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

Cycling by Lake Wakatipu in autumn, Queenstown

Discover the places and experiences that come alive during March, April and May.

Temperature & weather

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. Because it’s no longer high season, you won’t encounter the busy crowds of summer.

Colourful landscapes and settled days

One of the most special things about Autumn in New Zealand is the colours – especially in the Hawke’s Bay and Central Otago regions. 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.

Long, still days lend themselves to the great outdoors – Autumn is the perfect time of year to hike one of our nine Great Walks, explore a cycle trail or try fly fishing.

During March and April it’s still hot enough to swim in most places. Cool down with a dip in the ocean after exploring the coastline.

Celebrate the creative quirkiness of the kiwi culture at the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival, where delicious local delicacies like huhu grubs and whitebait patties are cooked up by colourful locals.

Salt water fishing is exceptional from March to May. Take a local charter boat or dangle a line off the coast.

Orca and dolphins visit Wellington’s coast during the Autumn months. Watch from the city’s waterfront or catch a ferry to Eastbourne or Picton.

Unique autumn destinations

Travel tips for autumn

  • Where to see Autumn/Fall colour
    New Zealand foliage is evergreen, but exotic species are common throughout the country. The most impressive places to see the burnt oranges, yellows and reds of autumn (fall) are Central Otago and the Hawke’s Bay, but botanic gardens throughout the country promise to put on a show.
  • Our scenic alpine passes
    From late April, high mountain passes can be subject to snow and ice, so taking a tour is a good option. If you would prefer to self-drive, carrying chains is recommended.

Popular autumn activities