While most tourists flock to New Zealand during its summer season, the autumn and winter period (April to September) is also a great time to visit, whether it’s for sampling culinary delights or to hit the slopes. We asked local travel expert Country Holidays for advice on making the most of your next visit to this dramatically beautiful travel destination.
Follow the Wine Trail
New Zealand exports a wide range of award-winning wines, with vines planted across the country. Taste your way through some of the most prominent wine regions, wander through the vineyards and enjoy a picnic while you take in the views. Our personal favorite is Rippon Vineyard on the shores of Lake Wanaka, arguably the most photogenic vineyard in the world.
Savour the Freshest Produce
With a land mass surrounded by water and a thriving farming industry, New Zealand abounds in freshly harvested ingredients from garden, land and sea, while Pacific influences, organics and indigenous foods make the cooking unique. Satisfy your craving for green-lipped mussels, crayfish, oyster, cheese, lamb and beef with a perfectly paired glass of wine.
Catch Your Own Trout
New Zealand is a fly fisherman’s dream, with clean natural water, the relatively small number of people fishing, and an environment that allows trout to grow to three or four times the size you’d find in Europe or America. We suggest hooking up with a great guide as the best spots are closely guarded secrets. A guide is also perfect for novices keen to learn the sport.
New Zealand’s great outdoors is best appreciated on foot. April can be a good time for trekking –before the weather becomes too extreme in the winter season. The Department of Conservation has designated nine “Great Walks”, considered the country’s premier hiking experiences. Walks include the popular Milford and Routeburn Tracks, featuring the spectacular scenery of the Southern Alps and Fiordland. Our pick is the three-to-four-day Kepler Track, which takes you to remote lakes with alpine views, with water taxies or helicopter drop-offs available.
Fly Over the Scenery
If you’ve seen the backcountry from a hiking trail, taking another look from the air is the next thing to do. Flying gives you the advantage of landing on selected spots, so you can cover a variety of terrain, from glaciers to ocean-facing cliffs; there’s the added advantage of being able to fly low over the water and the wilderness forests. We suggest a multi-experience package that combines a jet-boat safari, a 4WD adventure and a helicopter flight from Wanaka.
The peak time for autumn foliage is in April when the trees start to turn a vibrant golden color. South Island boasts the most spectacular of the autumn colours, and Lake Wanaka is a great place to kick your way through piles of crisp dry leaves.
Meet the Māori
Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand, who came more than a thousand years ago from their mythical Polynesian homeland of Hawaiki, and still play an important role today in New Zealand’s life and history. Experience Māori culture by visiting a traditional meeting ground, watching a carving or weaving demonstration, enjoying a hāngi feast cooked in earth ovens or learning about the fascinating myths and legends of this passionate people.
Hit the Slopes
South Island is home to three main ski areas, each of which offers fresh powder, uncrowded slopes and varied terrain. We recommend basing yourselves in Queenstown to explore nearby Coronet Peak and The Remarkables, both fun ski playgrounds suitable for all ages and skill levels. Adventurous travellers can helicopter to the heart of the Southern Alps for fresh tracks and exclusive views of the backcountry.
Contact Country Holidays’ New Zealand travel specialists to start planning your Middle Earth adventure. 2525 9199 | countryholidays.com.hk
We love visiting New Zealand and beyond and write about it all over on our Travel page – check it out for more things to do in this amazing country!