Blog view

Top eight things to do in a New Zealand Autumn

New Zealand's landscape diversity, favourable weather and spectacular scenery make it a sought after vacation destination, particularly in the autumn months.

If you're looking for a relaxing holiday, away from the crowds; then the gentle warmth, crisp mornings and stunning colours of New Zealand's Autumn is just the ticket. 

Officially from March to May, Autumn in New Zealand brings settled weather, fewer people and long, warm days. Wildlife is more frequently seen at this time of year, and the water is still warm enough for a swim without the summer crowds, but cool enough to hike without overheating. There is plenty to do in New Zealand at this time of year. Here are eight of our favourite Autumn activities to get you started.

  1. 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 our national parks, where you won't overheat, or get too cold. Pack a picnic and head off, not to mention the stunning burnt orange colour palette is perfect for landscape photographers too.
  2. Go Mountain Biking. Whether you're after a gentle ride alongside our mighty rivers, or a more strenuous downhill adventure; New Zealand is famous for our 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 it's 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 around Auckland or Wellington.
  3. Take a cruise. Taking a cruise is a chance to see the country from a completely different viewpoint. New Zealand has many lakes, river and open water cruises - all of which offer impressive natural highlights. Visit Milford Sound for waterfalls and skyscraping peaks, take a steamboat to Walter Peak Station on Lake Wakatipu, or head out to the famous ‘Hole in the Rock’ formation in the Bay of Islands, you might even see dolphins in the wild.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Attend Wanaka's Festival of Colour. The Festival of colour is an annual Arts event in Wanaka, where artists from around the country showcase performances and creative artwork to celebrate Autumn's unique beauty in the region. 
  7. Experience Warbirds over Wanaka. After attending the Festival of Colour, head down the road to and set your sights to the sky for Warbirds over Wanaka. Every two years, Wanaka becomes host to the world-famous airshow. Incredible aircraft from around the world put on a show of high-octane stunts and thrilling displays. Why not book yourself in to fly one of these beasts yourself? There are a number of small aircraft that for a small fee, you can take the controls with a trained pilot and take off for a breathtaking and adrenalin raising flight around Wanaka's mountains and lakes. Just be prepared for the g-force as you try spirals and flips, then gently glide safely back on land.
  8. Soak in a natural mineral hot pool at Hamner Springs. After spending a day exploring Hamner Springs' many walks and waterfalls, relax in the nourishing natural mineral hot pools that the town is famous for. Hop from pool to pool, each varies in levels of heat and mineral content, while the kids play on the waterslides. After your soak, enjoy a refreshing drink at the poolside cafe and enjoy a twilight stroll back to your accommodation through the peaceful streets of this quaint town. 

Want to add one, or more of these experiences to your New Zealand tour itinerary? Contact us.


Check out blogs in other categories

Custom New Zealand Road Trips

New Zealand is the perfect Road trip destination. Small enough to explore but diverse enough to surprise you. From the sub-tropical Bay of Islands in the north to the sub-antarctic of the south every corner offers stunning views or incredible experiences.
The team at NZ Road Trip have been creating tailor-made experiences since 2004 and being based right here in Wanaka, South Island NZ, their first hand knowledge ensures you get to see the best of NZ.

Our Road Trips can be as adventurous or as relaxing as you like. From the adrenaline packed Queenstown to the serene beaches of Coromandel and from the rugged West Coast of the South Island to the bustling cafe quarters in Auckland city we can design the perfect New Zealand itinerary for you.