A New Zealand scaffolder left a Brazilian backpacker terrified after he secretly filmed her while she showered.

Richard Riley Te Heuheu, who now lives in Queensland, Australia, crept along the side of the Couple O'Days Backpackers in Surfers Paradise and put his camera through the window at 4.30am on January 16 last year.

The Taupo man then left, but returned minutes later and filmed the backpacker again.

The 24-year-old pleaded guilty in the Southport Magistrates Court this morning to making recordings in breach of privacy and trespass.

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The 20-year-old Brazilian tourist had returned home with a friend from a night out when she decided have a shower, police prosecutor Sergeant Danielle Myers told the court.

"As she was drying herself off she noticed a white mobile phone pointing in her direction," Myers said.

The woman grabbed her towel and chased after the man with a friend.

Myers said CCTV footage showed Te Heuheu creeping along the side of the backpackers with something in his hand.

She said he paused for a period of time before leaving.

Te Heuheu then returned a short time later and again stopped at the window.

"He gets disturbed and runs towards the front entrance," she said.

Myers said the CCTV footage showed Te Heuheu in a long-sleeved top and camouflage pants.

Magistrate Kerry Magee described the filming as a "gross invasion of privacy".

"Your conduct must have been alarming and frightening for her to find that in the early hours of the morning," she said.

"You were seen lurking or loitering and filming a vulnerable young 20-year-old tourist while she was showering in the privacy of a bathroom."

Magistrate Magee sentenced him to 12 months probation.

Defence lawyer Joe Wicking, of Howden Saggers Lawyers, said Te Heuheu had broken up with his long term girlfriend of seven years when he filmed the woman.

He said that at the time he was living in Surfers Paradise just around the corner from the backpackers and had just moved to Pimpama.

"From the period through December and January he was using both drugs and alcohol and in his own words making very stupid decisions," he said.

"He has now pulled his head in and also found employment."

No conviction was recorded.

- Gold Coast Bulletin