Adventure elopements are so much fun, but one of the main reasons I love them is the chance to explore places not normally thought of as the ideal elopement spot. Sure, people mention the classics – Paris, Rome, London – but there’s so much world out there ready to blow your mind with beauty and romance. And if you ask me, one of the best spots for adventure is New Zealand.
There are so many things to highlight, from the richness of the Māori culture, to the rolling hills that hide hobbit holes, to the fervor of rugby fans… Of course, what I’m going to talk about is the question in the back of your head: is New Zealand a good place to elope?
Trust me: as an elopement photographer New Zealand is a place where you can’t go wrong – so let’s talk about all the things right about eloping in New Zealand.
How Do I Plan An Adventure Elopement In New Zealand?
With so many places to wander, we’re going to spend a lot of our time outdoors finding the best photo spots in New Zealand, which means the weather is going to be a big factor. Or at least it would be normally; but that’s one of the great things about NZ – whether it’s the middle of December or the end of July, the weather is usually great.
At least, it is if we choose the North Island for our NZ elopement adventure. That’s right, plot twist! New Zealand is actually two locations, North and South Island, and the two islands couldn’t be more different. North Island can be a subtropical paradise in summer, but the South Island is more of an alpine climate. Mountaintops are constantly covered in snow, and the lush vegetation of the north becomes a dense forest in the south. It really lets us play with the settings and backgrounds of your photos, no matter what time of year.
Speaking of time of year: NZ runs on what I lovingly refer to as flip-flop time. The winter months are between June and August and summer is between December and February, so it definitely gives us a lot to think about when it comes to the best time to elope in New Zealand.
From time to place, let’s break down the North and South Island of NZ and see which one fits you.
North Island – Subtropical Paradise
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Located on the North Island, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is famous for red craters carved into the mountains, emerald lakes that fill the craters, and a none-too-easy trek. In fact, a good portion of the beautiful spots in New Zealand take a little extra walking to get to – but it’s absolutely worth it. One look at these awe-inspiring landscapes will take away any doubt. Just make sure to pack your heels AND your hiking boots.
The black sands of Piha Beach give the shore a brooding beauty that could only be created by nature – or in this case, a force of nature. The black sands are the eroded remains of volcanic rock from the nearby Taupo volcanic zone. When you take the black sands and moody skyline and add the gigantic, somewhat ominous rock formations not far from the shoreline, the setting it creates is beyond gorgeous, and would make a great spot for any elopement adventure.
Honorable Mention: Hobbiton
I can’t help it: even though I normally don’t focus on specific themes, this one was too good to pass up. The North Island of NZ is also home to Middle Earth, the fictional town from the J.R.R Tolkien series The Lord of the Rings come to life, as the franchise was filmed here. I’m not saying it’s a must-see – but as Gollum would say, it’s pretty precioussss.
South Island – Alpine Wonderland
Located in the middle of a mountain range, the aquamarine waters of Lake Tekapo are the perfect reflective pool to capture the landscape behind you as we take your elopement photos. Remember those mountains I mentioned that had snow all year round? Well. This is the spot. The mountain range has a variety of tracks and trails for all skillsets so we can find the one that fits you best – BUT if we go a little higher up, and get the angle just right, we can snap a picture with the lake, Mount Cook behind it, and the reflection of both shimmering back to us.
The Devil’s Punchbowl Waterfall
I know, I know. TLC told us to not go chasing waterfalls, but in this case, I’m throwing the rules out. This waterfall on the South Island of New Zealand is definitely worth the chase. Surrounded by dense, dark forests, this crystal-clear waterfall looks so perfect it seems like it was made in a studio. On top of being amazing, though, this waterfall has some incredibly easy access to both the very top and very bottom of the waterfall, so we can play with angles, water splashes, and views as much as we want. Plus, it’s called the Devil’s Punchbowl – with a name like that, how can we not check it out?!
From hidey-hole hobbit habitats to chasing waterfalls, New Zealand elopement photography has a little bit of everything, and I’m ready to go explore it with you – because trust me, everything I’ve listed here is just the tip of the iceberg. (Or I suppose, in this case, volcano.)
Let’s make your elopement adventure dreams come true. Contact me and we can get started.
Featured image by Tobias Keller on Unsplash