10 Best Places to Visit in Autumn in New Zealand

places to visit in autumn

🎑 Introduction to The Best Places to Visit in Autumn

New Zealand is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, and there’s no better time to experience its stunning landscapes than during Autumn.

The country transforms into a magical wonderland as the leaves change colours and the air becomes crisp. From the fiery foliage of deciduous trees to the straightforward, cool days, New Zealand in Autumn is a feast for the senses.

1. Queenstown

Located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is a remarkable destination all year round, but it truly comes alive in Autumn. Surrounded by the Southern Alps, this picturesque town is famous for its stunning landscapes and outdoor activities. In the fall, the deciduous trees that line the streets explode in vibrant red, orange, and yellow hues, making it a fantastic place for scenic strolls and photography.

Queenstown is known for its adrenaline-pumping adventures like bungee jumping, skydiving, and jet boating. In Autumn, you can enjoy these activities while surrounded by the colourful beauty of the season. Take advantage of a scenic cruise on Lake Wakatipu or a ride on the Skyline Gondola for panoramic views of the autumnal landscape.

queenstown in autumn

2. Arrowtown

A short drive from Queenstown, Arrowtown is a charming historic gold-mining town that’s especially enchanting in Autumn. Its tree-lined avenues are adorned with golden foliage, and the Arrow River, with its calm waters reflecting the changing colours of the trees, is a serene sight to behold.

While in Arrowtown, visit the Lakes District Museum, explore the Chinese Settlement, and indulge in delicious cuisine at the local cafés. The Arrowtown Autumn Festival, typically held in April, is a must-visit event where the town comes alive with parades, markets, and a vibrant atmosphere.

arrowtown in autumn

3. Wanaka

Wanaka, located in the South Island’s Otago region, is another fantastic destination to experience autumn in New Zealand. The town is situated on the shores of Lake Wanaka and surrounded by the Southern Alps, providing a stunning backdrop for the changing foliage.

Autumn in Wanaka is marked by vivid red and gold hues, creating a captivating visual spectacle. You can explore the town’s vibrant arts scene, take a hike or bike ride around the lake, or visit the iconic Wanaka Tree, which stands chest-deep in the lake and looks even more magical against the backdrop of autumn colours.

wanaka in autumn

4. Christchurch

Christchurch, the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island, offers a unique blend of urban and natural attractions in autumn. The city’s Botanic Gardens, in particular, come to life with a stunning display of colourful trees. A leisurely punt ride along the Avon River, which meanders through the gardens, is a delightful way to immerse yourself in the autumn atmosphere.

Autumn is also a great time to explore Christchurch’s vibrant arts and culture scene, visit the Canterbury Museum, or take a day trip to the nearby Banks Peninsula for more scenic beauty.

christchurch in autumn

5. Marlborough Sounds

Marlborough Sounds, located at the top of the South Island, is a collection of intricate waterways, bays, and inlets that offer a serene autumn retreat. The calm waters and lush hillsides create a peaceful and picturesque setting for relaxation and outdoor activities.

While in Marlborough Sounds, you can go kayaking, fishing, or enjoy the tranquillity. The vineyards in the region also produce some of New Zealand’s finest wines, so take advantage of the opportunity to go wine tasting and savour the flavours of Autumn in a glass.

Marlborough Sounds in autumn

6. Coromandel Peninsula

The Coromandel Peninsula on New Zealand’s North Island is known for its stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and hot water beaches, but it’s also a fantastic place to experience Autumn. The scenic drive along the coast reveals colourful forests, and the cool, crisp air enhances the region’s beauty.

Visit the famous Hot Water Beach, where you can dig your thermal pool in the sand and relax in the natural hot water springs.

The Coromandel is also home to Cathedral Cove, a picturesque beach accessible via a scenic hike, where you can take in the beauty of Autumn by the sea.

Coromandel Peninsula in autumn

7. Rotorua

Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland on New Zealand’s North Island, known for its bubbling mud pools, geysers, and mineral-rich hot springs. In autumn, the region’s geothermal attractions are complemented by the vivid foliage of deciduous trees.

