The southern hemisphere summer is now in our rear-view mirror and we’re driving into the crisp clear-sky mornings of Autumn. This means the warmer months are behind us and March and April are a perfect time to explore and experience a cooler New Zealand before winter sees the mercury drop.
Why you should take a New Zealand holiday in March
The weather is nice and mild, making sightseeing activities and travelling by road that much more comfortable.
The crowds have died down, but don’t rest on your laurels because the end of the first school term is right around the corner and school holidays begin again from around 10 April. Get out and about now and enjoy quieter holiday parks and attractions up and down New Zealand.
In addition to stable weather and fewer crowds, Autumn offers up some excellent events and festivals for holidaymakers of all ages and budgets.
6 Awesome Autumn events and festivals to attend
North or south, east or west, our kiwi autumn is chock-full of amazing events and festivals to experience. Here are seven to choose from in both the North and South Island.
North Island autumn events
Balloons Over Waikato, Hamilton
Tue 17 March – Sat 21 March
This annual Waikato hot air balloon event attracts balloonists from around the country and the globe. With Innes Common and Hamilton Lake as an idyllic backdrop, this festival is more than just hot air.
Hamilton’s Balloons over Waikato festival lights up the night sky.
Sat 28 March – Sun 29 March
One for the holidaymaker on a budget, CubaDupa is a free street arts festival held on Wellington’s (mostly pedestrian) Cuba Street. Expect street theatre performances and live music stages. It really is CubaDupa.
Gumboot Day, Taihape
Sat 7 March
World famous in New Zealand, this unique event dates back to 1985 and is synonymous with our rural countryside culture — just ask any rural Kiwi where they’d be without their gumboots.
The event showcases the best the rural sector has to offer, and as the Taihape website says, throwing the gumboot is only half the excitement.
Taihape’s famous gumboot sculpture.
WOMAD, New Plymouth
Fri 13 March – Sun 15 March
Taking place annually in New Plymouth’s picturesque Brooklands Park, WOMAD is a celebration of the World of Music, Arts and Dance. The international festival is one of over 160 the WOMAD organisation (co-founded by Peter Gabriel) has put on around the world since 1982, the 2020 event in Taranaki will be the region’s 16th WOMAD festival.
South Island autumn events
Wildfoods Festival, Hokitika
Sat 7 March
A trip to the South Island’s beautiful West Coast can be scheduled around the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival. This annual event offers #HokitikaWildfoodsFestival delicacies including mountain oysters (lamb testicles), Huhu grubs and snails; as well as some prime West Coast cuisine including wild pork, venison and whitebait.
Enjoy the grub and West Coast liquid refreshments against a soundtrack of live entertainment. Oh, and don’t forget the feral fashion festivities, chef demonstrations and roving entertainers.
Warbirds over Wanaka
Fri 10 April – Sun 12 April
Taking place over New Zealand’s Easter weekend, the biennial Warbirds over Wanaka air show has been running since 1988. The high-octane event features aerial action in the form of rare and noteworthy aircraft from modern RNZAF planes through to authentic WWI and WWII machines.
New Zealand Hikes for all ages
If festivals and events aren’t your cup of tea, why not get out into Aotearoa’s beautiful outdoors and go for a hike. It doesn’t have to be a multi-day peak-to-peak epic — DOC (Department of Conservation) have a wonderful interactive walking and tramping map to help you find an appropriate off-road excursion for your age and fitness level.
Just select your desired region, duration and level of difficulty. There’s even a filter to help you find wheelchair and buggy-friendly hikes. And don’t forget your fury friends — you can find routes that welcome dogs, too.
DOC’s interactive walking and tramping map has options suitable for all ages.
We hope these events and hikes are enough to get you out and about in Autumn.
Check out the range of accommodation types available at our Holiday Parks around New Zealand.