Photography in Queenstown – a local’s guide to the best photography spots in Queenstown!
We moved to Queenstown in July 2018. I was lucky enough to transfer here with my job, we were previously living in the sunny Bay of Islands on the North Island, but alas a change was due and now we’re here among the snow-capped mountains of the South Island.
We are incredibly lucky to live in one of the most beautiful towns in the world. But as pretty as it is, Queenstown is not without its problems. As with all resort towns long-term accommodation is a nightmare to find. We got lucky with a cute two bedroom place just outside of town, but the process was stressful – we ended up living in a cheap hotel for two weeks while we waited for our apartment to become available. Anyway, the pros and cons of living in Queenstown is a story for another day.
11 of the Best Photography Spots in Queenstown
So, here we go our guide to the best photography spots in Queenstown including 27 of our prettiest pictures. You can bet it will convince you to visit. P.S if you have more time I urge you to explore more of this gorgeous region on an epic South Island Road Trip.
- Bob’s Cove
- Skyline Gondola in Queenstown
- Moke Lake
- Doubtful Sounds
- Arthurs Point
- Sunshine Bay Walking Track
- Helicopter flight to Milford Sound
- Cardrona Hotel
If you plan on visiting Queenstown for a vacation only then you HAVE to check out my guide to 24 hours in Queenstown
1. Bob’s Cove
15 minute drive from Queenstown on the Glenorchy road is Bob’s Cove. One of my favorite spots in the Queenstown area. You can chose to go for a short and easy walk around the lake here, or if you’re feeling more active hike up the steep hill to Picnic Point. Here, at Picnic Point is where the best views are.
Approximately 40 minutes drive from Queenstown is the cute and extremely photogenic town of Glenorchy. The drive here in itself is a sight for sore eyes, with the drive consistently named as one of the most photogenic in the world by media outlets. Whilst in Glenorchy be sure to take a photo outside the bright red boat shed. There are also a few cafes here to get your caffeine fix, if you want to try a yummy kiwi pie – then, Mrs Woolies General Store is your place.
This Lord of the Rings guided tour includes stops at many sights in Glenorchy and departs from Queenstown CBD.
Additional tip | If you have a 4WD vehicle drive further afield into Paradise for truly stunning South Island scenery.
3. Skyline Gondola in Queenstown
From Queenstown you can hop on the Skyline gondola for approximately $79 which includes some luge rides. Our top photography tip for the Skyline gondola is to walk up to the take-off point for Paragliding – just follow the signs for NZone paragliding. You can grab a coffee or some food from the restaurant on-site at Skyline, sit on the balcony for great views of Queenstown.
Fernhill is a neighborhood just outside the town of Queenstown. Put simply, it’s the very steep hill at the edge of the lake – about a 20 minute walk from town. The best views here can be seen on the walk from the Heritage hotel into town via the walking track. Sunset is pretty spectacular from this spot too.
5. Moke Lake
Moke Lake is a 20 minute drive from Queenstown on the Glenorchy road, just take the turn off called Moke Lake Road. The scenery here is very Lord of the Ring’s, in fact Moke Lake is a very popular filming location for many TV series and movies.You can walk around Moke Lake on the loop track which takes approximately 90 minutes.
6. Doubtful Sounds
Doubtful Sounds is a full-day trip from Queenstown, it’s the less-visited sister of Milford Sound. But in my opinion Doubtful Sound is even more spectacular, not only is it less-crowded with just two boats on the water at any one time it is also much larger. You can book a day trip to Doubtful Sound through many of the tourist shops in Queenstown or online. If you do plan on self-driving to Doubtful Sound, we highly recommend spending the night in the nearby towns of Te Anau or Manapouri.
One of the best tours you can book in Milford is this glass-bottomed luxury catamaran that will surely get you the best photos of this stunning natural wonder!
7. Arthurs Point
Arthurs Point is a suburb of Queenstown about a 10 minute drive from town. The best views here can be seen from the famous Onsen Hot Pools (book in advance!) or the Nugget Point Hotel. FYI – all these photos below were taken from our balcony at Nugget Point Hotel.
8. Sunshine Bay to Queenstown Walk
You can start the Sunshine Bay walk from Queenstown at One-Mile Carpark, the return journey will take you approximately 2 hours in total. Alternatively, you can drive to Sunshine Bay beach about a 10 minute drive from town and just walk some of the path before returning to your car. The best photo spot here is from the jetty at Sunshine Bay beach.
The commuter town of Cromwell is a 45 minute drive from Queenstown, it is a huge fruit-growing and grape-growing region. There are also a selection of cafes and restaurants in Cromwell if you fancy stopping here for lunch or dinner. The best views in Cromwell can be seen from the jetty in the old town.
10. Up in the air – a helicopter ride to Milford Sounds
The ultimate bucket list item whilst in Queenstown is a helicopter ride to the famous Milford Sound. This trip will vary in price depending on the company you choose, if you have a little more money in your pocket try to book a trip that includes a landing on a glacier.
This helicopter tour includes an alpine landing and is one of the most luxurious helicopter tours in the area!
11. The Cardrona Hotel
The Cardrona Hotel is one of the oldest bars in New Zealand and is located on the road to Wanaka, about a 45 minute drive from Queenstown. Be sure to stop in for food or a beer, especially on a sunny day as the Cardrona Hotel has a huge beer garden.
Where to stay in Queenstown
Glebe Apartments – centrally located (next to Queenstown Gardens in the CBD) these stylish apartments are a great option. You can choose from Studio, One; Two or Three bedroom apartments.
Cranbury Court Apartments – are again centrally located on Glebe Road, just a 5-minute walk from the CBD. FreshChoice supermarket is also close by. You can chose from One, Two or Three bedroom apartments.
Apartments at Spinnaker Bay – luxurious apartments with great lake views, these apartments are located on Frankton Road. You can walk the Frankton Track into the CBD – taking about 25 minutes. The apartments here are very stylish – choose from One, Two or Three bedroom apartments.
The Whistler Apartments – also located on Gorge Road, these apartments are a very popular choice in Queenstown. Just a 5-minute walk from the center of Queenstown. There are two supermarkets very close by – Raeward Fresh and Freshchoice. Choose from One or Two bedroom apartments.
The best photography spots in Queenstown
Phew guys, and that’s a wrap on the best photography spots in Queenstown. Hopefully these photos have captured your imagination enough to make you want to visit Queenstown and take heaps of photos.
We love it here, we really do – there’s so much to do and see. As is the case in the rest of New Zealand it is expensive, but most of these photo’s were taken in places that are free to enjoy.
Of course, if you have any questions feel free to ask – we’ve been living in Queenstown for a year and consider ourselves ‘kinda experts’. And last but not least – please tell me, where was your favourite spot in Queenstown from this list?!
Why not read | A locals guide to Queenstown
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