There are some pretty gorgeous places around the world that you should definitely visit at least once in a lifetime, and most of them are probably in New Zealand. Yes, this is truly a magical place, a country filled with natural wonders, beautiful cities like Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, and some of the best stargazing spots on the global map. As you might have guessed, New Zealand has some of the most memorable sunset spots in the world as well, simply because of the breathtaking and truly enthralling natural and urban sceneries that create the perfect backdrop for an Insta-worthy sunset pic.
Some of these spots are located in cities, but unsurprisingly, the majority of them are scattered across the NZ map, which means that you'll be embarking on a grand adventure. You might even decide to go on a multi-day hike while you're there, who knows. Alright, let's dive right into the top sunset spots in New Zealand that are bound to take your breath away.
Best Places to Photograph NZ Sunsets
Punakaiki in Paparoa National Park
Let's start our list off with a faraway destination situated on the western fringe of NZ's South Island. Punakaiki sits comfortably on the shores of the island, as a part of the expansive Paparoa National Park, which you will definitely want to explore for a few days while you're in the region. This is a small community where nature lovers and inquisitive travellers go to relax and unwind, but also enjoy the breathtaking vistas from Dolomite Point just south of Punakaiki village.
As you might have guessed, this place is a bit off the beaten track, but it is very well connected to the rest of the island – after all, State Highway passes right through, so you should have no problem reaching this area. If you don't want to drive up the coastal highway, you can also take one of many nature roads through the mountains and the countryside, but beware, you are going to spend a lot of time driving through the neighbouring regions.
Lake Tekapo in the South Island
One of the more popular regions and definitely one of the best places to visit in the South Island is Lake Tekapo, a magnificent natural reserve surrounded by towering mountains. The crowning jewel of Lake Tekapo town is, of course, the church of the Good Shepherd where travellers and backpackers from all over the world come to snap some of the more beautiful photos of the skies and the surrounding natural beauties. Incidentally, this summit is also one of the best places to see a magnificent New Zealand sunset.
You can also see an amazing sunrise here, but hey, who wants to get up at 5am for that? You can also rent a paddleboat and enjoy the sunset from the lake itself as it slowly descents behind the Mount Cook and its magnanimous peaks.
Auckland and its gorgeous surroundings
Not all sunset spots in New Zealand are in the countryside, you know, and in fact, some of the best views can be found in those thriving cities like Wellington and especially Auckland. Situated in the north of NZ's North Island, Auckland is a bustling city with plenty to see and do, which is why you should definitely have a good New Zealand Travel Guide at your side in order to explore everything that it has to offer. What’s more, it's best that you rent a car for this one, because you will want to venture into Auckland's surroundings as well.
The best spot in the city can be found at, of course, the sky tower at the top floor – the observation deck. This will provide you with a magnificent view of the entire city, and show you just how mesmerizing a city sunset can be when the sun shines its faint gleam onto this beautiful city. The following afternoon, be sure to take your car to Piha Beach, or even better, the Manukau Heads Lighthouse west of the city.
Sunset Point at Hokitika in the South Island
Yes, some of the best sunset spots might be on the lakes and even in the cities, but there is something truly mesmerizing about South Island's west coast that never fails to dazzle the senses with its natural beauty. To the south of Punakaiki, some 85 kilometres, you will find Hokitika, a small town that leans on the ocean and the Hokitika River. Here, at the point where the river meets the vast ocean, you will find Sunset Point, and observation point where you will feel like you're standing at the edge of the world, staring at a sunset that seems like it's going to last forever.
Milford Sound and its roaring landscapes
To finish off our list, we'll be going even further south to Milford Sound, an extremely popular region among nature lovers and backpackers from around the world. This remote fjord is truly a sight to behold as you make your way to the Milford Sound lookout through rolling hills and vast landscapes. On the lookout, you will not only have a chance to revel in the beauty of the scenery around you, but you will also see one of the best sunsets in your life as the sun gently caresses the towering peaks.
There are many wonderful spots around the world where you can see a beautiful sunset, and it's safe to say that some of them, if not the majority of them, are right here in New Zealand. Now that you know where the best sunsets are, why not organize a New Zealand adventure of a lifetime by connecting these destinations into one big road trip?
Author: Sophia Smith is a freelance graphic designer by day and a lifestyle and health blogger by night. She is very passionate about traveling, yoga, wellness rituals, natural skincare, and living in balance with nature. She loves sharing meaningful content that educates and inspires people. Sophia has covered topics ranging from organic beauty products and sustainability to conscious traveling. She has contributed to a number of publications including Sivana Spirit, Mother Earth Living, Life Beyond Numbers, Carousel, Harness Magazine, Cause Artist, Naughty Nutrition, Your Zen Mama, Bliss Therapy, Yoga Trade and many others.