Posted by Bella Vista on
For any one heading on holiday or taking a journey a sunrise or sunset can be an iconic part of your experience. Some may argue that it is an essential element to any great trip and we can assure you that when travelling to New Zealand you will have a great time.
Watching dawn break and the sun follow shortly after is always memorable, particularly if you have got up early to see it. Finding the perfect spot in the evening to share and enjoy with friends and family as you watch the sun go down can also be very special. If you record the occasion with a photo there is no doubt it will take pride of place in both your photo album and memory. Recollections of spectacular colours dance together as sounds all blur into an occasion of happiness and wonderful memories.
Being an island nation and surrounded by oceans stretching to infinity both east and west, New Zealand is uniquely well-placed for this experience. The Pacific Ocean gives the days first light to New Zealand along the east coast whilst the Tasman Sea swallows the sun in the west at the end of the day. Being a relatively small nation, it is not difficult to traverse between coastlines and capture both the sun rising and setting across the sea in the same day. Not that we would necessarily advise that, however, because it would create an unnecessary rush between coasts.
Any well-planned itinerary should definitely allow time and so it may be that you choose a different option to capture the sunset or sunrise and that is to get amongst the mountains. With the spine of New Zealand carried by the Southern Alps in the South Island and the Volcanic Plateau in the centre of the North Island, there are lots of options here to obtain your perfect first light or sundowners experience.
With 27 locations through the country, Bella Vista has motels which are well-placed to help you achieve your ‘sun time’ goal. Have a read of the following suggestions and plan your travels accordingly.
The most obvious place to start is Gisborne, commonly known as the first city to see the rising sun – every day! Gisborne Bella Vista is well placed to access not only the heart of the city by car or by foot, but it is a great location to head a little bit further out of town and explore more of the East Cape. But where is the best place to see the sunrise we hear you ask? Wainui Beach often takes the headlines but one recommendation is to head further up to Makorori Beach, a lovely locals beach north on State Highway 35 with great views of the coast from the lookout. It is popular with surfers but also those wanting to see the start of the day. Sunsets aren’t too shabby here either as the light of the day disappears behind you creating a wonderful warm glow. If you want something closer to town, Kaiti Hill is a look-out point which you can reach by walking, biking or by car. With views out to sea and right across Gisborne, you’ll be well set to see the new dawn. Gisborne Bella Vista will be more than happy to help you with the local knowledge that you need, including heading further around the East Cape where there are some other terrific sunrise spots including East Cape lighthouse and Anaura Bay.
Wellington is another great North Island destination to watch the sunrise. An early start from the Wellington Bella Vista to head up Mount Victoria that stands closely behind your Wellington accommodation will bring brilliant rewards. As the sun eases up behind the hazy shadowy outlines of distant mountains, you’ll watch the city catch the light and come to life in the dawn sunlight. With views of the city, the harbour, planes and ferries arriving and leaving, you really get a sense of the day beginning. Mount Victoria can be a challenging walk but the team at your Bella Vista motel will know the best way to go and critically the best time to ensure you make the most of this peaceful time of day.
For terrific sunsets in the North Island it might sound too obvious but we would point you to New Plymouth, New Zealand’s most westerly city. With our Bella Vista accommodation set right in the heart of town, you have the most perfect location to enjoy the highlights of the region and you’re also not too far from a popular sunset spot. Back Beach overlooks Sugar Loaf Marine Park and is a short 10 minute drive from your New Plymouth accommodation. Taking in the sunset at this spot seems to be the highlight for many visitors and comes highly recommended. Take your time to end the day and enjoy a wander or just
Heading to the South Island, we’re going to take you straight to Bella Vista Hokitika accommodation, a motel set in the most delightful West Coast town that happens to be directly adjacent to the beach. Not only that, but Hokitika has a beach called Sunset Point which is a 3 minute drive from the hotel or a 15 minute walk. As the name suggests, it is a great place to watch the sunset and a quick look at Trip Advisor confirms this with a 5 out of 5 star rating.
“This is the place to watch the sunset each day as the sun kisses the ocean and disappears into the water. Plenty of photo opportunities with drift wood sign spelling out the towns name.”
Photos from previous travellers instantly draw you to want to visit the town so don’t delay. If you hadn’t heard of Hokitika previously be sure to add it to your itinerary and book for two nights, not just one. Our Hokitika motel has handy maps to guide you the right way and will also be able to tell you what time you need to be there by to enjoy the most of the sun descending into the sea.
Set in the heart of the mountains in the southern region of New Zealand, Queenstown may be completely landlocked but here you can view a wonderful sunset, sunrise and see the southern nights stars in between. For the early risers, a trip in the car up the public road to Coronet Peak will position you perfectly to watch the first light of the day cast itself across the Wakatipu basin. As the sun comes up in the distant west, you will see bands of light rising behind mountains and the reflections of early sunlight casting shadows which create wonderful effects on the valley floor far beneath you. It is a magical time of day and the beautiful views keep growing as the new daylight chases down the Remarkables and onto Lake Wakitipu. Queenstown Bella Vista will advise you on the best timings to head out and the which route to take to capture these views. The team at the centrally located Queenstown accommodation motel will also point you toward Queenstown lakefront in time for a perfect sundowners. The beach at Queenstown Bay can become very busy during the evening on a warm sunny day but it is very much worth finding a spot after purchasing some fish & chips and sit there as the sun sets behind Ben Lomond. Some would say this is the best show in town but wait, have you looked at the stars?
Franz Josef Glacier & Fox Glacier
It might sound strange, but another perfect sunrise spot is actually on the West Coast near Fox Glacier and within a short drive from Franz Josef Glacier. Lake Matheson takes pride of place as the sun rises above the snow-capped mountains perfectly reflect in the still lake waters. It's a special spot and close to both Bella Vista Franz Josef Glacier accommodation and Bella Vista Fox Glacier motel.
Dunedin, Mosgiel & Christchurch
Two other favourite spots we have in the South Island for sunsets are Dunedin’s St Clair beach and New Brighton Pier in Christchurch. Luckily both have Bella Vista’s nearby, Bella Vista offers a great Mosgiel accommodation option just 10 minutes’ drive from Dunedin or you can stay at the Dunedin Bella Vista itself. Bella Vista Christchurch apartments and motel is located on Bealey Avenue, a 15 minute drive from New Brighton. If you happen to be spending your last night in New Zealand before flying home from Christchurch Airport, take time to head to the pier in the late afternoon and enjoy a memorable end to your holiday.
We’d love to hear from you where you have enjoyed your most memorable New Zealand sunrise or sunset so feel free to leave your comments on the Bella Vista Facebook page or share your photo on Instagram with the tag #bellavistanz