Rotorua’s Government Gardens and the surrounding areas burst into vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow during the fall season. You can also experience the Maori culture and traditional hangi (feast) in Rotorua, making it a unique and culturally rich autumn destination.

Rotorua in autumn

8. Nelson

Nelson, located at the northern tip of the South Island, is renowned for its sunny weather and abundant arts and crafts culture. In Autumn, the city is surrounded by orchards, vineyards, and colourful gardens that come to life in a symphony of colours.

The Nelson Lakes National Park is a short drive away and is an excellent place for hiking and taking in the beauty of the autumn landscape. Nelson is also home to numerous art galleries, making it a hub for creativity and culture. Don’t forget to explore the city’s vibrant café scene and try locally-produced wines and foods.

Nelson in autumn

9. Taupo

Lake Taupo, located in the centre of the North Island, is the largest lake in New Zealand and a popular year-round destination. In Autumn, the lake is framed by forests of native and exotic trees that transform into a breathtaking array of reds, yellows, and oranges.

Taupo is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, with activities such as skydiving, bungee jumping, and jet boating available. However, if you prefer a more relaxed experience, you can take a scenic cruise on Lake Taupo or soak in the natural hot pools at the DeBretts Spa Resort while surrounded by the colours of Autumn.

Taupo in autumn

10. Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park

Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park, located in the Southern Alps of the South Island, is the perfect destination for those seeking rugged, alpine beauty in Autumn. This park is home to New Zealand’s highest peak, Aoraki (Mount Cook), and offers a dramatic backdrop of snow-capped mountains and glacier-fed lakes.

As Autumn arrives, the alpine meadows and deciduous forests take on stunning colors, and the clear, crisp air provides excellent visibility for admiring the majestic peaks. You can explore the numerous hiking trails, visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, or embark on a scenic flight to truly appreciate the breathtaking scenery.

Mount Cook National Park in autumn

What activities can you do & where do you book them during Autumn?

book me app BookMe is a platform where you will find a curated stunning array of autumn activities that allow you to immerse yourself in this natural spectacle and create memories that will last a lifetime.

👉 Check out BookMe Autumn Tours & Activities

Experiences you will get when immersing in the New Zealand autumn with BookMe

🌄 Explore the Splendor of New Zealand’s Landscapes: Immerse yourself in the stunning vistas of New Zealand’s autumn wonderland. From the vibrant foliage of the Waikato region to the breathtaking vistas of Queenstown, BookMe offers a wide range of options to explore the country’s iconic landscapes. Whether you prefer hiking, biking, or a scenic drive, we have the perfect adventure for you.

🍷 Indulge in Wine Tasting Tours: New Zealand is renowned for its world-class vineyards, and Autumn is the perfect time to savour the rich flavours of the region’s wines. BookMe provides exclusive access to wine-tasting tours, where you can sample award-winning wines while surrounded by the picturesque beauty of vineyards in full autumn splendour.

🎨 Experience Cultural Festivals: Discover the unique cultural festivals that New Zealand has to offer during autumn. Whether it’s celebrating Māori traditions, local crafts, or food festivals featuring seasonal delights, BookMe has you covered with a variety of cultural events that showcase the country’s rich heritage.

🚗 Enjoy Thrilling Adventure Activities: For adrenaline seekers, autumn in New Zealand provides the ideal backdrop for thrilling activities. BookMe offers a wide range of adventure experiences, such as skydiving, jet boating, and ziplining, set against the backdrop of stunning autumn scenery.

🍂 Cozy Retreats and Accommodations: After a day filled with adventures, BookMe can help you find the perfect accommodations to unwind and embrace the cozy autumn vibes. From charming boutique lodges to rustic cabins, we have options that cater to all preferences and budgets.

📆 Start planning your autumn adventure today! Visit BookMe and unlock a world of possibilities in New Zealand’s most picturesque season. 🍁🌄🍂

Table of Contents

Most Popular Locations

About Kiwilanders NZ

Kiwilanders is a directory and blog featuring informational and recreational content about New Zealand.