Best places to watch the sun rise

You could be one of the first people in the world to see the sunrise by visiting one of these destinations.

Wainui Beach – Gisborne

Officially the first city in New Zealand to see the sun, Gisborne and Wainui Beach offers a great vantage point to soak up the first rays.

Gisborne, Eastland

By Tourism Eastland

Feel revitalized after an eventful NYE by watching the sunrise at Wainui.

Pinnacles – Coromandel

If you're not afraid of an early morning hike by torchlight, then set off to reach the summit of the Pinnacles for sunrise. Alternatively you could spend New Year’s Eve up there and stay in a Department of Conservation hut. No matter how you do it, it will be worth it.

New Zealand
Sunrise from the Pinnacles, New Zealand

By Rachel Stewart

Sunrise from the Pinnacles

Tapeka Point – Russell

Russell is the perfect base for exploring the Bay of Islands. Once the first light shines on nearby Tapeka Point, enjoy the rest of the view across the Bay of Islands from Paihia to Waitangi.

Northland & Bay of Islands
Sunrise - Tapeka Point, Northland & Bay of Islands


The stunning Tapeka Point at sunrise. Nothing beats the movement of the sea in morning light.

Saint Clair Beach – Dunedin

Find a spot on the waterfront at Saint Clair Beach in Dunedin and see if the New Year brings good surf on the first day. No big deal if there is no swell, the sunrise is worth it anyway.

Sunrise in Dunedin, Dunedin

By Dunedin Tourism

Enjoy fiery sunrises on the coast of Dunedin and watch as surfers see the new year in through the eye of a barrel.

Oban – Stewart Island

Oban is the only settlement on Stewart Island with a population of almost 400 people. On New Year’s Eve the locals block off the main street to enjoy a live band on the deck of the South Sea Hotel and a bonfire on the beach. After a night of partying with the locals, relax on the quiet beach of Halfmoon Bay and watch the sun come up over one of New Zealand’s most southern points.

Stewart Island - Rakiura
Halfmoon Bay, Stewart Island - Rakiura

By Venture Southland

Watch the New Year's sun rise in Oban - the Southern-most settlement of New Zealand

Mount Maunganui - Bay of Plenty

A pre-dawn hike to the top of Mount Maunganui might be just the way to start the year off with a bang. There is a reason this place is one of the most Instagrammed in New Zealand and the sunrise is probably it.

Bay of Plenty
Sunrise on Mt Maunganui, Bay of Plenty

By Bay of Plenty Tourism

A hike to the top of Mt Maunganui is a no-brainer. With stunning views as far north as the Coromandel and south towards Eastland, this is an #NZMUSTDO

New Brighton Pier – Christchurch, South Island

New Year’s Eve in the South Island’s largest city is always a great time. Early risers should head to New Brighton Beach to catch a magnificent glimpse of the sunrise on the first morning.

Christchurch - Canterbury
Sunrise at New Brighton Beach, Christchurch - Canterbury

By Len Marcelo Jingco

The spectacular New Brighton Pier. Surf alongside it to see in the new year, or have an early coffee and sit at the end in the warming sun.

See #NZMustDo for more travel inspiration

You may also like

Photography →

Animals posing for photos in New Zealand →

7 Epic must-see Instagram spots in New Zealand →