Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city, with a population over 1.5 million, and it’s probably not the first place that comes to mind when you think about photography locations in New Zealand. While it can’t compete with some of the spectacular scenery in other parts of the country, it’s still got some great locations for landscape photography. Here are a few of my favourite places.
Muriwai beach is on the west coast of Auckland, about a 45 min drive from the city, and has a dramatic coastline with lots of photo possibilities. The most popular time to visit is between August and March, when you can see the famous gannet colony, but it’s beautiful place all year round. Being west-facing, it’s primarily a sunset location.
Also on Auckland’s west coast is Piha, an iconic surf beach and very popular with locals, especially in summer. Lion Rock is a natural formation dividing North and South Piha beaches. It’s an eroded 16-million-year-old volcanic neck, getting its name because it looks like a lying male lion from certain angles. You can take photos on the beach itself or go up one of the walking tracks and get some shots from above.
3. Milford Beach
Milford beach is on Auckland’s North Shore and offers great views of Rangitoto Island. In fact, the whole coastline on the North Shore is great for photography so there is plenty to explore in the area. These beaches are lot calmer than the ones on the west coast so aren’t quite as rugged or dramatic but they still make great locations for sunrise shots.
4. Mount Eden
Mount Eden is one of Auckland’s 48 volcanic cones and the highest natural point in the city, offering great views of the CBD and surrounding areas. Taking photos here can be a challenge as it’s not always easy to find an interesting composition, and the fact that it’s a very popular place makes it difficult to avoid getting people in your shot. I find the best time to take photos is around sunrise as there are fewer people around.
5. Westhaven Marina
Westhaven Marina is home to over 2000 boats, making it one of the biggest marinas in the world, and the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s located right in the heart of the city and offers views of the harbour bridge as well as the CBD. On calm days you can get some beautiful reflections here.
6. Birkenhead Wharf
I’ve chosen Birkenhead Wharf as my final location, but really there are several spots on the North Shore that offer similar views. Looking back towards the harbour bridge and city, you can get some really nice shots at night, especially when it’s calm and the bridge is lit up for a special occasion.