With sunny days, cool nights and photogenic foliage, Autumn is possibly the best time of year to travel in New Zealand. We've put together some suggestions to make the most of the season.
1. Hit the road
There's a lot to see and do down the middle of the North Island when you travel the Thermal Explorer Highway from Auckland to Napier. You'll discover hot pools, caves, mountains and spectacular scenery on your way, and finish up with a glass of Hawke's Bay signature syrah to toast your successful trip.
Sunrise on a steamy #geothermal water’s edge in Rotorua, New Zealand. • Discover magnificent views of a volcanic playground within walking distance of the centre of Rotorua. An amazing thermal wonderland with steaming vents and boiling mud pools. This volcanic activity has drawn visitors to Rotorua since the 1800s #NZMustDo • Please #followme on @rotoruanz or visit www.rotoruanz.com // Photo credit: @markcoker • • • • #picoftheday #instalove #love #photooftheday #instagood #rotorua #newzealand #purenewzealand #kiwiexperience #bestnewzealand #nature #selfie #travelphotography #traveller #instatravel #lovethisplace #worldtraveler #mytravelgram #travelpics #awesomeearth #earthexperience #sunrise #beautiful #lonelyplanet #RotoruaNZ
2. Must Do: Gannets
While you're in the Hawke's Bay, you must visit the Cape Kidnappers gannet colony before the feathered tenants depart for the winter. The gannets are in residence on the cliff top from November until late April, so this month is your last chance to see them before spring.
3. Tongariro Northern Circuit
It doesn't get much more adventurous than climbing a volcano. On the Tongariro Northern Circuit, you can tackle two. The 43km track winds its way around the slopes of the active volcanoes Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngāuruhoe and passes through unique and stunning landscapes, including volcanic craters, brilliant blue lakes and glacial valleys.
Dawn on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Anyone who visits the Tongariro National Park will soon understand why it is sacred to local Maori. The mountains are revered as gods. The park holds Dual World Heritage status for its cultural significance and incredible volcanic landscapes. 📸: @iamdodgelec #LoveTaupo #TongariroAlpineCrossing #NewZealand #NZMustDo
4. Must Do: An active island volcano
For even more dramatic volcanic action, jump on a boat tour from Whakatāne to Whakaari, White Island. Its atmosphere will give you pause for thought: eerie, quiet, almost moon-like in its lack of vegetation and proliferation of strange rock formations, stark, rising cliffs and steaming craters.
5. Travel the coast
The road from Westport to Greymouth has been called one of the top ten coastal drives in the world. It's pretty special. If you travel at sunset do not be surprised if you have to stop at one of the many viewpoints to take in the dusk, unable to continue your journey until all sense of light has left the horizon.
6. Take to the hills
Enjoy panoramic views over Fiordland mountains and alpine lakes plus native vegetation and birdlife on the Key Summit track, an easy half-day walk on the Routeburn Track from the Milford Road.
@jess.wandering and I came to New Zealand last minute during the peak season, not knowing how booked everything would be. This photo was taken on the Routeburn Track, one of the 10 Great Walks of New Zealand. Turns out the huts and campsites to stay at get booked out months in advance, so we have been doing long day hikes to some of the highlights (the only way do do it last minute, legally). Nearly every hotel, and car camping site is booked out as well... luckily @jucyworld hooked us up with a camper van to stay in. It’s been a life saver, and definitely the best way to go around here. 🚎#jucyworld
7. Must Do: On your bike
Autumn is probably the best time of year to tackle the Otago Central Rail Trail. Not too hot, and did we mention the scenery? The skies are limitless, the countryside staggering. And there are heaps of places to stop and stay so you yourself won’t be staggering at all. Fighting fit, in fact.
8. Head south
Way, way south. Ulva Island, just off the coast of Stewart Island is an open sanctuary with a network of easy walking tracks to explore. Discover deserted beaches, cheeky weka and all the quiet solitude you'd expect to find on a remote island.