Brittany is a huge "Animal Crossing" fan! She has played Wild World, New Leaf, Pocket Camp, and is currently obsessed with New Horizons!
Harv's Island is one of the places you can fly to via Dodo Airlines in Animal Crossing: New Horizons (available exclusively on Nintendo Switch). Many players have never visited, or find it pointless, but there's a lot of fun to be had there, if you know what to do!
Who Is Harv and What Is Harv's Island?
Harvey (or Harv, as he is lovingly referred to as in New Horizons) is an NPC character in the Animal Crossing game series. In the earlier games, this groovy dog was primarily around to sell unique furniture from his RV, but in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Harv has a different purpose.
Harv arrives on your island after you’ve invited your third villager to live there (or your third day on the island, if you’re playing local multiplayer and new to the game), and invites you to come visit him on his own island, and hang out at his “Photopia.” It’s not made clear at first what this is or why you’d want to go there, but we’ll dive deeper into that now!
How to Get to Harv’s Island
After Harv’s first visit, you can go to the airport and select “I want to fly!” then select “Visit Harv’s Island.” The Dodos will send you on a short flight to Harv’s Island, where you’ll meet Harv outside a wooden cabin. Upon your first visit, Harv explains that inside his cabin he’s got a studio set up and various rooms you can use to take photos with.
How to Use Harv’s Island
When you enter the first room, it definitely looks a bit sketchy; upon first glance it looks like Harv has set up some sort of dodgy casting couch, but Harv’s Island and Photopia are a lot more than that!
If you wander around Harv’s cabin, you’ll find that it’s laid out much like a fully-expanded player’s home, with 4 rooms on the ground floor, an upstairs, and a basement. The main room is pre-filled with the aforementioned “casting couch” set up; some studio lights, a director’s chair, a couch, a few Rattan armchairs and an Imperial Screen. The 5 other rooms are bare, save wallpaper and flooring.
It definitely feels a bit pointless and empty at first glance, but if you look at the top left of your screen, you’ll notice you can actually select the down d-pad button and go into decorating mode just as you can in your own house.
From there, if you select the right d-pad button, you’ll have access to your inventory, which is actually your full catalogue—meaning you can drag and drop any objects you’ve ever HELD in the game.
This means you can bring out all the objects you currently have in your home or around your island, or sitting in your inventory, anything you’ve crafted, objects you might’ve already sold, things you’ve given to friends or traded away; everything you’ve ever touched and “catalogued” into the game is available to use and play with in Photopia, including colour variations!
The possibilities are really endless from this point. You can place down multiples of objects and make elaborate set-ups. You can place any wallpaper or floor you’ve ever had, and create cool backdrops and locations.
How to Invite and Manipulate Villagers on Harv’s Island
You can even invite your current villagers along for the fun and place them down to interact with you! You also invite other players on your island (if you have other people sharing the Switch/living on your island in local multiplayer; please note this isn’t a playable mode, you can simply place and decorate them like the other villagers) for a photo!
To add villagers/characters to the Island, click into the same Inventory menu and then select the icon on the far right that looks like a cat (if you scroll to the icon, it says “Residents”). From there, click the icon and you will see a roster of your current residents. Simply navigate to the character you want in the photo and select A, and then you can drag and drop them to where you want them to be.
If you own Animal Crossing Amiibos, you can also invite them to play (regardless of if they currently live on your island or not) by placing the Amiibo on the right joy stick. They’ll immediately drop into the room and you can also drag and drop them to where you’d like them to stand.
You can move characters by selecting them and holding down the A button, then dragging them to the desired area and releasing the button, or tap A to rotate them around. Remove unwanted characters by selecting them and pressing Y.
Once you have your other villagers/players in the room, you can even change their clothes or make them perform reactions!
To change clothes, select the desired character and press the X button. The game will bring you into the familiar dressing screen that you see when you change clothes on your own character. From here, you can dress your villager in any clothes in your catalogue (just like the objects, this includes everything you’ve ever held in the game, regardless of physically owning it at the current time). Just remember that villagers can’t wear things like pants, and pantsuit clothing gets changed to a cute little dress or shirt depending on the villager’s gender.
With the reactions, you just highlight the character you want and then press the ZR button. This will bring up your reactions menu and you can have your character display whichever reactions you’ve already learned. Each villager/character can do a different reaction, if you want, or you can have them all doing the same reaction, or some doing the same ones—it’s all up to you!
