Rotorua is a go-to landscape photography location and it has a huge variety of photographic opportunities within a small area from quiet sunrises at Lake Tarawera to incredibe thermal waterfalls near Kerosene Creek and the chance to catch sun rays filtering into the Redwood Forest. Lake Tarawera also has some of the best dark skies for Milky Way photography in NZ on any clear and calm winter night.
Further afield but still within reach of Rotorua is Tarawera Falls, one of the most impressive waterfalls in the country with water pouring straight from the rocks at an impressive rate and with many riverside spots with other smaller waterfalls and crystal clear rivers, it makes an amazing day out for photography. In the opposite direction is the Whirinaki Forest with one of the most beautiful native forests I've come across in NZ, and an incredibly unique river canyon.
Travelling a short distance north from Rotorua, and Mount Maunganui is within reach, and experiencing a sunrise from the summit of Mauao is a must-do for sunrise if you can manage the short, sharp hike. One of my favourite waterfalls lies in the hills here at Kaiate Falls, and a visit to McLaren Falls during autumn is one of the best places in the North Island to capture the beautiful autumn colours.
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