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Lake Opuha guide

==the cj way++

The CJ way Guide to Lake Opuha Roadside View


An awesome photo spot for a classic New Zealand road-trip photo

Located in Lake Opuha, Mackenzie District

No walk required

Easy access (gravel road but well maintained)


Best time to visit: any time, but we prefer morning!

Jandals/sandals are suitable


  • Coordinates: -44.005057, 170.881472

  • The coordinates are on the middle of road where you are presented with a great view of the lake and the mountains behind. Be careful to pull off the shoulder safely. Please also note this road is gravel and hilly – but definitely accessible by 2WD.

 best time to visit? 

  • Pretty good at any time!

 cj travel tips 

  • If you had the luxury of choosing when to visit, we would recommend coming for sunset in the winter months and sunrise in the summer months. But the morning light is probably more epic as the tops of the mountains light up first (giving them an almost pinky/red glow).

  • If you are self-contained, you can stay at the Opuha lake free camp which is only minutes away and another awesome campsite put on by the Mackenzie district. We loved it there.

  • We love getting Vinnie in our shots, and since this is an unsealed road, you can get some nice dust too.

  • If you continue further down the hill (just before the Dam), you will notice a gap in the hills (on the right side) and a small stream. We loved this view too.

 cj photography tips 

  • When we get a mix of cloud types that light up at different times, we usually use our ND filters to create a long exposure of 70-120 seconds to motion blur the clouds. Nisi has an iPhone app where you can enter the normal shutter speed and filter density and it will spit out the equivalent shutter speed with the filter. Try it out, it can create a really cool sky, especially when the clouds are moving relatively quick (which happens often in NZ!).

  • Zoom in with your lens to ensure the mountains in are prominent.

 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:

  • Walkie talkies/ two ways (when we take road shots, we use the walkie talkies to communicate and this spot had quite patchy phone service so were definitely useful!).

  • Picnic gear – the lake is a beautiful spot to sit and relax at.

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