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As the winter thaws and spring time blooms, New Zealand reminds us why there are so many reasons to visit this season. Spring is from September until December, and it’s the perfect time to explore the country. Here are 10 reasons sure to convince anyone to book their flights right away.
The obvious benefit of visiting in spring is the fact that you’ll see New Zealand transform right before your eyes. Native kowhai trees with their yellow swathe of flowers, vibrant rhododendron blossoms, fantastic fern fronds unfurling — there’s just so much beautiful plant life flourishing across the land. Various garden festivals are also held across the country in October and November, and that’s definitely something to look forward to.
This is the time to see New Zealand’s rolling hills, country pastures and luscious forests at their absolute greenest. Sure, spring has a few bouts of rainy spells, but these are the reasons the glistening grasses are accentuated by the seasonal change. Visit Hobbiton’s magical garden-like setting in spring to see this incredible showcase of freshly coloured landscapes in action.
Mild weather and freshly picked grape harvests make spring the prime time for wine degustation. There are vineyard and winery tours throughout the country — your choice will depend entirely on where you’d like to end up. New Zealand is most famous for its Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris productions, though every region — from Malrborough to the Hawke’s Bay — will have its own unique flavours to share.
Spring marks the beginning of seafood season. This is rightfully celebrated with a tonne of food festivals across the country, from the Whitianga Scallop Festival in the North Island to Kaikoura Seafest and Port Chalmers Seafood Festival in the South Island. No matter where you end up, though, you’re going yo get your fix of fresh seasonal bites right out of the Pacific Ocean.
Many of New Zealand’s ski slopes enjoy an extended snow season, and, by the time spring arrives, they are relatively quiet. So, if you want to try your hand at some winter sporting activities but aren’t so keen on braving the crowds, you can safely delay your visit by a couple of months without any fears of missing out on any of the action.
It’s harder to feel motivated to cycle in the cold winter. With temperate days and fewer crowds, spring is the optimal time to get pedalling. There’s an array of spectacular rides to explore, including the Otago Central Rail Trail, the Alps to Ocean and the Hauraki Rail Trail. Every city has its own cycling routes as well, so be on the lookout for those too.
Many of the most popular walking tracks tend to be quite volatile in the winter months. In fact, facilities for the Great Walks are quite limited due to the fact that they’re much harder to navigate in their off-season. By the time spring has arrived, however, these terrains become much safer to access. As a bonus, you won’t need to share the path with too many tourists, because summer is the busiest time for New Zealand hiking.
Spring is New Zealand’s low tourist season. That means you’ll get to enjoy cheaper prices on accommodation, transport and activities — which is great news for those travelling on a tight budget! Some tour companies even offer off-season discounts for their experiences this time of year, so definitely take the time to do some digging so you can get the best bang for your buck.
You know what else is great about travelling during quiet season? Many of New Zealand’s best attractions are going to be largely empty. That means you can enjoy your selected nature expeditions without bumping into large influxes of people, and you’ll have many more opportunities to take postcard-worthy photos of the country’s unspoiled landscapes.
As the clocks ‘spring forward’, the days become longer and brighter. That means you’ll get to cherish extended stretches of sunshine along the coast, admire the sparkling waters as you dine by the waterfront or simply relax in your own happy place as you make the most of the pleasant twilit evenings.