Surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, Queenstown offers a huge variety of photo spots. From majestic mountains including The Remarkables and Cecil Peak, to the crystal-clear Lake Wakatipu and lush forests. There is always an opportunity to capture the stunning vistas of Queenstown. We spend two different seasons in Queenstown to find the best photo spots and capture the ever-changing nature. Where spring brings snow-capped mountains and vibrant trees, is autumn a perfect season to capture the colorful foliage that turns yellow, orange and red. Find in our complete guide the 22 best landscape photo spots in Queenstown!
22 BEST PHOTO SPOTS IN QUEENSTOWN
Lake Alta is a stunning glacier lake located at the Remarkables at 1800 meters in height. The approximately 500 metres by 250 metre lake has a beautiful reflection of the mountain on a calm day which offers perfect photo opportunities. To get to Alta Lake you have to drive up via the steep road to The Remarkables Ski Field which is high above Queenstown located. The entrance fee for this road is $10 NZD per vehicle, so with that being said, you want to pick a nice, clear day to capture Lake Alta. Bring a tripod for long exposures and some snacks so you can relax along the lake after you’ve finished the 1.75-kilometer (1 mile) hike up to the lake from the parking lot.
The great thing about driving up this road is that you will see plenty of other photo spots along the way. If you bring a tele lens you can capture the stunning layers of mountains and you can easily spot Lake Hayes and Arrowtown in the distance from the stopover places along the road.
Jack’s Point Lake
Just a 15 minute drive outside of Queenstown is the newly developed district Jack’s Point. If you’re looking for a walk in a quiet area, away from the busy Queenstown center, then head out to Jack’s Point with your camera and search for the lake. You can type into Google ‘Jack’s Point Golf Course’, but once you arrive in the area you have to do some own research as this place is still under development.
We turned left after we entered Jack’s Point and parked the car along the road where you can see a small lake. If you walk around the lake, you will see a stunning reflection of the pyramid looking mountain. This is one of the secret photo spots in Queenstown, which is not captured a million times such as some others.
Bring a tripod and shoot some long exposures here to smooth out the water. We were extremely lucky that evening with a very colorful sunset. A memorable photography evening in Queenstown!
One of the many scenic coves around Queenstown is Wilson Bay. You will pass this pebble beach on the way to Glenorchy and it’s worth a visit. The stunning crystal-clear waters of Lake Wakatipu and the majestic mountains in the background create a perfect backdrop for photography.
If there is movement of clouds, it’s also a great idea to set up a tripod for a time-lapse video of the moving clouds over the mountains. The combination of the stunning lake, mountains, and greenery provides a variety of subjects for landscape and nature photography.
Lake Wakatipu waterfront
The most famous Queenstown photo spot must be from Lake Wakatipu waterfront. You can’t miss the lake when visiting Queenstown and because it’s so easy to access the shore on different spots, if offers a lot of beautiful photography locations!
With stunning views on Cecil Peak and the Remarkables Mountain Range, you can’t miss including these iconic peaks in your photograph.
There are various points from where you can capture stunning angles of Lake Wakatipu. One Mile Carpark is the easiest and most famous spot as it is a good vantage point to look over to Queenstown Gardens. From here you can capture the sunrise above the Remarkables or the last light hitting Walter’s Peak.
Some of the least known Queenstown photo spots is at Mount Dewar, overlooking the golden Skippers Valley. The summit of Mt Dewar can be reached via a 5.2 km return track with about 500 meters incline. So for this Queenstown photo spot you have to put in some effort! However, it’s definitely not as strenuous as the Ben Lomond hike.
The trail starts at Atleys Track and Devils Creek Track where the Skippers Canyon begins. And although Mount Dewar is not specified on the DOC sign, you won’t miss the summit because there are phone masts. Walk around the antennas and you will quickly see the incredible view of golden Skippers Canyon. With layers of dramatic golden ridge lines and the Southern Alps in the far distance, this is without a doubt the most underrated Queenstown photo spot.
Moke Lake is a stunning reflection lake hidden between the mountains west of Queenstown. This picturesque lake is surrounded by the tussock covered peaks of Ben Lomond, Ben More and Mt Hanley with freshwater wetland and farmland in the valley. On calm days and at the right time, the surface of Moke Lake turns into a mirror reflecting all surrounding peaks. It truly is a photographer’s dream with the crystal clear water and breathtaking surroundings.
You can either stay along the lake shore to capture Moke Lake, or hike up to the viewpoint from where you can get a better, higher perspective of the lake and surroundings.
