13 Best Spots for Sunset in New Zealand

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Have you ever wondered where the sunset is the most beautiful in New Zealand? With its colorful wildflowers, snow-capped mountains, and breathtaking lakes, New Zealand offers a unique backdrop for the most gorgeous sunsets in the world.

In a country known for its beauty, you can catch jaw-dropping sunsets pretty much anywhere in New Zealand. But there are definitely some specific spots known for their sunset views. One of the best ways to end a day exploring New Zealand is to find a pretty spot to watch the sun go down.

Check out this guide to find out where you can see the sunset in New Zealand for an Insta-perfect shot or a romantic cuddle. Most of these spots are located on the South Island where you can find the majority of New Zealand’s natural gems.

When to spot the best sunsets in New Zealand

The best time to visit New Zealand is in Spring (aka. Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere). From the months of September to November, you can enjoy the best of New Zealand’s weather without the plethora of summer tourists.

This is also an amazing time for sunsets. You won’t need to stay up very late or end up hiking around 11 pm to get a good view.

sunset in New Zealand at Roys Peak and Lake Wanaka

In summer, the sun sets around 9 pm. In winter, it is earlier, around 5 pm. Click here to find out day-to-day sunset times in New Zealand.

In certain areas, it can be hard to see the sun properly due to the rain and fog that New Zealand often gets. This is one of the issues with visiting the North Island in winter when it’s often rainier or has cold morning fog.

The Best Spots to Watch Sunset in New Zealand

Waiheke Island

If you’re looking for a sunset spot that’s close to Auckland, Waiheke Island is the place to go. The ferry ride from Auckland takes around 40 minutes, and from there you can find plenty of spots to watch the sunset.

One of my favorites is Cable Bay – it’s stunning! Sip a beautiful Sauvignon Blanc at their outdoor patio as you watch the sunset over the Auckland Harbour and its plentiful vineyard.

Sunset at Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Hobbiton

The sunset in Hobbiton is beautiful, just like the Lord of the Rings movie set. The sunset here looks epic, so you can capture it with plenty of photogenic props around.

Most people take Hobbiton tours in the morning when the sun is at its brightest. While this allows for some classic Hobbit hole shots, it doesn’t capture the magical quality of the location as well as sunset tones do.

Visit in the evening and pair your trip with a dinner feast in true Hobbit fashion.

A cozy Hobbit hole in a grassy hill on a quiet day in Matamata, New Zealand.

Lake Wanaka

Wanaka is one of the most popular sunset spots in New Zealand. And it’s easy to see why – the lakes and mountains make for an unbeatable backdrop.

There are plenty of places to watch the sunset around Wanaka, but my favorite is from the top of Roys Peak. Make sure you leave enough time to hike up before the sun begins to set!

And remember a headlamp or flashlight for your descent.

Those who prefer to stay around sea level should head to the Wanaka tree to get a beautiful reflection of the sunset in the water. Wanaka is arguably one of the most beautiful spots to watch the sunset in New Zealand.

Wanaka is a world-famous spot to catch a sunset in New Zealand

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo is one of the most gorgeous places on earth. And sunset here is even more beautiful than sunrise. Yep, you heard me right!

While sunset at Lake Tekapo can be quite crowded with tourists on the beach, all of whom are anxiously awaiting the stars that the city is famous for, there are plenty of empty spots you can go to.

I recommend heading to the hot springs for a relaxing view of the sunset over the trees on Lake Tekapo. Or stay near the famous Tekapo Church and get a shot of the sunset with the lupins.

Sunset at Lake Tekapo is even more beautiful than sunrise. sunset in New Zealand

Milford Sound

If you’re looking for a sunset spot that’s a little out of the way, Milford Sound is definitely worth the trip.

The drive from Queenstown to Milford Sound is around 4 hours and gives you plenty of opportunities to see the sunset in all its glory.

You’ll need to camp overnight, as the drive back is too windy to do at night (and you’ll be exhausted!).

Named the 8th wonder of the world by Rudyard Kipling, this area is beautiful at any time of day. You’ll want to spend a full day here to see it in its true glory at sunrise, high noon, and sunset.

