New Zealand's landscape diversity, favourable weather and spectacular scenery make it a sought after vacation destination, particularly in the summer and winter months.
But if you're looking for a more relaxed time with all the positives of a peak-season getaway, we say beat the heat and ditch the snow for the crisp mornings and warm days of a New Zealand Autumn.
Officially from March to May, fall in New Zealand brings settled weather, less people and long, warm days. Wildlife is more frequently seen at this time of year, and the water is still warm enough for a dip without the summer crowds. But what is there to actually DO at this time of year? Don't worry, we've got plenty of ideas. So here’s our six of our favourite Autumnal activities to get you started.
- Go hiking. Although known for its multi day seriously scenic ‘great walks;’ New Zealand has many equally spectacular shorter hikes as well. The long warm days of Autumn make this the best time of year to explore, not to mention the burnt orange colour palate as well.
- Take photos of leaves. This one is kind of obvious, but we had to put it in of course. New Zealand is breathtaking at any time of year, but it really does come into its own during the fall when every shade of red, orange, yellow and gold colour the landscape. Any botanic garden makes for a good picture, but we recommend checking out Arrowtown and the Central Otago region for the best foliage pics.
- Take a bike ride. Whether you're after a gentle river ride or a more strenuous downhill adventure, New Zealand is decked out with a huge variety of world class cycling trails, made all the better by the cool Autumn weather. Guided cycling tours are common around the country, but its just as easy to hire a bike and go your own way. Our favourites include the Lake Wanaka river tracks, Redwoods Forest in Rotorua and cycling the bays in Auckland.
- Take a cruise. Taking a cruise is a chance to see the country from a completely different viewpoint. New Zealand has many lake, river and open water cruises - all of which offer impressive natural highlights. Do Milford Sound for waterfalls and skyscraping peaks, take a steamboat to Walter Peak Station on Lake Wakatipu, or head out to the infamous ‘Hole in the Rock’ formation in the Bay of Islands for the chance to see dolphins in the wild.
- Look at the stars. With a large amount of New Zealand being sparsely populated, the lack of light pollution makes stargazing truly sensational. The Mackenzie district, near Lake Tekapo was declared the world's first ‘international dark sky reserve’ making kiwiland one of the best places in the world to see the stars.
- Go wildlife spotting. New Zealand is home to a unique array of flora and fauna, notably the iconic Kiwi bird. Its also a great place to see penguins, seals, dolphins, whales, albatross and keas. We love visiting the little blue penguin colony Oamaru and whale watching in Kaikoura.