Take one of the most beautiful countries in the world. New Zealand. Now take one of the most gorgeous areas of New Zealand. The Southern Alps. Now take one of the most breathtaking towns in The Southern Alps. And you get Queenstown.
It doesn’t matter how popular it is or it isn’t, or how big it comes to grow. The fact is that Queenstown and its surroundings are breathtaking and no one can ever take that away.
After all, nature has worked hard over millions of years to create the stunning backdrop scenery for this town.
If you are following my travel itinerary around the South Island, Queenstown will be one of your main stops. I hope you’ve brought some proper camera gear with you because now it will be the time to use it!
1. One Mile Carpark
A 5-minute walk out of the town centre One Mile Car Park offers fantastic vistas over the Wakatipu lake, toward the Remarkable Mountain Range and straight over to Cecil Peak and Walter’s Peak.
It also gives a good vantage point to look over to Queenstown gardens. Whether you want to get snapshots of the sun rising above the Remarkables or the last light hitting Walter’s Peak you can’t go wrong with this one.
2. Ben Lomond Summit
A steady uphill hike and one of the best trekking routes in the whole of New Zealand, this summit will give you views like no other.
An unbelievable 360 panoramic vantage point over all surrounding mountains. If you’re brave, do it through the night and enjoy the sunrise on the top.
3. Queenstown Gardens
Queenstown Gardens is a picturesque place, perfect for an afternoon round of frisbee golf, a quiet picnic or just a stroll around with your camera.
Follow the hiking path from the beachfront near the town centre for around 10 minutes to the other side of the gardens and you will be greeted by this spectacular view.
The best time for photos is late afternoon and sunset. Watch the Remarkables mountain range turn red as the sun sets behind neighbouring hills.
4. Jack’s Point
Jack’s point is a short drive away from Queenstown (15 minutes) but it’s like a completely different place. Instead of having the view of The Remarkables, you’ll be directly underneath them.
It’s one of those places where you find yourself thinking how nice it would be to own a house here. Sigh…one day when I hit the jackpot in a lottery.
The little lake right by the golf clubhouse creates stunning reflections of the surrounding mountains on a windless day.
5. Queenstown Hill
One of the best hikes in Queenstown, that The hill northeast of the town centre offers sentinel views over Lake Hayes, Coronet Peak and of course, Lake Wakatipu.
6. Bob’s Peak/Skyline Gondola
At the top of the gondola, there’s an incredible chance to see Queenstown at night. The lights of the city shimmering below snow-capped peaks.
It’s definitely one of my choices for the most photogenic spots. Be warned though, a lot of other photography enthusiasts may think the same.
If you want to escape the crowds, walk for another 10-15 minutes uphill, past the luge and forest until you get to a clearing where the paragliders take off. You will find yourself in a whole different world with hardly anywhere else in sight!
7. Lake Hayes
Another great photo spot in Queenstown is lake Hayes. On a still day, you can expect some reflections of the surrounding mountains.
If you happen to be in the area during autumn, the trees along the lakeshore turn into beautiful shades of yellow and red.
Morning fog on a cold morning is also not uncommon during this time of the year. If you drive over Crown Range Road, one of the most scenic roads in New Zealand, you’ll go past this lake.
8. Moke Lake
On the road towards Glenorchy, which is an incredible drive with plenty of photo opportunities in itself, there’s a little right-hand turn that leads to Moke Lake.
Moke Lake is a horseshoe-shaped lake offering fantastic reflections, especially in the winter. Astrophotographers paradise!
9. Shotover Canyon
If you decide to go jet-boating in Queenstown, which is a fun activity, chances are you’ll be racing in and out of the Shotover Canyon.
Seen from the viewing platform, however, is awesome too. Even Prince William and Kate Middleton couldn’t say no to this view when they visited New Zealand a few years ago!
10. Old Glenorchy Wharf
Driving down Glenorchy Road for about 30 minutes you get a small abandoned jetty on the left-hand side. Blink and you’ll miss it. This photo spot is where to spend a sunset or two. Stay until it gets dark and you might be able to get some aurora glow when looking South!
Where to Stay Around Queenstown
I hope you enjoyed my recommendations for the best photography spots in Queenstown. As always this is not a complete list and I feel like I just scratched the surface. I hope this list will help you with planning your visit!
Queenstown is a busy place, I’d go as far as to say that it is the busiest tourist destination in New Zealand.
If you plan on visiting make sure to book your accommodation far in advance to avoid high prices or being left out with only a few choices. Below are some of my recommendations for every budget.
What guests loved about it
- Modern furnishings and bedding
- Well-equipped common areas
- Access to restaurants within walking distance
What guests loved about it
- Quiet surroundings with beautiful views of the canyon
- Lovely and helpful staff
- Soaking in a jacuzzi under the stars
For Luxury Fans
What guests loved about it
- Very attentive staff
- Cozy fireplace
- Excellent menu choices
- Complimentary shuttle service to downtown Queenstown
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