Best Queenstown photography tours
If you want an all-organised photography tour, then booking one of the Queenstown photography tours is the best way to go. The huge advantage of booking a photography tour is that you don’t have to think about anything else except bringing your camera, SD card and tripod.
Everything from transport, hotel pick up and drop off to a knowledgeable and passionate guide is included. This will make it a carefree experience so that you only have to focus on taking pictures. There are plenty of different photography tours from Queenstown. Here are the best.
- Private Full Day Photography Tour Queenstown and and the Southern Lakes
- Half-Day Queenstown Photography Tour to Skippers Canyon
- Private Half day Photography Tour from Queenstown to Glenorchy
- Nightscape Photography Tour at Coronet Peak
- Private Full Day Photo Tour of Queenstown, Skippers, Glenorchy, Wanaka, Otago
- Half Day Private Skippers Canyon Photography Adventure
- Private Half Day Photography Tour of Queenstown, Skippers Canyon and Glenorchy
If you’re not looking to take pictures yourself, but you like your adventures to be captured by a private photographer during the tour, then these are the best options:
- Professional Photography & Exclusive Guided 4WD Tour from Queenstown to Glenorchy and Paradise
- Private Couple Photo Shoot in Queenstown
- Professional Photography & Exclusive 4WD Tour Skippers Canyon
- Private & Exclusive 4WD Tour with Professional Photographer in Queenstown
Along the way to Moke Lake you will first pass Lake Kirkpatrick on the left side. This stunning little lake is surrounded by steep mountains, and on a calm day without wind you will see stunning reflections. It’s a great combination if you plan to visit Moke Lake as well, because you don’t have to drive extra for it. Just park your car safely along the road and make sure to not disturb any wildlife.
Sunshine Bay is a scenic and peaceful location for photography in Queenstown. Across Lake Wakatipu from Sunshine Bay, you’ll find the Remarkables mountain range. The rugged peaks of the mountains add drama and depth to your compositions, creating a stunning backdrop for your shots.
Just like many locations in Queenstown, Sunshine Bay is ideal for capturing the golden hours of sunrise and sunset. The changing light during these times adds a warm and magical glow to your photographs. If you’re in Queenstown during the autumn months (April to May), then you will see that the trees around Sunshine Bay change color, creating a beautiful backdrop of vibrant red, orange, and gold foliage.
Frankton Beach offers a different perspective of the lake and surrounding mountains compared to other popular photo spots in Queenstown. The unobstructed views of Lake Wakatipu and the backdrop of the Remarkables Mountain Range create a stunning scene for landscape photography in every season. Whether it’s the lush greenery of summer, the vibrant autumn foliage, the snow-capped mountains in winter, or the blossoms of spring, each season brings a unique charm to this location. We visited Frankton Beach in autumn with the beautiful colourful foliage. Unfortunately, it was too early for this first snow, which would have made this picture better in our opinion.
There is also a jetty at Frankton beach which is the perfect leading line for your photograph. We haven’t been here with sunrise or sunset, but can imagine that the golden glow will be a stunning natural element to make this another fantastic photo spot in Queenstown.
Crown Range road
The scenic Crown Range road which connects Queenstown to Wanaka is the highest main road in all of New Zealand! So it’s a special one, and you will most likely pass it when traveling around. There are plenty of narrow twists and turns and beautiful viewpoints along the way. So make sure to allow enough time to drive this road.
The most popular viewpoint is called Arrow Junction Lookout which is right after you take the turn-off at Lake Hayes. This viewpoint has an awesome view of Arrowtown and Lake Hayes. When we stopped here it was autumn, and the beautiful landscape with colourful trees looked like a painting!
Lake Hayes became some of our favourite photo spots in Queenstown. This picturesque lake is a 20 minute drive from Queenstown and is the perfect combination when visiting Arrowtown.
Because you can walk around Lake Hayes, there are plenty of beautiful photography spots to find. And the best thing is, on calm days, the lake offers beautiful reflections of the surrounding landscape. Look for spots with minimal ripples on the water’s surface to capture clear and symmetrical reflections.
The southern end of Lake Hayes offers breathtaking views of the Remarkables mountain range. While the northern end looks out over Coronet Peak.
Another great thing about Lake Hayes is that during the autumn months in New Zealand (April to May), the trees around the lake change color. This creates a beautiful backdrop of vibrant red, orange, and gold foliage.
The Queenstown Gardens are situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and home to a wide range of plant species. You can find beautiful flowers, trees, and native New Zealand flora. This abundance of greenery provides excellent subjects for macro and nature photography. In the autumn months some of the trees in the Queenstown Gardens turn red, yellow and orange, providing a stunning colourful palette.
The charming stone arch bridge is located across a narrow part of the garden pond and offers the perfect subject in photography. Especially during the autumn months with the colourful trees surrounding the bridge.
Bob’s Cove Viewpoint
Bobs Cove viewpoint can be reached via a stunning short walk along the turquoise cove edge of Lake Wakatipu. Located on a 20 minute drive from Queenstown, Bobs Cove track is a great way to escape the crowds in town. Due to the crystal clear turquoise water surrounded by emerald green hills, you almost have the feeling as if you’re on a tropical island!
Bob’s Cove is particularly popular for sunset photography. The setting sun casts a warm glow on the landscape, creating a magical atmosphere. Sunrise can also be stunning, as the first light of the day illuminates the Remarkables mountain range across the lake.
During the day you can capture the bright blue turquoise lake with the mountains as backdrop. And on a very calm day, Lake Wakatipu at Bob’s Cove offers mirror-like reflections of the surrounding scenery. There is also a jetty in the beginning of the walk to Bob’s Cove viewpoint which provides another fun photo spot with a leading line of the jetty.
Arrowtown is a charming historic town with a beautiful blend of natural beauty and rich heritage. The well-preserved historic center with quaint buildings date back to the gold rush era. These heritage buildings, including old cottages, churches, and shops, offer excellent subjects for architectural and street photography.
Arrowtown is in particular famous for its stunning autumn foliage. During the fall months (April to May), the town’s streets and surrounding landscapes are adorned with vibrant golden and red trees, making it a perfect spot for capturing colorful and picturesque scenes.
Especially the old historic police station that dates back to the late 1800s is a famous spot for photographers flocking to Arrowtown. It is an excellent example of the architecture from the gold rush period and has been well-preserved over the years.
The Shotover Canyon is a deep and narrow gorge with towering rock walls carved by the Shotover River. Located on a 15 minute drive from Queenstown along the Arthurs Point Road, you can have a stunning perspective of the Shotover Canyon from Edith Cavell Bridge. From here you can not only capture the stunning gorge, but also see the Shotover Jet boat speeding by. If you don’t plan on experiencing the Shotover jet boat yourself, then it is at least fun to see them manoeuvring through the narrow canyon from the bridge. Meanwhile you can capture action shots of these high-speed boats as they navigate the rapids and whirlpools of the canyon.
During the autumn months, the trees around the canyon change color which adds that extra contrast with the blue water of the Shotover River.
Ben Lomond Summit
You don’t get the Ben Lomond views for free! This strenuous 14 kilometers out and back trail has an elevation gain of 1,483 meters and offers stunning views over Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountain ranges. It’s one of the best hikes in Queenstown and is in particular popular for sunrise and sunset photography. Watching the sun rise or set over the Southern Alps and Lake Wakatipu from this vantage point is an unforgettable experience.
Along the hike up Ben Lomond you will see such a diverse range of scenery, from lush forests to alpine meadows and rocky ridges. Each section of the hike presents different photography opportunities, so be sure to capture the changing landscapes along the way.
Skyline Gondola / Bob’s Peak
This is without a doubt some of the most famous Queenstown photography spots. Seen on my Queenstown postcards, the view from Bob’s Peak over the city, Lake Wakatipu and mountains is a classic view. The best time to get here is with sunrise, however even during the day you can capture stunning panoramic photos from this viewpoint.
Amazing photo spots near Queenstown
Although the next photo spots are not located in Queenstown, they can be reached within a 30 to 60 minute drive. This makes it a perfect day trip as you can include exploring the town where they are located. Both Glenorchy and Wanaka are absolutely worth a visit and must be included in your New Zealand South Island itinerary.
One of the most photographed places in Glenorchy is without a doubt the wharf which can be used as a leading line in your compositions. The jetty extends out into Lake Wakatipu, providing a unique vantage point for capturing the beauty of the lake and the surrounding mountains. The clear waters of the lake sometimes offer mirror-like reflections, especially during calm weather with sunrise. This will give perfect photo opportunities adding charm to your photographs.
Glenorchy Jetty is particularly popular for capturing sunrise and sunset shots. The changing light during these times adds a warm and magical glow to your images. Another great thing about this photography location is that with every season you can get different results. From lush greenery in spring and summer to golden foliage in autumn and snow-covered landscapes in winter, each season offers a unique atmosphere.
