New Zealand during autumn

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Discover the places and experiences that come alive in New Zealand during autumn.

Avoid the crowds, but still enjoy the sunshine – autumn is a great time to travel in New Zealand.

Long, sunny days tend to linger long into New Zealand’s autumn and with average high temperatures of between 18C and 25C, you’ll hardly notice summer has ‘officially’ ended. Nights begin to get chilly around mid-April and it is still possible to swim in some places until April. Also because it’s no longer high season, you won’t encounter the busy crowds of summer.

Rippon Vineyard Lake Wanaka

Rippon Vineyard Lake Wanaka

Colourful changing leaves make autumn a scenic delight, especially in regions such as Central Otago and Hawke’s Bay, which are known for their autumn splendour. Deciduous trees turn brilliant hues of yellow, gold and hot orange, and it’s all set against a sky that seems far too blue to be true. Many of the yellow autumn trees can be found next to water such as ponds, lakes, rivers, and wetlands, but there are many exceptions to this assumption. For example, the entire sides of the hills surrounding Arrowtown light up in yellows and oranges during autumn, unlike anywhere else in New Zealand.

Long, still days lend themselves to the great outdoors –perfect time of year to hike one of the many walking trails or  explore a cycle trail or try fly fishing.

The lakeside town of Wanaka comes alive during autumn. Explore the lake by bike, the tracks are flat and easy to begin with, gradually becoming more challenging, climbing to high lookouts. Wanaka has an appealing mix of fine living, family fun and adventure. It also has a high concentration of cafes, restaurants and interesting shops and it’s obvious that the Wanaka district is nicely obsessed with aviation.

At the airport you can arrange to go flightseeing or sky diving, and every two years the town hosts a spectacular airshow, Warbirds over Wanaka, revolving around classic military aircraft. Classed as one of the best warbird shows in the world, it features historic aircraft, RNZAF jets, aerobatic formations and helicopters.

Keeping with the transport theme, Lake Wanaka, is home to New Zealand’s National Transport & Toy Museum. This fascinating collection houses one of the largest private collections in the world. The transport collection boasts rare and unusual aircraft, cars, trucks, motorcycles, fire appliances, military vehicles and tractors. Be sure to visit this real time machine.

Known as the Edinburgh of New Zealand, Dunedin is the country’s city of the south, wearing its Scottish heritage with pride. Surrounded by dramatic hills and at the foot of a long, picturesque harbour, Dunedin is one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere. The accommodation is good and plentiful; the nightlife buzzes with funky bars and delicious restaurants and the natural attractions are unique and fascinating.

Be sure to visit the gardens at The Dunedin Chinese Garden where during autumn time the display of Chrysanthemums will be flowering, Chrysanthemums are one of the most ubiquitous Chinese flowers.

Lake Hayes Queenstown

Lake Hayes Queenstown

Head out and explore Dunedin’s fantastic museums, discover scientific gems at the Discovery Centre at the Otago Museum, visit New New Zealand’s only castle Larnach Castle and step back

in time at Olveston Historic Home & Theomin Gallery. This pristine historic home has much to offer with its magnificent artwork in every room. Olverston reflects the wealth and influence of its founder; Dunedin businessman, collector and philanthropist David Theomin. Opened as a historic house museum in 1967, Olveston is an authentic and original historic home depicting the life of a wealth merchant family in the early part of the twentieth century

While most of you might think of Queenstown as a skiing mecca, it is in autumn when Queenstown’s landscape bursts into a scene of red and gold providing the perfect backdrop for your holiday. The days are still warm enough in autumn for you to enjoy the region’s great outdoors, while the cooler evenings lend themselves to enjoying a glass of Central Otago Pinot Noir by a roaring fire.

You could enjoy a wine tasting tour or a long lunch at one of the many gourmet winery restaurants.

Leisurely bike rides or walks that take in the rich autumn colours are a popular choice or for more serious action hit the downhill trails and mountain biking tracks.

A round of golf in Queenstown could be your ideal way to spend the day. Choose from one of six scenic golf courses, including several internationally renowned competition courses.

Blue Peaks Lodge Motel is nestled on a rise overlooking Queenstown; it is conveniently located, less than a five minute easy walk from the heart of Queenstown.  Visit

where you will discover their southern hospitality with an at-home feel that makes you feel genuinely welcome.  You will find family friendly, self-catering accommodation where the emphasis is on your comfort – we know you’ll enjoy your stay!

During March and April it’s still hot enough to swim in most places so cool down with a dip in the ocean after exploring the coastline. Down on the Otago Peninsula’s beaches you can experience one of New Zealand’s most significant conservation success stories; the resurgence of the endangered Yellow-Eyed Penguin (Hoiho).  They nest in coastal vegetation, hidden from other birds and humans. The Little Blue Penguin – the world’s smallest penguin – also breeds here.

The best way to observe these birds is with a wildlife tour operator, and you may even see sea lions and seals as well. The award winning Elm Wildlife Tours are the experts to show you how tourism and penguin conversation work together in their exclusive (private) wildlife reserve. Elm Wildlife Tour operators are enthusiastic to some of the most spectacular wildlife sots, inaccessible to others, to ensure an absolutely special wildlife experience of a lifetime.

Also during the month of March celebrate the creative quirkiness of the kiwi culture at the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival, where delicious local delicacies like huhu beetle grubs and whitebait patties are cooked up by colourful locals. Held during the second Saturday in March head to for more information.

Now if you are wondering how you are going to fit in all the amazing experiences on offer during autumn in New Zealand check out Southern Travelnet Southern Travelnet has long been established as an inbound tour operator within Australia and New Zealand offering a customised tour product and services for our trade partners and customers. With more than 20 years’ experience, Travelent will ensure you receive the autumn in New Zealand  experience you desire.

Main picture Arrowtown-Central-Otago-




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