Any time of the year is breath takingly beautiful in New Zealand but there is just something special about the months of April and May. The extraordinary colours of the changing of the season that this not always evident elsewhere in the world, the calmness and this year the solitude which makes one even more appreciative and aware of this magical landscape.
Everyone wants to know the best time to travel and unabashedly expressing favouritism; Fall for our American friends or Autumn down under is fantastic for exploring and enjoying the very best of New Zealand.
With the distinct change of season producing an artists pallet of golds, oranges, auburns and reds and a likely dusting of snow on the mountain tops it is a locals & visitors paradise of crunchy leaves underfoot, plenty of see and do and delicious seasonal cuisine.
Sheep Mustering at Wharekauhau Estate (top) Beach picnics at The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs
These are also the months of the annual vintage in New Zealand with wine makers carefully measuring sugar levels that signal the harvesting of grapes from the Bay of Islands, Hawkes Bay, Marlborough and famed Central Otago Pinot Noir in the south. Guests can touch the vines from their lounge chair in the Vineyard Villa at The Landing or overlook the vineyard landscape stretching beyond the dining room of Breckenridge Lodge.
Colours of autumn from Breckenridge Lodge, Hawkes Bay (top)
The Vineyard Villa @ The Landing (above)
Clear, mild days are perfect for horse riding the tree lined avenues of Treetops Lodge, the high country stations of Mahu Whenua and The Lindis and expert or not, learn a new skill and enjoy a spot of late season guided fly fishing at Stonefly Lodge or Poronui Estate.
With packed picnics and easy access to the famed walking trails of the Tongariro Crossing from Riverbirches Lodge or the Queen Charlotte Track from Bay of Many Coves in the Marlborough Sounds, hiking is a popular past time at this time of the year with far fewer footprints than the peak of summer.
Horseriding at Treetops Estate (above)
Relaxing at Blanket Bay (below)
In the Bay of Islands, north of Auckland we are not quite ready to give up on summer yet, Autumn is for swimming off the golden sandy beaches in the far north that extend from The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, on the edge of the manicured lawns of Helena Bay or tempt you on the horizon at Te Arai Lodge. Less sandy and just as instagrammable are the indulgent heated salt or mineral pools and spas at all of the lodges perfect for relaxation and rejuvenation at this time of the year. Check out wellness packages at Split Apple Retreat, the infinity pool at Eagles Nest and your private spa under the stars at remote Minaret Station.
Fall brings out the birdlife and wildlife of Kaikoura's marine Serengeti. A stay in a Treehouse at Hapuku Lodge sets the scene with the sounds of the Pacific Ocean and stunning sunsets out one window and majestic deer grazing in paddocks out front. It is also relaxed down on the farm and families can enjoy spending time with a myriad of lodge animals at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, explore by ATV at Wharekauhau Estate or coastal Annandale in the South Island.
Stonefly Lodge, Able Tasman (top)
Fly Fishing on the Tongariro River at Riverbirches Lodge (above)
We like to golf (or pretend too) just to walk the groomed fairways, admire the dramatic views, drive the cart and support the serious. For golf aficionados, just as much attention has gone into the architecture of these "top courses in the world" as the lodges on-site at Kauri Cliffs, Capes Kidnappers and The Kinloch Club.
What we also do in the Fall is eat. a lot. Seasonal produce is abundant, local, fresh and colourful. Carefully foraged from extensive much-loved gardens on a daily basis by the Chefs of Otahuna Lodge, Huka Lodge and The Marlborough Lodge and presented on daily changing menus for our enjoyment and pleasure.
Whilst we can't welcome you in Fall 2020 the leaves will return and will be waiting for you.
Autumn cuisine by Blanket Bay (top)
Cycling the vineyards from The Marlborough Lodge (above)
Banner Image - The autumn colours of Mahu Whenua