A photographer’s guide to New Zealand
With its breath-taking landscapes, New Zealand is a favourite travel destination for photographers from all over the world. As Australians, we’re lucky that New Zealand is just a short trip away. After being unable to travel for the best part of the year, the possibility of heading back to our favourite neighbours and taking some glorious travel photographs sounds amazing, doesn’t it?
Before you do, take a look at Ted’s Cameras guide to New Zealand for photographers, so you can make sure to hit all of the best photo spots in New Zealand and come home with amazing travel photos to be proud of.
New Zealand hot spots to add to your itinerary
New Zealand is not just still water, waterfalls and picturesque mountains. Of course, these wonderful qualities are available in abundance, but by adding the following stops to your itinerary, you can capture various landscapes and photograph some of the most beautiful places in New Zealand.
Here are some New Zealand travel spots that are must-sees for photographers:
- Piha beach – One of the most beautiful beaches in New Zealand, this black sand beach is close to Auckland, so you can get your fill of landscapes and surf while staying in the city.
- Lake Wanaka – Beautiful and picturesque, Lake Wanaka is also home to the “Wanaka Tree”, one of the most Instagrammable spots in New Zealand, and arguably the most famous Instagrammable tree in the world!
- Waitomo – Waitomo makes our list for two reasons: It is home to huge underground cave structures, which are fun to walk and shoot, as well as Marokopa Waterfall, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in New Zealand.
- Kaikoura – This location should be on your list if you enjoy exploring the wildlife. Numerous whale and dolphin species – including sperm whales! – can be seen there all year round.
- Lake Tekapo – Lake Tekapo gives you the opportunity to tick off a few bucket-list travel photographs at one location. Its alpine lakes and sky-high mountains are the stuff of big-budget films, while the beautiful stone building that is the church of the Good Shepherd allows you to add a touch of history and architecture to your imagery.
The best photography gear to take to New Zealand
Travelling to New Zealand is the perfect opportunity to capture brilliant landscape photos. Crystal clear water, arctic mountains and serene coastal scenes… there’s no shortage of scenic places in New Zealand. To best capture such elements, you need a camera that is capable of handling large dynamic ranges, performing brilliantly in trickly lighting conditions and reproducing colours accurately. Enter: a DSLR or Mirrorless camera.
As portability is important while travelling, we recommend paying particular attention to Mirrorless models. And since much of New Zealand’s best photo spots are by the water, weather-sealed gear is best.
When choosing camera lenses to pair with your camera for travel, look for a lens that’s both portable and will get the best shot every single time. Wide-angle lenses are the best for capturing vast sceneries, but if you want to be able to capture both landscapes and street photos, go for a travel-friendly, all-in-one zoom lens.
Your camera and lens make up the heart of your kit, but there are some other important accessories if you want the most out of your trip, such as:
- Tripod – A tripod will allow you to shoot at slower shutter speeds without blur. It’s a must for low-light photography.
- ND filters – Neutral Density filters (also known as ND filters) limit the light entering your lens and are a must-have for waterfall photography.
- Circular Polariser Filters – These filters increase the colour saturation so you can capture vivid landscape photos.
- Camera backpack – Choose a sturdy camera bag with ample padding and a rain-cover to protect your gear from the elements.
Other key information for your New Zealand photo trip
When should I go to NZ?
New Zealand is a popular travel destination at all times of the year, but if you want the comfort of travelling during the best weather, you should consider going during summer, which is from December to February.
How do I get around in NZ?
Hiring a vehicle, such as a car or campervan is the most popular way to get around New Zealand. If you don’t drive or don’t want to hire a vehicle, buses are also available for travellers, both in the North and South Island.
What else is there of photographic interest in New Zealand?
If you prefer to be less rigid when planning your travels and ignore the key destinations such as the ones highlighted above, you could also hike to capture great landscape photos of New Zealand. There are many different hikes that you can go on, especially in the North Island, as it is home to 10 of the country’s 14 national parks!
Now that you know all about the best places to visit in New Zealand and what to pack for your New Zealand holiday, make sure you’ve got all of the photography gear you need or browse Ted’s Cameras website to complete your camera kit!