8 great scenic lookouts

Cape Reinga Cape Reinga Cape Reinga
Crown Range Crown Range Crown Range
Bennetts Bluff Bennetts Bluff Bennetts Bluff

NZMCD has put together a list of eight great stopping spots around the country to add to your ‘must-see’ list on your next adventure

Bennetts Bluff, Glenorchy 

This popular lookout on the road from Queenstown to Glenorchy offers one of the most spectacular views you’ll find in the region. As you drive along the Queenstown–Glenorchy Road, you’ll find a small lay-by that offers picture-postcard views in a symphony of blue.

The view looks out across Lake Wakatipu, past Pigeon Island, and up to Earnslaw Glacier—the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park—in the distance. Do be careful when you pull over, as space is a little tight.

Cape Reinga, Far North 

Located at the tip of the North Island, Cape Reinga is a place like no other. Sacred to Maori (therefore eating is not permitted), Cape Reinga offers the ultimate North Island experience where you can see two oceans come together—Tasman Sea to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east.

From the carpark, it’s a 1km walk down to the lookout, passing the iconic Cape Reinga Lighthouse along the way.

Crown Range, Queenstown/Wanaka 

Stretching between Queenstown and Wanaka, Crown Range Road is one of New Zealand’s most scenic roads and our highest main road. At its peak, it reaches an altitude of 1121 metres. The summit lookout offers incredible views across to Frankton, part of Lake Wakatipu, and Queenstown.

Omapere, Hokianga 

The tiny coastal settlement of Omapere lies between the Waipoua Forest and Opononi (another tiny settlement). As you leave Omapere, be sure to stop at the lookout point, which you’ll find just up the hill as you drive out.

The panoramic views across the Hokianga Harbour are truly magic. And if you need a bit of a leg stretch, a walking track takes you down to the small beach at the harbour entrance.

Mt John, Tekapo 

Rising 330 metres above Lake Tekapo, the 360-degree panoramic views from the top of Mt John take in the turquoise waters of the lake below, backdropped by snow-capped mountain ranges and the golden plains of the MacKenzie Country. 

Mt John is part of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve and home to the University of Canterbury Mount John Observatory where you can enjoy unbeatable views of the night sky.

Scenic Drive, Waitakere—Auckland

Aptly named, Scenic Drive takes you from Titirangi to Swanson through the heart of the Waitakere Ranges where you’ll be met with one fantastic view after another. But be sure to stop at the Auckland City Lookout where you can look down on the sprawling Auckland landscape from the peace and tranquillity of a lush forest setting. The Arataki Visitor Centre is located at 300 Scenic Drive and is a great spot to stop and learn more about the area.

Te Mata Peak, Havelock North 

Rising 399 metres above Hawke’s Bay, the summit of Te Mata Peak commands impressive 360-degree views across the plains, Hawke’s Bay, and Mahia Peninsula—even as far as Mt Ruapehu when the weather is good. The road to the peak, where you’ll find Saddle Lookout, is quite steep and windy, but the view is certainly worth it.

Knights Point, Southern West Coast 

If you’re heading along SH6 on the South Island’s West Coast, you’ll definitely want to plan a stop at Knights Point Lookout that offers jaw-dropping views of the beautiful coastline and out across the Tasman Sea. There’s plenty of parking, and a great spot to enjoy a coffee from the flask while you soak in the view.

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