The 18 Best Instagrammable Spots on the North Island of New Zealand

by Flip Flop Wanderers
0 comment 1085 views

Last updated on February 2nd, 2020

It’s no secret that New Zealand is an amazingly beautiful country. With its snowy mountains, incredible coastlines, blue as lakes, countless numbers of waterfalls, and lush rainforests, New Zealand is a photographer’s dream. After traveling around the country for more than a year in total, we can say that it’s definitely the most instagrammable country in the whole world!

In this guide, we’ll cover all the best instagrammable spots on the north island of New Zealand. Including insider tips and the exact Google Maps location of each spot.

Looking for the best instagrammable spots on the south island?
Also read: The 20 Best Instagrammable Spots on the South Island of New Zealand

Cape Reinga Lighthouse

Google Maps location: click here

Starting with the top of the north island, Cape Reinga is really situated at the end of the world. It’s home to a very cute lighthouse with the most beautiful views of the ocean. Or actually, two oceans. This is the place where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. 

When to go: come with sunrise or sunset to have the place to yourself and to have the most beautiful lighting.

Top tip: at some point on the path you can choose to follow the main path to the right or to go up a hill to the left. Follow the path to the left to get the best views over the lighthouse!

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by BRAM & MANON ✧ Travel Couple🇳🇱 (@flipflopwanderers) on

St Paul’s Rock – Whangaroa Harbour

Google Maps location: click here

This is a true hidden gem! It’s a short, but steep hike to the top of the volcanic rock but from there you have spectacular views of Whangaroa Harbour. The water is so incredibly blue from up there, it’s amazing! On your way there are also beautiful views already.

Top tip: wear good shoes to get to the top, because you’ll have to climb some rocks while holding yourself onto a chain.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by BRAM & MANON ✧ Travel Couple🇳🇱 (@flipflopwanderers) on

Cathedral Cove – Coromandel

Google Maps location: click here

Cathedral Cove is the highlight of the Coromandel Peninsula and probably one of the most famous instagrammable spots on the north island. It’s home to a beautiful white-sand beach and unique rock formations. From the carpark, you’ll have to walk around 30 – 45minutes to get there, but it’s definitely worth it! Along the way you already have amazing ocean views.

When to go: go for sunrise! Yes, you will have to hike in the dark but sunrise is so incredibly beautiful here. Especially if you go stand behind the rock formation on the other side of the cave like we did at the below photo. Another benefit is that it will be much quieter than during the day!

Top tip: avoid weekends and public holidays as it gets super busy then. All the local kiwis celebrate their free time here!

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by BRAM & MANON ✧ Travel Couple🇳🇱 (@flipflopwanderers) on

Pinnacles Walk – Coromandel

Google Maps location: click here

The Pinnacles Walk is one of the toughest hikes we did, but let us tell you: it’s definitely worth it! The Pinnacles are the highest point of the Coromandel Peninsula and reaching the summit is an indescribable feeling. From the top of the summit you’ll have incredible views over the Coromandel Peninsula and you will be taking photos everywhere!

When to go: as this is a day hike we recommend you to leave early in the morning. The best thing would be to stay in the DOC hut at the base of the Pinnacles and then go for sunset and for sunrise to the top of the summit. Around these times the light is amazing!

Top tip: be very well prepared for this hike, as it’s a steep climb. Always wear sturdy shoes.

Want to know more about this day hike?
Also read: The 10 Best Day Hikes in New Zealand

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by BRAM & MANON ✧ Travel Couple🇳🇱 (@flipflopwanderers) on

Bridal Veil Falls – Raglan

Google Maps location: click here

One of the most beautiful waterfalls we have seen in New Zealand! It’s a perfect single-drop waterfall located in the middle of a bush and is 55 meters high. The top of the waterfall is easily reached a few minutes from the carpark and for the base you have the climb down about 10 minutes. Both at the top and base of the waterfall are platforms. Unfortunately you can’t really go behind the fences or at least aren’t really allowed to, which isn’t the best for Instagram photos.

Top tip: there is however one spot where you can easily get over the fence to get the same shot as we have below, at the second gate a few steps below the top of the falls. It’s not really the safest spot, so be careful at the edge, but it makes for awesome shots.

Photography tip: use a slow shutter speed to capture the water movement and to make the waterfall look silky smooth. If it’s too light during the day, use a grey filter on your camera. When you’re using a slow shutter speed and you want to be in the shot yourself, you have to stand very still though! Or merge it together later in Photoshop 😉

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by BRAM & MANON ✧ Travel Couple🇳🇱 (@flipflopwanderers) on

Wai-o-Tapu – Rotorua

Google Maps location: click here

You can’t visit New Zealand without seeing some geothermal activity! In our opinion one of the best parks for this and the one with the best instagrammable spots is Wai-o-Tapu in Rotorua. It’s a truly unique landscape that is sculptured out of volcanic activity and is thousands of years in the making. You’ll find steaming vents, bubbling mud, huge volcanic craters, and hot bubbling pools.

When to go: the park is open from 8.30 am to 6.00 pm. We recommend to go there straight after opening time or later in the afternoon to avoid most tourists.

