The Best of the Best: New Zealand's North Island Photo Spots

2 weeks +
53 Activities
13 Locations

Trip Summary

I've lived and breathed so many of these amazing locations since I live in the North Island myself. I have visited many of the locations in this guide in different seasons and in all kinds of light. If I'm recommending you to visit them on your trip of a lifetime, it's because their appeal and beauty transcend any given day or time. The amazing variety of scenery of New Zealand's North Island has a tendency to be overshadowed by the grandeur of South Island mountains and lakes pulling travellers immediately south. Let me tell you, you will NOT regret for a minute taking this trip to explore the amazing beaches and waterfalls, lakes and mountains on offer here. Where the South Island might take out the prize for the best mountain, the North Island firmly beats it with its hundreds of Instagram-worthy beaches and lush waterfalls flowing in virgin native forest. If you like nature photography, adventure and a bit of luxury, this trip is perfect for you!

Starting from

$2000 USD per person

About Meghan

An award-winning landscape photographer and travel blogger, I find beautiful places to visit and photograph that are not your traditional tourist spots. I know that the most memorable travel moments you'll create, are the unexpected locations along the way where the light turns an ordinary scene into one of wonder that you just have to capture. My trips will help you experience this for yourself!

Trip Highlights

Catch a glimpse of Mount Taranaki
Watch the sunrise over the ocean at Cathedral Cove
Wake up in Matai Bay - Northland's best kept secret
Gaze in wonder at the night skies over Lake Tarawera
Experience NZ's most powerful waterfall at Marokopa

Trip Overview

Whangarei

Whangarei

Whangarei is the gateway to NZ's beautiful winterless north. I love the fact it's only a 2 hour drive from Auckland yet couldn't be further away from the 'big city' feel that Auckland has. With so many lovely beaches within a stones throw away, plus magical glow worm caves to explore, a waterfall right in the city centre and an awesome mountain to climb for epic views!
4 Things to Do
1 Places to Eat

Activities

Waipu Caves
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Waipu Caves
This is one of the only places in NZ that you can see glow worms for free in a unique cave system. Take a torch and walk into the cavern as far as you can before you have to wade deeper. Turn your torch off and
let your eyes adjust. You'll be amazed at the stunning ceiling of blue light above. I suggest going early in the day and avoid weekends or public holidays to have the best chance of having the caves to yourself!
Mt Manaia Sunset Views
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Mt Manaia Sunset Views
The views from the lookout at the top of Mount Manaia are sensational in all directions and if you don't mind a few steps on the way up it's a lovely walk through NZ native forest. If you can time your walk to coincide
with sunset you're sure in for a treat - just don't forget to take a head torch for the return journey!
Whangarei Falls
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Whangarei Falls
Where else in New Zealand, let alone the world can you enjoy a stunning waterfall setting right in the heart of a city? For me this was one of the most enjoyable experiences in the whole time I spent in Northland.
Visiting at dawn when there were very few people around was the best time to go. You can even freedom camp in one of the dedicated spots in the carpark here.
Sunrise at Matapouri Bay
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Sunrise at Matapouri Bay
I can't think of a nicer place to camp the night and take an early morning stroll on the beach. I woke to Easter Sunday here and the glorious golden light that filled the campervan at sunrise was one of my favourite
memories of my trip. Sipping a fresh morning coffee with this view was just incredible.
Biggie Bagels
eat
Biggie Bagels
Great coffee and an amazing selection of delicious bagels all named after rappers.

The Trip in Photos

Waipu Caves
Waipu Caves
Whangarei
Mt Manaia Sunset Views
Mt Manaia Sunset Views
Whangarei
Mt Manaia Sunset Views
Mt Manaia Sunset Views
Whangarei
Whangarei Falls
Whangarei Falls
Whangarei
Sunrise at Matapouri Bay
Sunrise at Matapouri Bay
Whangarei
Biggie Bagels
Biggie Bagels
Whangarei
St Paul's Rock
St Paul's Rock
Matai Bay
Rainbow Falls, Kerikeri
Rainbow Falls, Kerikeri
Matai Bay