For your perfect wedding ceremony and photos
Queenstown truly has it all when it comes to special spots to tie the knot. And you don’t have to hike up a mountain for all of the best views either, of course, there are mountains galore but there are also plenty of picturesque places which will equally take your breath away, in a good way! These are a few of the best free Queenstown Elopement Locations that we absolutely adore.
Your couple portraits and wedding day photos will of course reflect how diverse the scenery is throughout the year, with each location being as varied as the next.
So you can get ahead and plan out your dream wedding shoot and wedding ceremony, see our Elopement Locations Guide to special spots around the stunning Queenstown area.
Plenty of picturesque places which will equally take your breath away, in a good way!
Moke lake – wild, untamed yet accessible by car only 20 minutes from central Queenstown. Sweeping plains and a rippled lake are edged by majestic mountains, making for surreal scenery that you can count on to fulfil the ‘dramatic look’ wedding on any given day. Moke Lake is pretty epic in any weather but beware it can be chilly in the Winter, being slightly higher up in the mountain ranges which sometimes means we can’t access it due to icy winter roads.
Features: Wild horses, a cute wooden jetty, breathtaking vantage points, rolling meadows and of course those mountains and the mirrored alpine Moke Lake.
You will be spoilt for choice, obviously. Pack a picnic and stay the afternoon for your fairytale photo shoot after a dream ceremony.
Kelvin Heights – a well-kept secret of Queenstown where you won’t find the usual crowds on the shores of the great Lake Wakatipu. For pretty weeping willows and pebbled shorelines, you can’t beat Kelvin Heights where you will find secluded bays of mirrored lake all to yourselves. Read No tourists.
The views from this area are also unspoilt and you will find the lake in all its glory, tall pine trees and that famous mountain backdrop, making for beautiful photos with a magic Queenstown vibe. Just one of the best free Queenstown elopement locations that are perfect for the most private of couples!
Features: Lakeside minus the tourists, weeping willows and dappled sunlight on water, Lake Wakatipu stretching out to the mountains, pebbled beaches, secluded bays, tall pine trees, your choice of two excellent locations to hold a ceremony.
You are also spoilt for choice with two suitable foreshore areas which make for stunning ceremony locations with different views of the beauty all around.
Arrowtown – one of the most beautiful and cinematographic areas of the Wakatipu Basin, Arrowtown wows in Autumn The colours are enough alone to make any occasion pop visually. Between mid-April to May is when the show of colour is at its best, and being only 20 minutes from Queenstown makes this a must-visit location. If you head down to the river there are spots aplenty where you can capture the backdrop of Autumn on display and enjoy the serenity of the Arrow River. Your photographer will know the infamous photography spots.
The village itself is stuck in time like a piece of history, with cute stone buildings and old-timey decor in the shops. The local Fork and Tap pub on the corner of one of the main streets heads the start of one of the most beautiful tree-lined streets to be found in the land. You would be forgiven to forget you aren’t in a Middle Earth Realm.
Features: Historic village backdrop, beautiful serene river, the explosion of colour in Autumn, tree-lined streets, an alternative to Queenstown but close enough to not be a hassle.
Lake Hayes – a small lake in the Wakatipu Basin with a backdrop of the ski field, Coronet Peak, one side is bordered by Slope Hull and the southern end of the lake, State Highway 6, making it an accessible location which is also 15 minutes from Queenstown. The northern end is the more popular and picturesque part of the lake with a large grassed area and views all the way down the lake – this lake holds the most incredible reflections of the mountain vistas surrounding it, on a calm day. A ceremony here will be made even more special by the stunning scenery and the hassle-free location means a more relaxed wedding day – minimal effort but maximal scenic goodness.
Features: Stunning lake reflections, Coronet Peak backdrop, easily accessible, plenty of parking, multiple lake-view vantage points, large grassy area for bigger ceremonies.
Wilson Bay – as you head to the stunning lakeside town of Glenorchy, you will drive along one of the most beautiful roads in the world. Wilson Bay is along that road and is a fantastic place to stop for photos, as well as there being perfect spots for smaller wedding ceremonies. With a lovely beach curving around pristine lake waters, Wilson Bay is an obvious choice for many to want to capture in their dream wedding shoot. It is only 10km from central Queenstown, with Sunshine Bay also nearby, Moke Lake and Bob’s Cove – so Wilson Bay is just one of the many jewels in the crown of this part of Queenstown. You can plan to stop here either earlier or later in the day, as it is quite a popular spot so to avoid the rush, plan to start or end here.
Features: Great spot to stop along the road to Glenorchy, but also within 10 minutes drive from Queenstown, sheltered beach, plenty of other stunning locations a short distance away,
Glenorchy – A soft place to land outside of the hustle and bustle of Queenstown, Glenorchy has stolen the hearts of many and is the gateway to one of the main locations for filming in Lord of the Rings. Its beauty is unparalleled. The drive itself, 45 minutes from Queenstown, is well worth undertaking and is known for its many viewpoints soaring above Lake Wakatipu before sweeping down to the plains of Glenorchy and the wide river mouths feeding into the Lake.
A famous red barn sits at the top of a long wooden pier, which makes for a perfect setting for either a ceremony or a photo shoot. Although be aware that many tourists also frequent this area, and you can understand why when you see it. You can search out some quieter lakeside spots nearby if you want to hold a more private ceremony. Pretty trees drape into the water all along here and the mountains bordering the other side of the lake are breathtaking, as you are much closer to the mountain ranges here than in Queenstown.
Features: World-famous drive to Glenorchy with multiple stops along the way that are photographic opportunities, a cute village with amenities if needed, whimsical wharf and famous red shed, jaw-dropping mountains that sweep upwards from Lake Wakatipu, remote enough to feel like Lord of the Rings but close enough to Queenstown to be convenient.
