I am incredibly lucky to have called Mount Maunganui home for a few years. In New Zealand, “The Mount” is famous for its stunning views, it’s endless white-sand beach, and it’s laid-back surf lifestyle.
As you will see, it also makes for a dream travel photography location. The mountain alone will keep your camera focused without ever running out of new angles or perspectives.
So, here are 12 of my favourite photos of Mount Maunganui:
1. Tauranga Bridge Marina
This is one of the first photos I took after moving to The Mount. It initially wasn’t an image I liked, but one I found and re-edited a while later while searching through my photo-archives.
2. The Cross
This photo of the rocks on the north side of the mountain was a happy accident that I took while playing with seascapes one night. I found this crack in the rocks, and as the water flowed in and out during the long-exposure, it created a cross shape.
3. Mount Maunganui Sunset
One of the last images I made before leaving The Mount, this was taken while exploring the base of the mountain after a beautiful, hot summer weekend.
4. Driftwood Seat
I was lucky to get a photo of this driftwood seat that somebody had made on Mount Maunganui Beach because somebody unfortunately destroyed or stole it soon after. It was a great seat for sitting and watching the stunning beach.
5. Moturiki Island
“Leisure Island” as it was known for a long time (and still is by some) got the name because it had a water park on it many years ago. Fortunately, it’s been left to return to natural bush. You can walk right out onto and around Moturiki. There’s a pretty sweet blowhole at the end that’s fun to watch when the surf picks up.
6. Mount Maunganui Nightscape
This was a photo that I took one night when I was hoping to get a shot of the Milky Way and stars over The Mount. Unfortunately, the sky didn’t come to the astrophotography party that night, but I was still pretty happy with what I walked away with.
7. Mount Maunganui Rocks
Another photo looking back on the mountain from the rocks on the north side, just off the base track. The sea was pounding the rocks pretty hard that day, but the long exposure gives the water and clouds a nice dreamy effect.
8. Crashing Waves
The waves were big and heavy on this night also. I was playing around with different seascape shutter-speeds to get different effects, and this was one of my favourites. I had to pack up pretty soon after this shot because the tide was coming in and it was getting pretty sketchy!
9. Milky Way over Mount Maunganui
I managed to get back to this spot on Moturiki Island to shoot the Milky Way not long after the attempt mentioned above. This is a number of images stitched into a panorama, and one of my first Milky Way attempts.
10. Stairway To Heaven
The walk up the summit track to the top of Mauao is a must-do for anyone living near or visiting Mount Maunganui. I highly recommend getting up early and doing it for sunrise because the view will blow you away. Hiking up only takes 20-30 minutes, but you’ll get hot, so doing it early in the day is far more pleasant.
11. Moturiki Island
This photo was another happy accident that I took while waiting to get the photo below. I was exploring the rocks on Moturiki Island while I waited for the light to improve when I turned around and composed this shot with the light behind me. Another reminder to turn around when shooting sunsets.
12. “The Mount”
This photo of Mount Maunganui is almost spiritual for me. Mauao is tapu (sacred) for Maori, and I understand why. It’s an incredible place, and it makes you stop and stare. I have this image printed large on my wall, and it never fails to make me stop what I’m doing and stare at it. Every photographer only gets to have a few images like that, and this is one of mine.
I hope you’ve enjoyed viewing Mount Maunganui through my camera lens. If you haven’t visited yet, be sure to add it to your travel bucket-list. If you have, I would love to see your photos. You can leave a link in the comments and I’ll be sure to take a look 🤙
Walking up the Mount is a pretty popular activity for locals and visitors to Mt Maunganui. I really had no idea how popular it is though! I got to this location around half an hour before sunrise and even in the dark there were loads of people on the track walking or running up to the summit.
This is the only photo of dozens that had nobody on the track. I must be overdue to hike right up to the top for sunrise again. It’s well worth setting your alarm and getting up there for sunrise if you haven’t done it before. Great way to start the day!
Beautiful Waiheke Island
Having spent most of my childhood in Auckland, I clearly remember the excitement of getting on the ferry to Waiheke Island. Although it’s only a short trip, I seem to remember it being an epic journey across oceans to the faraway island that was always so full of adventure and mystique. In my mind the ferry was a monstrous ship that I could never seem to completely explore, despite the seemingly endless hours it took to get there.
In reality Waiheke Island is only a 30 minute journey and the ferry only a very modest two-level boat that you could easily walk around in a few minutes. My imagination isn’t what it used to be. Everything is more fun when you’re a kid.
I recently had the opportunity to visit Waiheke Island with some friends and the one thing that hasn’t changed from my childhood experience was the excitement of getting on that ferry. Maybe it was the nostalgia, or the gorgeous Auckland day, or going on an adventure with new friends, or maybe because we were going to drink wine and beer in the sun. Probably all of the above.
Visiting Waiheke Island is a very popular activity for both Auckland locals and visitors. The amount of people packed onto the ferry that day was testament to what a fantastic place it is to see. There isn’t a lot on the island, but if you’re up for adventure and stunning scenery, you won’t be disappointed. One of the most popular activities to do on Waiheke, and my excuse for setting my alarm for 5.30am and driving from Mt Maunganui, is wine-tasting!
