Swing into Autumn. © Miz Watanabe

Eight awesome Autumn adventures

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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

A post shared by RotoruaNZ (@rotoruanz) on Jun 8, 2016 at 5:18pm PDT

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.

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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.


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. 


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