Skippers Canyon – is truly magnificent and off the map for a dramatic shoot and ceremony. Much to consider here so you may want to keep it to a smaller wedding! No rental cars are allowed and tourists rarely venture, with the drive-in being touted as ‘The World’s 3rd Most Dangerous Road.’ But you can hit the most amazing spot just 5 minutes into the drive, so relax – we won’t be putting you at risk! The landscape surrounding the canyon is unique, rugged and wild with rocky outcrops and snowy mountains in the distance, you will certainly capture that remote far-flung feel that NZ is famous for.
Features: One of the world’s most dangerous roads, but a stunning wedding location 5minures into the drive (whew!) dramatic landscapes, mountain range backdrops, smaller wedding location, wild and rugged.
The Remarkables – it’s all in the name, The Remarkables are just that. Truly remarkable in all that they offer if you are wanting the perfect alpine wedding ceremony and photo shoot overlooking Queenstown from dizzying heights! Even halfway up the mountain, you are presented with incredible views around every corner. There is also a secret spot that your local photographer should have up their sleeves – looking out over pristine farmland below and out across to the mountains below. Watch out for the busyness of the roads in Winter, and keep in mind that this location may be best as an after-ceremony photoshoot, due to its formidable and lengthy drive – keep it as a special journey for just the two of you to get those epic shots!
Features: Dramatic mountainscapes, snow in the winter seasons, less busy than Coronet Peak, amazing photo opportunities along the road winding up the steep mountains including a secret photo spot.
Coronet Peak – Coronet Peak plays host as one of the more popular wedding spots – with good reason. Accessing Coronet is easy from downtown Queenstown. Opposite the peak is the Remarkable Ranges, so you can enjoy both sets of peaks that surround the beauty that is the Queenstown valley spread out below.
You can feel a bit safer on Coronet Peak when it comes to the alpine winds, as it is known for being more sheltered and cell reception up there is of no concern, which is perfect for live streaming. Group Weddings are easily accommodated and you can set up much more easily than you can on most other mountain peaks, with items such as a signing table/archway etc.
Coronet Peak might be your choice if you still want to have a relatively traditional ceremony and photo shoot while being up above Queenstown on one of its most famous Peaks.
The accessibility also means it’s a good choice for those who may have trouble walking around mountainous areas to get to a wedding.
Features: Easy access but with those incredible elevated views, Queenstown and surrounds spread out below, car park, great cell reception, sheltered and large enough for group weddings.
Jacks Point – A beautiful blend of mountain vistas and lakeside views, Jack Point is regarded highly for its privacy, expansiveness and its stunning sunsets that have to be seen to be believed. If you don’t mind a short hike, this is your go-to location. Again, a tucked away secret from the tourist scene, this is a great location for multiple viewpoints for your perfect photoshoot or ceremony to take place. With the Remarkables Range towering above the wide grassy plains of Jacks Point, your atmosphere is dramatic and grand while a captivating backdrop plays host to your wedding day. Jacks Point is perfect for your luxury wedding.
You can choose to have photographs or a smaller wedding party on the stunning lakefront area, with the clearest water to be found – a fantastic golden hour opportunity as the sun sets of this side of Queenstown, with the morning also being a good time to capture shots here.
Bonus: If you are up for a slightly more challenging hike there is an incredible viewpoint on a hill overlooking Lake Wakatipu, but is best suited to those who hike regularly as its a steep uphill journey for about 20 minutes….the views you are rewarded with make the trip well worth it!
Features: A smorgasbord of vantage points with a hidden gem of a location if you are up for a hike, best spot in the area for Golden Hour light, lakefront ceremony locations, expansive mountain backdrops, no tourists.
Crown Range – a well-loved spot that winds its way over to the alpine sister town of Queenstown, Wanaka. With well-established lookouts and wowing views, the road along the range is another epic drive where almost every corner is a stunner shot. In the winter it is often blanketed in snow, surrounding the road in its icy embrace. A perfect winter wonderland as a backdrop to your special day. A great option if you are nearby in the Gibbston Valley below – a mecca for vineyard weddings or in quaint Arrowtown. This location offers you sky-high vistas without the heli price tag.
There are times when the road floats above the clouds as they snake through the valley below, and with the light just right, everything is shrouded in golden light. Incredible!
Features: Helicopter views without the helicopter, handy to vineyard country and Arrowtown, snow in winter, well-established lookouts with jaw-dropping views and plenty of space. The famous Crown Range Hotel is also along this road, closer to Wanaka than Queenstown but definitely worth remembering and perhaps planning a stop-in for a beverage and yummy cheese platter.
Got some Cash to Splash? Try Deer Park Heights!
If you want to splash some cash on a guaranteed epic wedding location and shoot for the stars, then other options such as the well-loved Deer Park Heights are available as an option.
Currently, $500 to have a photoshoot or $1000 to elope with 6 guests max, and $1500 for an intimate wedding with 20 guests max, you will get a well-rounded alpine wedding experience here.
Features: Lord of the Rings setting, perfect golden hour opportunities, alpine tarns or lakes, incredible vistas such as the closeby and captivating Remarkables range, farm animals such as donkeys, goats, and deer, plenty of room for larger groups and the famous Lake Wakatipu stretching out below you. Another great option for helicopter views without the need to get into a helicopter.
There you have it!
A roundup of the best free outdoor elopement locations throughout Queenstown and surrounds where you can hold the perfect wedding ceremony and get those stunning shots that make an alpine wedding so memorable.
We are sure you are feeling inspired to plan your ceremony and excited to get hitched in your dream outdoor setting here in the stunning Queenstown area.