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==the cj way++

The CJ way Guide to Hoon Hay Scenic Reserve


A rocky viewpoint overlooking Lyttelton harbour


10-15 minutes from parking



Best time to visit: sunrise or sunset

Shoes recommended


  • Coordinates of Hoon Hay Scenic Reserve viewpoint: -43.620919, 172.636266

  • Coordinates of parking: -43.623059, 172.633997

  • Park in the designated pull-off (room for approximately 6-7 cars), and follow the path up the hill. Within one to two minutes there will be a small trail on your right hand side with a very small sign saying 'track'. Follow this for approx. 10 minutes until you reach the rocky viewpoint.

 best time to visit? 

  • Sunrise, especially during April or September when the sun rises over the entrance to the harbour.

  • It can get windy up in the Port Hills so also keep your eye on the wind forecast and try and time your visit for a minimal wind sunrise!

 cj travel tips 

  • The track is fairly overgrown so long pants are a good idea. It can also be very windy at the viewpoint so a jacket wouldn't go amiss here!

  • Char wore jandals here, but you probably want to wear sneakers! 

  • There’s not much room at the rocky outcrop, so arrive early! Although we have visited this spot three times (sunrise and sunset) and have had it to ourselves! 

 cj photography tips 

  • Since you are shooting into the sun here, shoot multiple exposures so you are able to blend in post processing.

  • We use the shot exposed for the foreground (and hills in this case) as the base image, then use Raya Pro (paid photoshop plug-in) to bring back some highlight detail in the sky.

  • If you have a drone here, this is a great place to get it up (assuming it's not too windy).

 what we found useful to pack 

​In addition to the usuals (camera gear, suitable clothing, water and food, first aid, etc. we found the following items useful for Hoon Hay Scenic Reserve:

  • Pants/ long clothes; and

  • Jacket.

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