Getting around the island is pretty simple. Buses are regular and will take you to almost anywhere you need to go. Many of the wineries and vineyards are within walking distance of the main bus routes, so you can easily create your own wine-tasting itinerary and enjoy walking and exploring. Of course, there are also a number of companies offering wine tours if that’s more your style. If you prefer to be chauffeured around in an air-conditioned van you will be able to visit more vineyards in a day, and this option is great for those who aren’t up to the (often strenuous) walking, or just prefer not to arrive at a beautiful hilltop winery sweating like they’ve just run a marathon. There is also the option of renting bikes for the day, which seems like a great idea, but could make for an interested ride at the end of a day of drinking in the sun. Sun and wine are a great/dangerous combination. Don’t say you weren’t warned!
One of Waiheke’s many walking tracks
We only made it to three wineries due to opting for the walking tour. We started at the beautiful Onetangi Beach for lunch, then walked to Obsidian, then on to Stony Ridge, and finally Wild On Waiheke. Obsidian’s wine was by far my favourite, although I don’t consider myself much of a wine connoisseur, so don’t judge me. For the overall experience, though, Wild On Waiheke would be very hard to beat.
Wild is a brewery as well as a winery, in fact the only brewery on the island. Being a much bigger fan of beer than wine, I was sold immediately. Their beer was phenomenal! They offer beer and wine tasting, a restaurant, and they also have really fun activities like archery and clay-bird shooting, amongst other things, although I’m still trying to get my head around the health and safety considerations of mixing booze and firearms! Unfortunately we were running short of time so couldn’t try the food or activities, but I will definitely be heading back there very soon! We did, however, manage to fit in a round of Cards Against Humanity, which was suitably offensive and helped to clear the bar of all the other visitors! Lucky they were closing anyway 😉
We just made it onto the very full bus and spent the last few hours of sunlight drinking the day’s purchases and swimming at Oneroa Beach. I was glad to see the sun go down after a long hot day, and I managed to grab this shot of the sunset despite all the wine and beer in my system, not to mention very cleverly leaving my tripod in my car in Auckland.
Sunset over Waiheke Island
All in all it was a fantastic experience. I would do it again in a heartbeat, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Pauanui is one of those New Zealand towns that has absolutely nothing going on for most of the year. Then summer arrives, and BOOM, it’s bursting at the seams as half the population of Auckland heads to the stunning little beach. Sitting on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, Pauanui lies about half an hour north of Whangamata and only around two hours drive from Auckland, which explains why it has become a very desirable and highly sought-after holiday hotspot. It may also have something to do with the scenery. The gorgeous white sand beaches, the beautiful family-friendly Tairua Harbour, not to mention the relatively close proximity to locations like Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove.
I spent a week in Pauanui earlier this year. Turns out March is the perfect time to go. There wasn’t a soul there other than the locals, as all the visitors had returned to the city from their summer holiday, plus the weather was still warm and summery. I pretty much had the beach to myself. My day trip up to Hahei was a major highlight. Kayaking around to Cathedral Cove was something I would definitely recommend.
Of course, I also managed to capture some of the breathtaking scenery with my camera. I was hoping to take advantage of the lack of light pollution and get out for some astrophotography, but the moon was too bright. Next time maybe. There will definitely be a next time!
Deep in the South Island of New Zealand, there is a place called Fiordland. It has some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country, if not the world. It’s a visual feast of mountains, valleys, lakes, and rivers. I’ve been lucky enough travel around and see and photograph some stunning places, but few of them compare to Fiordland. In fact, it is sometimes referred to as the Eighth Wonder of The World!
You may have never heard the name, but I guarantee you’ve seen photos at some point. Landscape photography from this part of the country, especially Milford Sound, is heavily used in the promotion and marketing of New Zealand tourism. It’s been high on my list of places to visit and photograph for a long time, and recently I was lucky enough to get there. I flew into stunning Queenstown, then travelled to Te Anau, where I was based for my time there. The weather was a bit disappointing, but I got a couple of small windows to get some of the shots I was wanting.
An aerial shot of Lake Wakatipu I took while flying into Queenstown at sunrise.
Sunrise in Milford.
Sunset over Mitre Peak, Milford Sound.
Long exposure of Milford Sound during twilight.
Sunset over the yacht club jetty, Lake Te Anau.
Monkey Creek, on the road to Milford Sound.
Also, take a quick look at the trailer below for Ata Whenua – Shadowland. It’s a stunning promotional video with footage of some of Fiordland’s most beautiful scenery. Worth two minutes of your time!
It’s been far too long since I’ve taken my camera out. Life gets busy sometimes, and something’s gotta give. Unfortunately photography is often that thing. I found a spare hour this weekend so I grabbed my gear and headed down to one of my favourite locations to photograph – Moturiki Island (aka Leisure Island) here in Mount Maunganui. I grabbed this one quickly while waiting for the light to get right on the other side of the little island. You gotta set up your exposure and just keep snapping the shutter to get this cool effect of the waves washing around the rocks and sand. The hard part is choosing which you like best! Hope you like it. Don’t forget to follow or share below!