on a rainy day~

Baldwin Street Dunedin New Zealand photos

~Climbing the steepest street in the World, Baldwin Street in Dunedin~

Penguin Place Yellow Eyed Penguin New Zealand photos

~Seeing our first Yellow-Eyed Penguins~

Otago Peninsula New Zealand photos

~Beautiful Otago Peninsula in Dunedin~

Highlanders Rugby Dunedin New Zealand photos

~Our first Rugby game, Go Highlanders!~

Fjordland Penguin The Caitlins New Zealand photos

~Seeing a Fiordland Penguin in The Caitlins!!!~

Sea Lions Cannibal Bay New Zealand photos The Caitlins

~Sea Lions at Cannibal Bay in The Caitlins~

McClean Falls The Caitlins New Zealand photos

~McClean Falls in The Caitlins~

Waterfalls Milford Sound New Zealand photos

~Permanent Waterfall at Milford Sound~

Milford Sound New Zealand photos

~Beautiful Milford Sound on a bright day~


Mountains New Zealand photos

~Mountain Majesty near Monkey Creek on the way to Milford Sound~

Mirror Lakes Milford Sound New Zealand photos

~Mirror Lakes in Fiordland National Park~

Lake Pukaki New Zealand photos

~Lake Pukaki is really that color blue. Amazing.~

Whale Watch Kaikoura Sperm Whale New Zealand photos

~Whale Watching in Kaikoura~

As you can see, the South Island is mesmerizing and these New Zealand photos are just enough to do it justice.

The raw nature on display here is unlike anything we have ever seen and this puts New Zealand on the top of our travel list for favorite destinations. It’s that good.

Be sure to check out our New Zealand Travel Guide, we’ve got over 30 articles about our time in New Zealand.

The long and short of it, 5 weeks wasn’t enough, we’ll be back.

If you liked our photos and are interested in travel photography, be sure to check out our  Ultimate Travel Photography Gear List.

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About Lina Stock

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA

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4 thoughts on “New Zealand in Pictures: 40 Photos To Give You Wanderlust”

  1. Oh your photos look amazing. Really looking forward to my travel on the south island now.
    Cant wait to see all these stunning places by myself 🙂
    But also looking forward to see the north island, as you said they are soo different and I just cant wait …. 😉


    • The North Island is really great. So many people head straight to the South but we were pleasantly surprised by so much in the North that we ended up preferring it! Enjoy, New Zealand is one of our favorite countries on the planet. Cheers!

    • Thanks Hannah! 🙂 We loved the South Island too. The North and South are sooo different and both worth visting. Can’t wait to return some day,


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