Top tip: we loved taking photos on the boardwalk next to the Champagne Pool the most!

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by BRAM & MANON ✧ Travel Couple🇳🇱 (@flipflopwanderers) on

Redwoods – Rotorua

Google Maps location: click here

While they are not as famous as the original Redwoods in California, the ones in Rotorua are still really impressive. The forest is pretty huge and there are several pathways in and amongst the trees, like the Treewalk. We just loved walking around and making use of the ample opportunities to take photos!

When to go: the forest is most beautiful during the golden hours, when the lights peaks between the trees.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by BRAM & MANON ✧ Travel Couple🇳🇱 (@flipflopwanderers) on

Mount Maunganui

Google Maps location: click here

Mount Maunganui is a gorgeous place on the east coast of the north island with the ‘best beach of New Zealand’, as nominated by Tripadvisor. But that is not all: the ‘Mount’ is a 232-meter high mountain, whose summit is reached by a 45-minute hike. From up there you have the most stunning 360-degree views over the entire Bay of Plenty. There are definitely some good viewpoints, rocks or other elements around to make the perfect Instagram shot!

When to go: go with sunrise! This is the most beautiful time as the sun rises perfectly behind the beach and the city. Otherwise, sunset is also still pretty.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by BRAM & MANON ✧ Travel Couple🇳🇱 (@flipflopwanderers) on

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Google Maps location: click here

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is New Zealand’s most famous and impressive day hike. The 20 km hike traverses an epic volcanic alpine landscape of dramatic contrasts: from lush rainforest and glacial valleys to crater lakes, volcanic lava fields, emerald lakes, and steaming vents. You’ll have endless photo opportunities along the way but our favorite must be the view over the Emerald Lakes!

When to go: as this is a demanding day hike, start very early in the morning, so you’ll have enough time to take those amazing Instagram shots!

Top tip: be very well prepared when you’re doing the crossing, as weather conditions can change quickly. Sturdy shoes with strong grip are absolutely necessary and always carry a waterproof/windproof jacket with you.

Want to know more about this day hike?
Also read: The 10 Best Day Hikes in New Zealand

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by BRAM & MANON ✧ Travel Couple🇳🇱 (@flipflopwanderers) on

Kiwi Sign – Tongariro National Park

Google Maps location: click here

The Tongariro National Park has much more than only the Tongariro Crossing. The whole national park is stunning with views on Mount Tongariro, Ruapehu, and Ngauruhoe (also called Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings). One spot we particularly loved is the kiwi sign next to 47 Road. From here you have a perfect backdrop of Mount Doom. You can find the kiwi sign before the turn-off to Whakapapa if you’re coming from the side of National Park. This is definitely one of our favorite instagrammable spots on the north island!

When to go: this place is stunning any time of the day, but come around sunset and the colors are just incredible. Try to come on a clear day, otherwise Mount Doom might be covered in clouds.

Top tip: take photos on the road for that ultimate road trip shot, but be careful about passing cars!

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by BRAM & MANON ✧ Travel Couple🇳🇱 (@flipflopwanderers) on

Bruce Road – Tongariro National Park

Google Maps location: click here

Bruce Road is the road that leads from Whakapapa town all the way up to the Whakapapa ski field. Along this road you have incredible views over the valley below and on Mount Doom. On a clear day you can even see Mount Taranaki in the distance!

When to go: sunset is definitely the best time to take shots from here. The light is incredible!

Top tip: for the best Instagrammable spot, stop just before the bigger carpark along the way (not the carpark at the skifield!). From here, walk into the rocky landscape and look for a good angle to take shots of you in front of Mount Doom!

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by BRAM & MANON ✧ Travel Couple🇳🇱 (@flipflopwanderers) on

Kent Road – Mount Taranaki

Google Maps location: click here

An incredibly scenic road of which our photos went completely viral on Instagram! Everybody always wants to know where we took these shots, so here you have the location of the most instagrammable spot on the north island: it’s the Kent Road leading towards Mount Taranaki. 

When to go: definitely before and during sunset! It’s just magical when the sun hits the top of Mount Taranaki and colors it golden. Also, try to come on a clear day as Taranaki is often covered in clouds. You’ll have to be lucky for clear days though, but some clouds around the mountain are also really pretty.

The exact spot: it’s hard to explain the exact spot where we took our photos, but you’ll probably see it when you get there. We were standing on a sort of higher hill on the road with some small, even higher hills on both sides of the road. Just use our photo as a reference!

Top tip: we took our photos on the road with our tripod, but we want to warn you to be careful if you’re gonna do the same! While it’s super quiet on this road (only 3 cars passed us during rush hour), still be on the lookout for cars coming. Luckily you can hear and see them very early.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by BRAM & MANON ✧ Travel Couple🇳🇱 (@flipflopwanderers) on

Pouakai Tarns – Mount Taranaki

Google Maps location: click here

Another one of our favorite instagrammable spots on the north island! To get to this spot you have to do something though, a hike of about 10km return! The hike itself is pretty tough and climbs up many steps, but the reward you get at the end is just amazing. The majestic Mount Taranaki with reflecting ponds in front of it is a sight you won’t forget easily.

