Be the first to see the light of 2019 in New Zealand

New Zealand is the first country in the world to see the light of the New Year.

New Zealand is the first country in the world to see the light of the New Year.

On the eastern coast of New Zealand there are some awesome spots to watch the sunrise on the first day of the New Year. 

Start the year off in the right way and be inspired by what New Zealand and Mother Nature have to offer. 

Mount Hikurangi - Gisborne, North Island

To catch the sunrise before anyone else in New Zealand and the world head to the top of Mt Hikurangi in the eastern corner of New Zealand's North Island. The maunga (mountain) is sacred to the local tribe Ngāti Porou and at the top there are beautifully carved Māori pou (pole) which represent stories about demigod Māui and his whānau. Take a sunrise tour with Maunga Hikurangi to experience Ngāti Porou culture and history first-hand.

Wainui Beach – Gisborne, North Island

Gisborne is the first city of the sun in New Zealand so it has to be the optimum spot to witness the sun pop its head up beyond the skyline. Wainui Beach, on the edge of town, will offer a great vantage point to soak up the first rays of 2019.

The Pinnacles – Coromandel, North Island

You will need to be up early to reach the summit of The Pinnacles in the Coromandel to see the sunrise. Or 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.

Tapeka Point – Russell, North Island

Russell was once the capital of New Zealand so the small town is full of history. Once the first light shines on Tapeka Point enjoy the rest of the view across the Bay of Islands from Paihia to Waitangi. 

Saint Clair Beach – Dunedin, South Island

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. There's a family-friendly new year's party in the central city at The Octagon. 

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. 

Mount Maunganui - Bay of Plenty, North Island

A pre-dawn hike to the top of Mount Maunganui might be just the way to start 2019 off with a bang. There is a reason this place is one of the most Instagrammed in New Zealand and the light at sunrise is worth the climb. Earlier, watch out for the midnight fireworks at this popular coastal holiday spot.  

New Brighton Pier – Christchurch, South Island

New Year’s Eve in the South Island’s largest city is always a good time with lots of local events including a family friendly New Year’s celebration at North Hagley Park featuring live entertainment and a midnight fireworks display. Early risers should head to New Brighton Beach to catch a magnificent glimpse of the sunrise on the first morning of 2019.