A little out of the way, Milford Sound is worth the trip for this gorgeous sunset view.

Sunset Point

Sunset Point is an aptly named area of Hokitika Beach in New Zealand.

Walk along the driftwood-covered beach at sunset to appreciate the beauty of the area. It’s not a popular tourist destination, so you’ll be able to appreciate the sounds of crashing waves as you watch the sunset.

With soft sand, it’s a great spot for a sunset picnic.

Lake Mahinapua

This hidden gem had literally no other people when I visited. Located between tourist destinations, most visitors never stop at Lake Mahinapua. In fact, there’s only one hostel to be found.

But Mahinapua should really be more famous. It has one of the most amazing sunsets I’ve ever seen.

On the secluded beach, you’ll be able to watch the sun slowly sink into the horizon with soft sand between your toes.

After the sun sets, the bar comes alive with parties for the few backpackers in attendance.

sunset in New Zealand

Dunedin

If you want to watch the sunset in a city, Dunedin is definitely the place to go. With its steep hills and rows of Victorian houses, it’s a photographer’s dream.

The Otago Peninsula has some of the best spots to watch the sunset in Dunedin, with a view of both the harbour and the ocean.

Or head up one of the city’s many hills to watch the sunset over the entire town, including the historic buildings.

A unique way to see the sunset is to visit the Royal Albatross Centre, where you can view wild penguins in the evening. You’ll watch the sunset, then head to the beach to see the smallest penguins in the world return home after a long day of fishing.

Sunset in New Zealand from the hilltops of Dunedin.

Mount Eden

Easily accessible from downtown Auckland, Mount Eden is a dormant volcano that offers stunning views of the city and its surroundings.

At sunset, the city’s skyline comes to life with colors as the sun slowly sets.

If you’re looking for a romantic spot, head to the top of Mount Eden to watch the sunset with your love. But be prepared to share the view!

It’s an easy climb that doesn’t take very long. If you take a city bus from the Central Business District, you can easily get to the top of Mount Eden without breaking a sweat (which is perfect for flowy dress shots for your Instagram).

The bright and beautiful sunset from Mount Eden in Auckland.

Viaduct Harbour

If you want to watch the sunset with a view of the city skyline, Viaduct Harbour is definitely the place to be.

With plenty of restaurants and bars, you’ll be able to find a spot to enjoy the sunset while sipping on your favorite drink. I recommend having some New Zealand oysters or mussels with a glass of local wine to complete your romantic evening.

Or take a walk along the pier to get a different perspective with the plethora of sailboats in your shot as you gaze back at the Skytower in the Central Business District.

Moeraki boulders

The Moeraki Boulders in New Zealand are among the most intriguing geological wonders in New Zealand. Located on South Island’s Koekohe Beach, the Moeraki Boulders are a short drive from Katiki Point, where you can watch penguins roam in the wild.

Moeraki Boulders are well worth the detour if only to catch a truly epic sunset from the beach.

The Moeraki Boulders in New Zealand are among the most intriguing geological wonders in New Zealand.

Lake Wakatipu

Located on the South Island of New Zealand, Lake Wakatipu has beautiful mountain scenery, deep clear waters, and a pristine environment. It’s the perfect place to see the sunset.

Pilot Bay

Pilot Bay is situated nearby to Mount Maunganui, and close to Cutter Channel. In the evening it’s a wonderful place to grab some fish and chips and enjoy the sunset!

Sunset over Pilot Bay in New Zealand.

So there you have it, the 13 most beautiful spots for sunset in New Zealand…

If you’re looking for sunset spots in New Zealand, there are plenty of places to find the perfect view. The sunset is a beautiful natural phenomenon that we all enjoy watching and photographing. So if you want to experience it first hand or take some great photos with an amazing backdrop, these sunset locations will not disappoint!

About the author

Nina is a solo travel expert. She discovered her love for solo travel when she moved to Italy at 16. Since then, she has lived on 3 continents, visited 29 countries, and become a digital nomad.

NINA out and about

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