Looking for the most instagrammable places in New Zealand for a bit of wanderlust and your bucket list? Look no further. We’ve got you covered with all of the best jaw-dropping views across New Zealand.
Keep scrolling for the most beautiful places in New Zealand and be sure to follow along with us on Instagram for more inspiration.
1. Milford Sound
One of the most well-known—and definitely most beautiful—places in New Zealand is Milford Sound. Located in the very south of the South Island, it’s a ways away from any big city, but that’s just as it should be. The quiet fiord is home to towering peaks, rainforests, waterfalls and even penguins and dolphins! So yes, it should definitely be on your list. Fun fact: Milford Sound is one of the wettest places on the planet, getting over 250 inches of rain every year!
2. Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park
Mt. Cook National Park is definitely one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand—even before you get to it! The road leading into the park goes past Lake Pukaki, with it’s glacier-blue waters, and with views of the massive Mt. Cook in the distance. According to Google Maps, it’s only a 40-minute drive from the nearby town of Twizel, but we’ve found you’ll have trouble making it in under an hour due to all of the times you’ll want to stop and take pictures of the views!
3. Hooker Valley Track
Once you’ve made it into Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park, this is your must-do hike! Possibly one of the most accessible and most well-known hiking tracks in New Zealand, Hooker Valley Track is easy enough for nearly all skill levels. From the stunning vistas of Mt. Cook in the background to the amazing trail pics along the way, the Hooker Valley Track will definitely give you some amazing pics for the ‘gram.
4. Lake Tekapo
You’ll probably recognize this famous blue lake surrounded by fields of lupin flowers. It’s a gorgeous spot on New Zealand’s South Island in Twizel. The lupins bloom most brilliantly in the spring, so visit around November for the fields of flowers. The area is also well-known for it’s super-dark night skies and amazing stargazing.
5. Mount Taranaki
Mount Taranaki is an active volcano on New Zealand’s North Island and it’s a must-see. With some resemblance to Mount Fuji in Japan, it’s even made a cameo in a few films! You can hike on Mount Taranaki if you’re feeling adventurous, or just explore the national park (Egmont National Park) surrounding the mountain. Either way, you’re in for some stellar views.
6. Roy’s Peak
Another super popular day-hike in New Zealand is the hike to Roy’s Peak, and it’s not hard to see why! Although there’s quite a bit of elevation gain, the views make it totally worth it. It’s about a 10-mile out-and-back trail, so bring your walking shoes and give yourself plenty of time for the uphill switchbacks—then give yourself even more time for the insanely beautiful vistas at the top.
From mud pools to geysers, Waiotapu is a hotspot for geothermal activity due to the centuries of volcanic activity in the region. Thankfully, that makes this park one of the most unique and beautiful areas in New Zealand to explore! Waiotapu (which means “sacred waters” in Maori) is located on the North Island, not far from Rotorua.
8. Tongariro National Park
Tongariro National Park is New Zealand’s oldest National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Located on the North Island, Tongariro is home to three active volcanoes, as well as an impressive expanse of other scenery and sites to explore. Whether you’re going for a bit of hiking or backpacking, or heading there in the winter for skiing and snowboarding, there’s plenty to do!
9. Huka Falls
Huka Falls is a super-powerful waterfall flowing along the Waikato River. The nearby walking trail and footbridge over the falls means you can easily get up close to see (and hear!) the stunning waterfalls. Not to mention that the trail provides numerous lookout spots to get some great Instagrammable views.
Home to glowworm caves and massive waterfalls, Waitomo is definitely one of the most instagrammable places in New Zealand. Whether you opt for a quiet boating tour through the glowworm caves or go rafting, kayaking or abseiling, the expansive limestone caves dotted with glowworms makes for an incredible experience that’ll be hard to find elsewhere!
11. Hokitika Gorge
This bright blue water is not photoshop: it’s glacier river runoff and, depending on the weather conditions can be anywhere from a muddy blue to a super-bright blue color. A short hike from an easily-accessible parking lot will bring you down to several viewpoints, a suspension bridge and a rocky access shore to the water’s edge. Be sure to bring your bug spray: there’s often a lot of sandflies here!
12. Cape Reinga
Cape Reinga is the northernmost tip of New Zealand’s North Island, providing amazing views despite being a bit of a drive. Once you’ve gotten your pics of the cape, you can also visit 90-Mile Beach, Spirits Bay and the nearby sand dunes to make a true day trip out of it. Also, there’s several campsites if you want to be there to catch the sunrises and sunsets!
13. Nugget Point Lighthouse
On the opposite end of New Zealand, you can see Nugget Point lighthouse and a lookout point over one of the Southern tips of the South Island. While it’s a bit of a hike to get out to the actual lighthouse and lookout point, it’s definitely worth it. The sunsets alone make it one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand. Also, if you’re lucky, you might also be able to see some fur seals or penguins on the beaches below!
13. Blue Pools
While you may not be able to swim at Hokitika Gorge, the Blue Pools are a great (albeit icy cold!) swimming spot! Head out here on a hot summer day and see if you can resist diving into these crystal-blue lakes.
14. Marlborough Sounds
Marlborough Sounds, though not as well known as other destinations in New Zealand, is a gorgeous area on the North Island. It definitely deserves a spot on your must-see list! The Marlborough Sounds are ancient sunken river valleys, filled in with water from the Pacific Ocean rising around the hills and inlets of the area. The views from just about anywhere in the region are amazing. If you really want to soak them in, go for a boat tour or walk the Queen Charlotte Track. Hikes along the scenic track can range from day hikes to a complete five-day backpacking trip.
Last but definitely not least, Fiordland National Park is no doubt one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand for scenery, hiking and long drives. Lake Marian (pictured) is an alpine lake tucked away in the Southern Alps of Fiordland you can hike to on just a day hike (be warned though, the trail is rated as difficult and involves some very muddy, rocky sections and a bit of unmarked wayfinding). There’s plenty of hikes for all skill levels in Fiordland though, or it’s perfect for just some scenic driving too.
Is New Zealand on your bucket list? Find out the cheapest times to fly to New Zealand, when to buy your tickets and more with our tips on flights to New Zealand.