Autumn in the Hurunui
1 March to 31 May
Average daytime temperature: 17°C - 21°C
While autumn can sometimes get overshadowed by its other seasonal siblings, it’s easy to see why this colourful and earnest season is a firm favourite with many travellers to the Hurunui.
As the nights get crisper, and the days become shorter, the Hurunui is lucky enough to be one of the few places in New Zealand to explode in stunning hues of yellow, gold and red thanks to a plethora of award-winning gardens, acres of vineyards, and scenic woodlands bursting with brightly coloured deciduous flora.
Autumn is the time of the wine harvest and an afternoon stop at one of the award-winning wineries in the North Canterbury Wine Region will be sure to delight the taste buds. The home of Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Chardonnay, it’s the best place to settle in, grab yourself a glass or two, and spend an afternoon or evening taking in the stunning backdrop of the region’s colours.
For garden enthusiasts, there’s no shortage of incredible public and private floral havens to tour and visit in the region, with many designed with autumn colours in mind.
Flaxmere, situated near the Southern Alps, boasts vistas which have been described as 'art forms’. The country style feel of old timber bridges, stone walls, and rolling meadow backdrops hark back to English pioneering roots, but also celebrates New Zealand’s unique story with an extensive area of native plants and bush. While beautiful to visit anytime of the year, during the middle of May you’ll be treated to a blaze of reds, oranges and yellows, providing a flamboyant flourish before winter sets in.
Coldstream Gardens near Culverden, with its large oaks throughout the garden, erupts with a display of colours in autumn complimenting large beds of roses, camellias, and rhododendrons. The large pond provides a number of pathways full of restful spots to take in the grandeur of your surroundings.
With milder temperatures and settled weather, it’s also an ideal time to explore Hurunui’s extensive trails.
The seasonal colours in Hanmer Springs are dramatic and the best way to take it all in is by biking or walking through one of the many forest tracks throughout the village. The sunlight through the trees during this time of year creates an almost mystical light perfect for photo opportunities.
Or traverse the newly created Amberley area cycle trail. Starting near the Old Leithfield Hotel, the gentle route passes through scenic farmland and along the Kowai River giving a panoramic experience of the heart of the region.
For those looking to experience both the history of the region and beauty of the season, the Weka Pass Railway tour is a must.
This historic rural railway uses both vintage steam and diesel-eclectic trains to travel 12.8 kilometres through unique limestone formations and past the dramatic red and orange colours of willow trees lined along the river banks, and vineyards nestled through the scenic pass.
Autumn truly is a magnificent time to pay a visit to the Hurunui, with the wide range of activities to take you through this colourful landscape, you’ll never be short of gorgeous photo opportunities and striking moments of natural beauty which you can only sit back and take in.
We’ll see you there soon.