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12 Drone Photos of New Zealand That Will Make you Want to Visit Right NOW

Just when you thought New Zealand couldn’t get any more mind-bogglingly beautiful, someone flew a drone over its best bits – capturing those wind-whipped coastlines, secret beaches and snow-capped mountains like you’ve never seen them before.

We couldn’t not share them, could we? But these bird's-eye photos should come with a wanderlust warning: one look, and you’ll be hooked. #Sorrynotsorry, and all that…

Tunnel Beach, Dunedin

To get to Tunnel Beach, you’ll have to hike along the rocky coastline and find your way through a tunnel cut into the cliff – but you’ll be richly rewarded for your efforts. Pitch your towel on the soft sand and take a dip in those wild sapphire waters: this is New Zealand at its most ruggedly beautiful.

Shotover Canyon, Queenstown

Will you go forwards, backwards, down a slide, or strapped into a plastic picnic chair? Whichever of the 75 jump styles you choose to take on the Shotover Canyon Swing, one thing’s for sure: you’ll squeal like a baby as you plummet down the 60-metre cliff face. Looks like this jumper opted for a back flip: we challenge you to do the same.

Canterbury PlainsCanterbury

As the sun rises over the Canterbury Plains, the South Island’s spectacular geography comes into focus: not a bad morning view from your hot-air balloon basket. Most flights begin at dawn, when air conditions are clear, calm and – most importantly – stable. After an hour afloat, you’ll tuck into a Champagne breakfast back on terra firma.

Lake Rotoiti, Rotorua

The best way to explore Lake Rotoiti’s secluded coves? By hiring your own boat, of course. Spend your days seeking out secret beaches, fishing for trout (aka sunbathing), or soaking in Manupirua thermal pools – which are only accessible by boat.

Clarke Glacier, Queenstown

Long runs and pristine power are the rewards for intrepid heliskiiers – and you don’t have to be a pro to give it a go. Even those with intermediate ski and snowboard skills can enjoy the high-altitude perks only accessible by helicopter – like these marshmallow peaks on Clarke Glacier, in Queenstown.

Marlborough Sounds, Marlborough

While you’re cruising the glassy waters of Marlborough Sounds, remember that you’re actually floating over vast submerged valleys – and those islands are the mountain peaks. It adds a certain mind-bending element to a day of dolphin watching and beach hopping – just the kind of geographical magic that New Zealand does so darn well.

Kaikoura, Canterbury

A drone offers a unique perspective on Kaikoura’s whale-rich waters – but you can get the same effect from a plane or helicopter tour. This small coastal town is famed for its whale-watching opportunities: local tour boats have an average 90% success rate of seeing southern rights, humpbacks, orcas and sperm whales (pictured below) year-round – so the odds are always in your favour.

Haast Blue Pools, Mount Aspiring National Park

Like most of New Zealand’s most magical spots, Haast Blue Pools require a little hard graft to reach – but don’t let that put you off. You’ll have to hike a forest trail, navigate a swing bridge, and follow a boardwalk to find these secluded pools – making it all the sweeter to jump into their cool, crystal-clear depths when you finally arrive.

Hauraki Rail Trail, Waikato

The Hauraki Rail Trail follows the route of a long-abandoned train track – and today it’s considered one of the world’s most picturesque cycling routes. This particular portion crosses the huge Karangahake Gorge, before heading into the old gold mining towns of Waihi and Te Aroha.

Stewart Island, Southland

Fewer than 500 people call Stewart Island home – which means there’s plenty of room for wild camping, bird watching, mountain climbing and beach lazing. The island’s only town, Oban (pictured), is New Zealand’s southernmost settlement. Next stop? Antarctica…

Tongariro National Park, Ruapehu

Don’t leave the North Island without completing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing – a one-day walk that will thrill even the most reluctant of hikers. You’ll tread through old lava fields, past steaming volcanic craters, and crayon-coloured lakes – with jaw-dropping views of Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Ruapehu thrown in for good measure.

White Island, Bay of Plenty

Whakaari, or White Island, is not your average holiday isle. It’s actually an active stratovolcano, complete with boiling mud pools, vivid yellow sulphurous streams, and a lake of steaming acid. Venture here on a guided tour only: they’ll supply you with a hard hat and gas mask to protect yourself from potential eruptions and poisonous fumes. Yikes.

Inspired by these incredible images? Book your New Zealand holiday with Flight Centre today, with trips from £1,599pp.

Written by Hazel Plush

Drawn to places that most people dismiss, I love digging out juicy stories in off-beat locations – whether that's poking around the furthermost corners of Europe, travelling overland in East Africa, or venturing beyond the malls and beaches of Dubai. I've travelled all over the world on assignment, but still haven't mastered the art of packing lightly. Tweet me @hazelplush

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