How to Take Photos on Harv’s Island
Once you’ve finished setting up the room the way you want, placing, dressing and setting up reactions for villagers, press the B button to finish. You can then move your character as normal using the joy sticks. If you press ZL to access the Nook Phone, you can take a photo through the normal camera app.
You’ll notice there are some new icons on the right hand side of the camera display. ZR lets you do your own reactions (as normal). The R button makes everyone look directly into the camera. The A button makes all the characters display the reaction you’ve set them up to do. Once you have everything set up the way you like, press A, and start taking photos.
You can zoom in and out, rotate or shift the camera around as normal, add filters and frames, and anything else you want to do to create the perfect Photopia photo!
Leaving Harv's Island and Clean-Up
When you’ve had enough fun on the island, simply leave the cabin and head back to the Dodo on the dock in front of the plane. He’ll take you back to your own island.
Everything you leave on Harv’s island will stay there for next time, so you don’t have to worry about cleaning it up when you’re done, or losing what you’ve built.
The downside is that when you come back, no matter how much longer after you were last there, the room will be as you left it.
Thankfully, cleaning up is a pretty easy process. You can go into decorating mode and select multiple items by holding down R and dragging the joy stick and then pressing Y to remove them. You can do the same thing with anything on the walls. It takes about 10 seconds to clean a full room and empty it out.
Alternatively, just use another empty room in the cabin and decorate it how you wish!
Harv's Island Rewards
After the first time you've visited Harv's Island and invited your villagers or Amiibos to play there, you'll get a call from Harv the following day telling you that he's made some posters which you can now order from the Nook Stop machine in Resident Services.
These character portrait posters cost 1,000 bells each, but are super cute and can be displayed around your home. It's a great way to show off your favourite villagers!
Ideas for Harv’s Island
As I’ve said earlier, the ideas for photos and storytelling are really endless with Harv’s Island; you can really let your imagination run wild here. Of course, I’d say the more items you have in your catalogue, the better, which is why it’s important to buy anything new you see Nook’s Cranny selling and trade things with friends, etc.
Even if you have a small catalogue, you can certainly come up with some cute ideas for photos in Photopia.
I’ve used Harv’s Island to create a little “Easter party”/Bunny Day greeting card with all my villagers, using all the Bunny Day items I crafted during the event.
More recently, I recreated a gym that I also made on my island and placed my villagers there for a fun work-out session.
Here Are Some Other Cute Ideas You Can Use for Harv’s Island:
- Make a fine-dining restaurant, and seat your villagers together to make it look like they’re on dates
- Recreate your bedroom and make a sleepover with your favourite villagers
- Make a cinema and have your villagers “watch” the movie
- Make a classroom and turn your villagers into students/teachers
- Take a “class” photo with yourself and all your villagers before someone moves out
- Make a backyard and put down some barbecues and other outdoor items for the perfect day out!
- A jazz bar with villagers playing instruments
- A trendy night club with someone DJ-ing and other villagers dancing to music
- A beach scene with some villagers making sandcastles or lounging on beach towels
- A doctor’s office with someone getting an exam
- A library with some villagers studying or reading books
- A retro diner where Fauna is the waitress and the other villagers are having a meal
What are some of your ideas for Harv’s Island and Photopia? Share them with me below and I’ll update with more pictures and ideas as I think of them!
© 2020 Brittany Brown
Brittany Brown (author) from Sydney, Australia on June 22, 2020:
Hi there! Check your mailbox as I believe the items are mailed to you after you return home from the island for this event :)
April on June 14, 2020:
Hi. I bought a wedding wallpaper using the heart crystal but when I return to my island I can't find the wallpaper in my pockets. What should I do?
Brittany Brown (author) from Sydney, Australia on May 28, 2020:
Sadly no!!! I really wanted this feature too. They're just generic posters of each animal.
Haleigh on May 28, 2020:
Can the photos you take be made into posters to hang inside your home or give to villagers?
Brittany Brown (author) from Sydney, Australia on May 11, 2020:
That's a great idea! I might do that and play around with my rooms in my home at Harv's Island first the next time I redecorate :)
Brittany Brown (author) from Sydney, Australia on May 11, 2020:
Thank you! It's quite fun once you play around a bit more! :) I really enjoy your ACNH guides as well :D
Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on May 11, 2020:
This is a great article! I've only been to Harv's Island once (the time when you have to go) and didn't bother with it after that. It's definitely a fun place for people who want to make creative pictures. Excellent guide!
Teddy on May 09, 2020:
Harv’s Island is also a good place to plan your house since you can place everything you’ve owned or catalogued