The most instagrammable spots around the South Island

February 22, 2022

Aotearoa is world famous for its stunning beauty, untouched wilderness and photo backdrop opportunities that seem to be out of the world. We have listed our top 9 spots across the South Island that are definitely make up for an Instagram-worthy adventure.

Nugget Point Lighthouse

Location: The Nuggets Road, Ahuriri Flat 9271
Accessibility: A 1.8km long, slight uphill walk will take you out to the lighthouse, offering you stunning views across the ocean. However, to snap a great shot of the Nugget Point Lighthouse itself, you can stop anywhere on the track to capture all the different angels. Besides the stunning scenery, the Nugget Point is also home for fur seals, sea lions, elephant seals and some of the world’s rarest penguins.

lighthouse overlooking the ocean

Credit: Casey Horner

Roy’s Peak

Location: Wanaka 9382

Accessibility: The Roy’s Peak Track is a steep gravel tramp, winding 8kms uphill. However, the views you will catch on your way up as well as from the lookout point will be well worth the challenge. If you are an early riser, you should climb up Roy’s Peak before dawn and watch the sun rise slowly above the mountain peaks. For more info on the track, seasonal restrictions and general updates, check out the Department of Conservation listing.

mountain peaks overlooking clouds

Credit: Sander Lenaert

Fiordland National Park, Te Anau 9600

Location: Fiordland National Park, Te Anau 9600

Yes, we might be a little biased, after all Fiordland is our home stomping ground. But that said, it is also recognised at part of the wider UNESCO World Heritage site, Te Wāhipounamu. For the most Instagram worthy experience, and the opportunity to truly discover and experience the National Park and its beauty, a scenic helicopter flight with a picnic what feels like being on top of the world.

picnic on top of mountain

Milford Sound

Location: Southland 9679

Accessibility: Milford Sound lays hidden in the depths of Fiordland. If you are departing from Te Anau, you’ll have a 240km journey return in front of you, however, the nature and beauty you will discover outside of your window will make the car ride an amazing experience on its own and time will fly by. You can also book a day-tour bus experience, just sit back and enjoy the scenery flowing by. Once you have arrived at Milford Sound, jump onto one of the many cruises, taking you through the fiords for a day or multi-day tour.

milford sound

Credit: Niklas Ohlrogg

Sutherland Falls

Location: Southland 9679

Accessibility: If you are already in the Milford Sound area, you should definitely consider stopping for the Sutherland Falls. At 580 meters, the falls are one of the tallest in Aotearoa. Starting from the Milford track, a 90-minute return walk will lead you through native bush to the stunning site.

tall waterfall on green mountain

Credit: Samuel Ferrara

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

Location: Canterbury 7999

Accessibility: Home to Aotearoa’s highest mountain and longest glacier, the Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park is absolutely stunning. Although Aoraki Mount Cook encompasses 23 peaks over 3000 metres high, it is very accessible. State Highway 80 leads to Aoraki/Mt Cook Village which is situated beside scenic Lake Pukaki and provides a comfortable base for adventures. There are plenty of short and easy walks, suitable for all fitness levels that are taking you close to the heart of the park, providing amazing scenery worth every photo you are taking of it.

wooden path through mountains

Credit: Tyler Lastovich

Lake Matheson

Location: West Coast 7886

Accessibility: Arguably one of the best mirror lakes in Aotearoa, Lake Matheson is catching the reflection of New Zealand’s highest peak. An easy walk passes over the Clearwater River suspension bridge, just a few minutes from the car park. Guiding through ancient forest, you can lap around the lake in around 90 minutes, getting the whole 360 degree experience of this calming spot.

mirrored reflection of mountain in lake

Lupin Fields at Lake Tekapo

Location: Lake Tekapo 7999

Accessibility: The lupins fields on the South Island and especially on Lake Tekapo’s shores are world famous. You won’t be able to make it across the island between mid-November to mid-January without at least encountering a couple fields of the majestic flowers. Paired with the ice blue water of Lake Tekapo and a summery blue sky, you have the most amazing backdrop and scene for any shots.

Campervan driving past flower fields and lake

Credit: Sebastien Goldberg

The blue pools

Location: Blue Pools Track, Otago 9382

Accessibility: Just after a short 3km return walk, you will reach these pools of deep, clear water nestled among mature beech and podocarp forest, flowing into the Makarora River offering a moment of tranquility. Climb over swing bridges and take a leap of faith when jumping into the deep, a picture-perfect moment.

blue pools with swing bridge

Credit: @forthebucketlist on IG

But please remember to also put your phone away from time to time and experience this amazing adventure you are on through your own eyes, not just the lens of your camera.


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