Top tip: There is a hut on the top close to the tarns where you can stay the night. We definitely recommend doing this because then you can visit the tarns at the most beautiful times of the day!

When to go: if you stay the night in the hut, you can come to the tarns with sunset and sunrise. Those are definitely the best times as the lighting is gorgeous then! Also, after sunset stay a little longer as the night sky is incredible over there. We have never seen so many stars!

Photography tip: on every photo you see from this spot, the tarns look super big, while in reality it’s just a really small pond. So how do these people fool you with their shots? Take your shots from a low vantage point! This way the tarn looks much bigger and it’s easier to get that perfect reflection shot.

Want to know more about this day hike?
Also read: The 10 Best Day Hikes in New Zealand

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by BRAM & MANON ✧ Travel Couple🇳🇱 (@flipflopwanderers) on

Te Rewa Rewa Bridge – New Plymouth

Google Maps location: click here

Te Rewa Rewa Bridge is a bridge that looks like a breaking wave or a whale skeleton, we’re not sure haha. It’s a beautiful bridge but the main spot is on the other side of the bridge looking back and then seeing Mount Taranaki perfectly lined up in the background.

When to go: come around sunset as, again, the light hits Mount Taranaki perfectly in the background.

Photography tip: use a telelens and put your camera far away from the bridge and then zoom! This way Mount Taranaki will appear much bigger on the photo.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by BRAM & MANON ✧ Travel Couple🇳🇱 (@flipflopwanderers) on

Vineyards in Hawke’s Bay

Google Maps location: click here

Hawke’s Bay is famous for its many vineyards, from which some of them are very instagrammable. The two we loved the most and that are amazing for your Instagram shots are Black Barn Vineyards & Craggy Range Vineyards. 

When to go: Black Barn Vineyards is open from 10.00 am till 4.00 pm and Craggy Range Vineyard is open from 10.00 am till 6.00 pm. Come any time of the day to enjoy a wine with perfect views! For the best lighting at the Craggy Range Vineyards, come in the late afternoon as the sun sets perfectly behind Te Mata Peak.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by BRAM & MANON ✧ Travel Couple🇳🇱 (@flipflopwanderers) on

Te Mata Peak – Hawke’s Bay

Google Maps location: click here

Definitely one of the best instagrammable spots on the north island! Te Mata Peak is a 400-meter high mountain and has incredible views of the whole of Hawke’s Bay, including Ruahine, Kaweka and Maungaharuru Ranges and Cape Kidnappers. On a clear day you can even see Mount Ruapehu in Tongariro!

When to go: sunrise or sunset is definitely best as the sky will be on fire, but really, any time of the day will do as the views are just stunning!

Top tip: you can drive all the way up with your car, but there are also many hiking trails leading up and around the mountain. These are definitely worth it too!

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by BRAM & MANON ✧ Travel Couple🇳🇱 (@flipflopwanderers) on

Castlepoint Lighthouse

Google Maps location: click here

This lighthouse, perched atop a cliff overlooking the wild sea below, is an Instagrammer’s dream! It has several vantage points that showcase its surroundings, but the most beautiful shots can be taken from the photogenic boardwalk. The rugged coastline around the lighthouse is also worth some shots!

When to go: the lighthouse is most beautiful during sunrise, when the sky has amazing colors.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by BRAM & MANON ✧ Travel Couple🇳🇱 (@flipflopwanderers) on

Mount Victoria – Wellington

Google Maps location: click here

Get away from all the people and see Wellington from above! Mount Victoria provides, at 196 meters high, the most impressive views of the city and harbour. There are many beautiful vantage points to take your Instagram shots, from the side of the city to the other side where you have great views over the ocean.

When to go: the view is gorgeous at any time of the day, but the best time would be sunset. After that, wait around a little bit longer and see the whole city light up!

Photography tip: if you want to photograph the city at night, make sure to use a wide aperture (f4 or wider) to catch enough light. It’s nice to play around with a slow shutter speed to see moving cars below. If you also want to be in the shot, you might have to stand very still or use a higher ISO!

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by BRAM & MANON ✧ Travel Couple🇳🇱 (@flipflopwanderers) on

Where to Stay

Find all hotels on the north island of New Zealand here!

~

Read all our other blogs about New Zealand here!

Hopefully these best instagrammable spots of the north island will get you snapping like crazy in New Zealand! We can’t wait to see your shots, you can always tag us @flipflopwanderers in the post. Do you have any other instagrammable spots to add? Let us know in the comment below!

Check out all our other Instagrammable Spots here!

~

Pin it for later

Are you thinking of doing a trip to New Zealand, and want access to all our tips and secret photo locations? CLICK HERE!

Did you like this article? Subscribe to our newsletter for more exclusive content, travel tips, and free stuff:

You may also like

Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

DON’T MISS OUT!
Subscribe to Flip Flop Wanderers
Get free stuff, exclusive travel tips, the latest travel blogs and more!
SUBSCRIBE
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.
close-link
0
    Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop