WE’VE POSTED A LOT about New Zealand over the last few weeks, including 23 looks at the country’s stunning geographic diversity, 5 badass itineraries for surf, snow, and flow, and 10 experiences you can only have in New Zealand. In doing so, our editorial team has been exposed to some pretty extraordinary imagery from the island nation, which has inspired our travel imaginations as well as those of our readers.

Below, we’ve compiled a roundup of the most compelling images, along with a few dozen more to get you fired up on visiting Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud.


Sunset beach reflections

This is what day's end can look like on the west-coast beaches near Auckland, which include Piha, Te Henga, and Karekare, among others.
Photo: 무늬만사진사-Oh kim


Whananaki timelapse

An awesome nighttime timelapse captured at a beach campsite in Whananaki, on the east coast of Northland, New Zealand.
Photo: Alex Schwab


Milford Sound in sun

The most famous of Fiordland's many sounds, where the Tasman Sea cuts into the deep, glacially carved inlets in the southwest of the South Island.
Photo: paul bica


Waitomo Glowworm Caves

The points of greenish light on the cave ceiling are produced by a species of glowworm that is endemic to New Zealand and gives this well-visited attraction its name. Find it in the King Country region of the North Island.
Photo: Donnie Ray Jones


Mangawhai cottage

A vibrant late-spring view of the landscape around Mangawhai Harbour, Northland.
Photo: Sids1


Thunderhead over Lake Tekapo

A storm takes shape over the glacially fed Lake Tekapo, in the South Island's Mackenzie Basin.
Photo: f2n_downtown


Moturoa beach break

A surfer attacks this beach break at low tide near New Plymouth, in the Taranaki region of the North Island.
Photo: Dave Young


Lake Wanaka

Spring blooms on the shores of Lake Wanaka, in the Otago region, South Island.
Photo: paul bica


West Coast aerial

Here's an aerial view down the West Coast region of the South Island, with the snow-capped peaks and ridges that comprise the western extent of the Southern Alps.
Photo: Alan Lam


Tui and harakeke

An intimate look at two native New Zealand species: the tui, a bird belonging to the honeyeater family; and a stalk of harakeke, also known as New Zealand flax or hemp. Photo taken near Waikawa, in the South Island's Marlborough region.
Photo: Sid Mosdell


Rob Roy Glacier Track

A half-day round-trip hike on the Rob Roy Glacier Track, which begins in Wanaka, takes you into Mt. Aspiring National Park and accesses glaciers and epic waterfalls.
Photo: Andrea Schaffer


Ngarunui Beach

Ngarunui is the main beach in the chill surf town of Raglan, about 30 miles west of Hamilton in the Waikato region.
Photo: My Daily Sublime


Downtown Auckland

New Zealand's largest city is home to around 1.4 million people, accounting for a third of the country's population. This is Queen St., the main drag.
Photo: Kenny Louie


Elliot Bay

This small Northland Bay is a sweet little surf spot far removed from most development. Find it north of Whangarei.
Photo: Alex Schwab


Auckland coast

An overhead perspective of wave action on the west coast of greater Auckland.
Photo: nosha


Sperm whale flukes

Kaikoura, a town a little over 100 miles north of Christchurch, is one of the world's best locations to spot a sperm whale. These legends of the sea can grow to 67ft long, are the deepest diving mammal on Earth, and feed on giant squid.
Photo: Gopal Vijayaraghavan


Wharariki Beach

If you travel to the northernmost point in the South Island, you'll eventually arrive at Cape Farewell to see deserted beaches like this one.
Photo: Aaron Jacobs


Mount Taranaki from below

This 8,260ft volcano is one of the most iconic peaks in New Zealand and looks impressive from any angle, as you'll see when you scroll down.
Photo: Dave Young


Mount Taranaki from above

Flanked by lowland, the volcano is by far the most prominent terrain feature in the region that shares its name.
Photo: Phillip Capper


Mount Taranaki from its summit

And finally, here's what you'll see if you climb Taranaki. This sunrise view takes in the Sharks Tooth formation in the foreground and the distant Mount Ruapehu, just peeking above the clouds, in the background.
Photo: Dave Young



The world's only alpine parrot species, the kea is endemic to New Zealand and hangs out in or near the southern beech forests of the South Island.
Photo: Phillip Capper


Milford Sound waterfall

Lady Bowen Falls, above, is one of the only permanent waterfalls to adorn the cliffs of Milford Sound. After a rain, however, it's joined by hundreds more.
Photo: Daniel Chodusov


Moeraki Boulders

Found at Koekohe Beach in the Otago region, these boulders are the result of natural processes of concretion and erosion. Maori legend ascribes them a more interesting origin, identifying them as the beached remains of a mythical shipwreck.
Photo: ed 37 ~~


New Zealand sheep

A portrait of one of New Zealand's best-known mammals, looking out over Makara Bay from the Quartz Hill Track.
Photo: Phillip Capper


Watermelon lanterns

The Auckland Lantern Festival takes place each year on the first full moon after the Chinese New Year. In 2014, it will be celebrated February 13-16.
Photo: Kitt Foo


Maori carving

Traditional Maori carving utilizes materials such as wood, bone, shell, and stone. The Maori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua preserves and perpetuates the skill.
Photo: Neil Mackinder


Cherry blossoms

You can find cherry blossoms blooming in September in temperate regions of New Zealand. Nelson, a city on Tasman Bay, holds an annual festival.
Photo: Abaconda Management Group


Lake Hawea

Views like this, from Lake Hawea in the Otago region, give the impression that New Zealand was made for road trips.
Photo: lwtt93



Another great shot from the beaches west of Auckland. This one was taken on a cloudy day at Piha.
Photo: Alex Schwab


Otago tableau

Note from the photographer: "Taking in beautiful scenery, Lake Wakatipu, Cecil Peak (1974m), and The Remarkables, Otago, New Zealand."
Photo: Tomas Sobek



The gurnard, or kumu-kumu, is a fish common to the waters around New Zealand. This colorful specimen was caught off the Miramar wharf in Wellington.
Photo: Jojoe.photography


Fox Glacier

The glacier visible behind this barn is one of New Zealand's largest, falling for over 8 miles in Westland Tai Poutini National Park.
Photo: thinboyfatter


Fox Glacier cave

Fox Glacier is accessible via guided helicopter tour, allowing you to explore the ice and find features like this.
Photo: anoldent


Tongariro Alpine Crossing

The 6,490ft Tongariro is one of the main active volcanoes in the North Island. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is 12-mile trail that traverses it and is considered the best one-day hike in New Zealand.
Photo: Jeffrey Pang


Fur seal pup

Despite the presence of the nearby city of Dunedin, the Otago Peninsula is a good place for wildlife viewing, which is where this pup was photographed.
Photo: Dunedin NZ


Champagne Pool

Near Rotorua in the North Island, the Wai-O-Tapu geothermal area features geysers, boiling mud pools, and hot springs like the bubbling Champagne Pool shown above.
Photo: Christian Mehlführer


The Remarkables

The Remarkables range, across Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown, is home to a small skifield of the same name.
Photo: markdarb


Rabbit Island

Sitting just off the coast of the South Island in Tasman Bay, Rabbit Island is part of a recreational reserve that was established way back in 1908, thanks in part to its expansive swimming beaches.
Photo: Rosino


Milford Sound in clouds

Compare this shot to photo #3 up top and you'll get a sense for just how many moods this fiord can put on.
Photo: Adam & Tess


Sky Tower

Auckland's Sky Tower rises over 1,000 feet, which apparently makes it the "tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere." Note the lines coming off to the right of the frame, and then scroll down...
Photo: Kesara Rathnayake


Sky Tower bungy

It wouldn't be in New Zealand if you couldn't throw yourself off it. Sky Jump is the country's highest.
Photo: ed 37 ~~


Pohutu geyser

The North Island's Whakarewarewa valley is home to 7 active geysers, Pohutu being the biggest, with blasts reaching 100 feet high around 20 times per day.
Photo: Neville10


Lake Pukaki and Aoraki / Mount Cook

The glacially fed waters of Lake Pukaki, within the South Island's Mackenzie Basin, stretch north towards Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand's tallest peak.
Photo: matthew Hunt


Maori glass totem

An interesting combination of tradition and modernity, this totem is carved from colored glass and is a central feature of the Grand Hall at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre.
Photo: kiwinz


Waterfalls of Milford Sound

Another look at what happens in wet conditions along the cliffs of Milford Sound.
Photo: Bruce Tuten


Auckland green space

Auckland contains significant green space, with multiple city parks situated on dormant volcanic cones that make up the Auckland volcanic field.
Photo: Kitt Foo


Pauanui Beach

The beach town of Pauanui is situated on the Coromandel Peninsula, more or less marking the western end of the Bay of Plenty, and has served as a holiday destination for nearby Aucklanders for decades.
Photo: daspunkt


Christchurch Botanic Gardens

A close-up look at the Peacock Fountain, one of the features of the botanical gardens in Christchurch, the South Island's largest city.
Photo: Jocelyn Kinghorn


Mount Ngauruhoe

Appearing as Mt. Doom in The Lord of the Rings films, Ngauruhoe (peeking from behind the foreground crater) is part of the Tongariro volcanic complex and can be climbed on a day hike.
Photo: Neville10


Port Jackson

At the tip of the Coromandel Peninsula, looking north towards the Great and Little Barrier Islands, Port Jackson is seen here enjoying some dramatic late-afternoon light.
Photo: Alex Schwab