Finding The Best Golden Hour Photos In Aotearoa

Discover the beauty of New Zealand's sunrises, sunsets, wildlife, and unique photography in the Golden Hour Photo Challenge. See the 40 finalists and vote for the winners.

Madi Reid
Client Strategy Manager
August 16, 2022

The Golden Hour Photo Challenge 2022!

After 2 years and over 3,700 Wellingtonians engaging in the Golden Hour Challenge the Aro Digital team decided to take it national!

The first round of the competition this year saw over 1,000 submissions from across New Zealand! It took our team a whole week to make the very tough decision of narrowing that down to 40 finalists across 4 categories. Want to see them? We've got those gorgeous full resolution photos of the finalists below.

But before we dive into that, we'd like to take the opportunity to talk about why Aro Digital holds the Golden Hour Photo Challenge.

Yes, we do love looking at the beautiful submissions from very talented people, but it is a little more than that. You'll notice a trend among a lot of the photos below - most, if not all, are taken of nature.

Filling our taha whenua and taha wairua cups is really important for our mental and spiritual wellbeing. Especially during some of the darkest days of the year when winter blues can get people down, walking down the beach or through the bush can go a long way to reconnecting us with nature (and improve our mental wellbeing).

We hope that these photos from the very talented people around Aotearoa will help inspire people to reconnect with nature, whether it's to take their own snap or just to enjoy New Zealand.

The bonus to this - we get to make the internet a little brighter 🌞

Below we have collated the final 40 images in all their high-res glory! The categories that follow are Sunrise, Sunset, Wildlife (yes there are dogs & sunsets), and Wildcard finalists.

The 10 Finalists for the Sunrise Category

Looking for the best sunrises in New Zealand? Check out these gorgeous shots that showcase the beauty of Otago, Manawatu and everywhere in between!

Wanaka sunrise by @craigfordphotography

Christchurch sunrise by @twentysix_frames

Otago sunrise by @Photographic_stills

Wanaka sunrise by @kadensaywell

Northland sunrise by @robrodolfo_

Northland sunrise by @williambairdnz

Otago sunrise by @shellieevansphotography

Manawatu sunrise by @Timoti Pekamu

Mt Cook sunrise by @fotostrokes

Auckland sunrise by @davidprentice65

The 10 Finalists for the Sunset Category

Where are the best sunsets in New Zealand? These sunset shots have us swooning and booking the next ticket to Taranaki, the Bay of Plenty, Marlborough... actually, maybe it's time for a roadtrip?

Marlborough Region Sunset

Mt Cook sunset by @life_with_the_shearers

Taranaki Region Sunset

Auckland sunset by @aidanburridgevisuals

Taranaki sunset by @shzee_photography

Auckland sunset by @Volpigreg

Wairarapa sunset by @conner_V2.0

Wanaka sunset by @natsymonds

Bay of Plenty sunset by @dashy.dasha

The 10 Finalists for the Wildlife Category

Iconic locations for a golden hour pet photoshoot? Whether you love birds, dogs, or are a fan of livestock these sunrise and sunset photos will make you fall in love.

Otago shot by @bonnieweesheltie

Fiordland shot by @liambnz

Hawke's Bay shot by @__cam__eron__

Wellington shot by @lizzart2

Queenstown shot by @lauraholznermedia

Waikato shot by

Canterbury shot by @Nel Davison Photos

Taranaki shot by @taneaustainnz

Waikato Region

Northland Region

The 10 Finalists for the Wildcard Category

The Wildcard category is all about celebrating the unique eye of photographers and the black sheep shots. Expect beautiful lighting, original compositions, and more! 

Coromandel shot by @aj_haines

Coromandel Region

Wairarapa shot by @frankhopfler

Nelson Region

Dunedin shot by @tania_marie_x

West Coast shot by @kirstywilsonphotography

Dunedin shot by @theplasmasoldier

Christchurch shot by @living_and_loving_akaroa

Christchurch shot by @Lurch_nz

Wellington Region

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