Fall in New Zealand

Learn about seasonal travel to New Zealand during March, April and May

New Zealand enjoys some of its most settled temperatures and the landscape changes into colorful fall scenery, especially in Central Otago and Hawkes Bay. Many photographers and film crews go to New Zealand at this time of year to capture the exquisite light and intense colors of the season.

During fall skies are blue, fruit harvests are underway and there are also lots of fun events happening. There are warm days and cool nights and fall is ideal for enjoying the great outdoors including fishing, golf, horse riding, hiking or tasting the new season's wine.

Top 10 Reasons to Visit New Zealand in Fall:

  1. Relax and Explore - locals have returned to work/school after summer break, popular places are less crowded and it is easier to travel between towns and within cities.
  2. Chase the Southern Lights - the start of this time of year you can see Aurora Australis if you are lucky (less well known than the Northern Lights, but just as beautiful!) in places like Stewart Island, Lake Tekapo, Mt Cook National Park or The Caitlins. Even if you don’t see this, you can still stargaze the crystal clear fall night skies.
  3. Road Tripping and Picnicking - cruise the country making stops to picnic among the drifts of leaves carpeting the ground at lakesides and in parks.
  4. Hiking and Cycling - fall is a pleasant time for hiking or trekking, tracks are usually dry and uncrowded.
  5. Fall Events - Anzac Day is a national holiday commemorating the two World Wars when you can join any of the dawn services held across the country. The Pasifika Festival in Auckland is a colorful blend of Pacific Island food, dance and culture. Every two years, Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow over Lake Wanaka’s alpine landscape is a perfect backdrop for the Southern Hemisphere’s largest warbird event.
  6. Freshwater Fishing - March is a great fishing month, less anglers make for less pressured fish and the weather is generally settled. April brings cool, clear fall days with the most consistent mayfly hatches of the season and lake fishing picks up as fish move to deeper water in preparation for spawning.
  7. Saltwater Fishing - March to May is an exceptional time to take a local charter boat or dangle a line off the coast.
  8. Golf - with over 400 golf courses, New Zealand is a golfer’s paradise and visiting in fall means the weather is still nice and the courses are less busy.
  9. Food & Wine - celebrate the creative quirkiness of the kiwi culture at the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival, mixing local and wild delicacies such as huhu grubs and whitebait patties. The Havelock Mussel Festival in Marlborough is an annual celebration of the Greenshell mussel harvest. On Waiheke Island, the Wine & Food Festival is a unique chance to taste boutique wines and local cuisine. The famous Bluff Oyster Festival on New Zealand’s southern tip celebrates the Bluff Oyster harvest - one of New Zealand’s most loved food festivals.
  10. Wildlife Highlights - swim with dolphins while the waters are still warm, the best times in fall to see dolphins is March to April. With three types of penguins in New Zealand, fall is a great time to see greater numbers in the southern part of the South Island.


Fall Weather in New Zealand

The intense heat of summer has eased and days are comfortably mild in fall. You may need an extra layer of clothing in the evening and will find temperatures cooler as you travel from north to south.

Exploring Other Seasons: 

New Zealand Luxury Lodges:


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