Glenorchy willow trees
The Glenorchy sister trees are a pair of graceful willow trees that grow near the water’s edge on the shores of Lake Wakatipu in Glenorchy. They are known for their picturesque appearance and reflection in the calm waters of Lake Wakatipu with high tide. The trees are a favorite subject for landscape and nature photographers and are in particular great to capture with sunrise. The willow trees and the shoreline can be used as leading lines to draw the viewer’s eye into the frame and create a sense of depth in your photographs.
Road to Paradise
The so called Road to Paradise is the road that connects Queenstown with Glenorchy and Paradise. And as the name says, it feels as if you’re driving in paradise! This picturesque drive winds through the stunning landscapes of the Dart Valley and Mount Aspiring National Park. Surrounded by the towering majestic mountains of Mount Aspiring National Park, lush forests, and pristine rivers, there is a range of diverse photography subjects.
The most photographed tree of New Zealand is #thatWanakaTree. This iconic willow tree along the shore of Lake Wanaka has become an emblematic symbol of Wanaka. The tree’s popularity comes from its photogenic quality and the contrast it creates against the beautiful lake and mountain scenery. It has become an Instagram hotspot and attracts photographers, nature enthusiasts, and tourists who seek to capture its beauty. At sunrise and sunset, in particular, the Wanaka Tree offers a picturesque scene with vibrant colors illuminating the sky and reflecting on the water. This is definitely the best time to capture the Wanaka Tree, but be prepared for a line of photographers!
Another famous New Zealand photography spot is Roys Peak. Located on a hour’s drive from Queenstown, it’s not particularly close but well worth a visit. If you’re not planning on staying in Wanaka, then a day trip to Wanaka must be on your itinerary. You can then perfectly combine the highlights of Wanaka which include hiking Roys Peak. If you’re a die-hard then hike up Roys Peak before sunrise to capture the stunning golden glow illuminating the lake and surrounding mountain peaks.
I hope you enjoyed our complete guide about the 20 best photo spots in Queenstown New Zealand! Make sure to check our other New Zealand travel guides
How to get around in New Zealand
To experience New Zealand to the fullest and at your own pace, renting a car, campervan or motorhome is the best way to get around. Which one of these options you choose depends on your preference and budget. If you love camping, being outdoors all day and you don’t mind a smaller living space, then renting a camper van is the way to go. It also gives you the freedom to sleep at some of the most beautiful camping spots. But for some of them, you’ll have to make a reservation and plan your trip accordingly. The same goes for a motorhome which is bigger than a campervan and fits about 4-6 people. Here’s what you need to know about renting a car, camper van or motorhome in New Zealand.
Car rental in New Zealand
Renting a car in New Zealand is the easiest and cheapest rental vehicle available. It will get you to all the best destinations with ease and gives you the freedom to stop for a break wherever you want. However, you should keep in mind that some roads in New Zealand are still gravel or that you have to cross shallow rivers to some destinations in National Parks. Therefore we recommend a mini SUV or SUV model to have enough clearance for this kind of road. We rented for 6 weeks a Mitsubishi ASX model and were super happy with this car!
The best place to book your rental car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare different car models, prices, companies, and terms and conditions. Make sure to secure the booking of your rental car as soon as possible to have the lowest price possible. Prices go up the closer you get to the pickup date.
Campervan rental in New Zealand
Traveling around in a campervan is one of the most popular ways for a road trip in New Zealand. With a bed, small kitchen, and seating area you will have all the (basic) needs on four wheels. Make sure to check if your campervan has a shower because this might influence where you want to camp. A campervan allows you to camp at plenty of beautiful places, sometimes for free, sometimes for a fee. It will give you a true feeling of freedom and connect you with nature.
We recommend booking your campervan with Travellers Autobarn as they have a wide range of Station wagons, 2-berth campervans & 3-5 berth campervans to hire for all budgets. All Travellers Autobarn campervan hires in New Zealand come with free unlimited kilometers, 10% discount to premium campgrounds, 24/7 roadside assistance & long-term rental discounts. Check the availability and prices today to secure your campervan for a New Zealand dream road trip!
More New Zealand travel guides
I hope you enjoyed this complete guide about the best Queenstown photo spots. We have many more New Zealand travel guides, so make sure to check them out for more tips and to plan your ultimate New Zealand road trip!