There are some destinations that are best enjoyed in autumn when the temperatures start to drop, the crowds dissipate and the deciduous trees brighten up the sun drenched land after a dry summer. If you are seeking your own slice of serenity or want to venture outdoors without the scorching heat then here are seven destinations in Australia and New Zealand that you should visit in autumn.
1. Adelaide Hills, SA
It was the famous Lord of the Rings author J.R.R Tolkien who uttered the wise words that “not all those who wander are lost” and if you don’t head off the beaten path once in a while you just might miss out on a hidden gem. The Adelaide Hills as the name suggests are an hour’s drive from the capital city and boasts South Australia’s best food and wine coupled with beautiful scenery. The cool climate in the Adelaide Hills has made it a viable location for wineries with incredible cellar door experiences and while no one could dispute that the Adelaide Hills are stunning at any time of year, the villages in the Mount Lofty Ranges really start to come alive in autumn.
Venture out to Hahndorf and the first thing that will strike you are the vibrant coloured foliage that line the village streets. Discover the German influences of the town or take a stroll and get lost in the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens in search of the perfect Instagram snap. The alluring autumnal colours are best viewed from March to May when the red and orange hued trees begin to shed their leaves.
2. Central Otago, NZ
Say goodbye to summer in Central Otago with the cooler temperatures welcoming in the change of season. You know its autumn when mother nature puts on a colourful display bringing a whole new meaning to earthy tones. Be sure to schedule a visit in April when the foliage season is in full bloom. The expansive landscape is filled with world class wineries, alpine mountain scenery and herb fields contrasted with emerald green rivers.
If you are looking to escape the daily grind for a while then Central Otago is the perfect place to breathe in the fresh mountain air and be inspired by unforgettable scenery. The crisp temperatures may motivate you to join one of New Zealand’s stunning scenic bicycle rides and hikes or retreat indoors and enjoy a cosy wine tasting experience and gourmet lunch by the fireplace. The best part is that you will often have a piece of serenity to yourself away with the crowds falling away after summer.
3. Port Douglas, QLD
The addition of Port Douglas to the list may come as a surprise to a few travellers but autumn is actually a great time to visit because the heat and humidity of summer coupled with heavy rainfall can be too intoxicating for some to handle. Autumn signals the end of the wet season but the mercury can still reach 29 degrees between March and May making it perfect weather to daydream by the beach or the pool.
Port Douglas is an ideal location to explore one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the world’s oldest rainforest. Sail away on a luxurious catamaran and lose yourself in the mesmerising beauty of the Great Barrier Reef or go off grid and soar through Daintree Rainforest on a zip line adventure. The tropical destination is the perfect choice for those who are looking to extend their summer and after a few days in paradise, we can almost guarantee that you won’t want to go home.
4. Tongariro Alpine Crossing, NZ
New Zealand is a land of incredible landscapes and some mind blowing walking trails if you are up for the challenge. And I cannot understate the challenge having bravely (or stupidly) walked the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The crossing is a must do activity on the North Island leading you through volcanic terrain. One of the reasons why I pushed myself to do the trek was because I knew that the views of active craters, steaming vents and emerald coloured lakes standing atop mountain peaks would be so rewarding and when was I ever going to get the chance to do this again?
The 20 kilometre day long hike will take you through rugged terrain and a reasonable level of fitness is required but I can guarantee you that it is an experience that you will never forget. Given the fluctuation in elevations during the hike temperatures will vary but taking this walk in autumn is a great choice as you will avoid climbing in the peak of summer. You can prepare for the walk by ensuring you dress in layers, invest in a sturdy pair of hiking boots and pack adequate food, water and batteries for the camera. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is best enjoyed with a tour guide with local knowledge of the geography and history of the region which makes for a much richer experience as you navigate the crossing.
5. Litchfield National Park, NT
The Northern Territory will reveal its secrets to you if you venture to the Top End of Australia. A hidden oasis that should be on the travel list is Litchfield National Park located 1.5 hours drive from Darwin. A visit in Autumn after the summer/wet season is a splendid time to visit because the forest is lush, the birds are chirping and the waterfalls and swimming holes are overflowing with water.
Litchfield National Park is a diamond in the rough with endless bush walks, exciting 4WD trails, fascinating magnetic termite mounds and spring fed watering holes that are a great relief from the steamy territory weather. Flashy attractions and water parks are not required here because Mother Nature provides for visitors who make the effort to visit. Australia really is lucky to have soo many natural attractions so why not travel somewhere different this autumn away from the typical coastal locations and experience the Australian outback.
6. Yarra Valley, VIC
Victoria in summer is the epitome of the sunburnt land followed by frosty winters that attract snowfall but a visit to the Yarra Valley in autumn provides visitors with a happy medium. The region is renowned world wide for its spectacular wineries and the autumn foliage puts on a spectacular display of reds, yellows and oranges hues best viewed in autumn or spring.
Within an hour’s drive of Melbourne, you can be driving past rolling green hills or taking a stroll among the vines and indulging in some of the newest grape varieties. The smells of fireplaces start to fill the air from April when the frosty winters arrive and a long lunch paired with exquisite wine is the perfect anecdote to warm a cold soul. Whether you take the day or spend an entire weekend here there are plenty of wineries, cheese factories, farms, boutique shops and scenic walks to past the time.
7. Tasmania, AU
When autumn sweeps in over Tasmania the state becomes even more mysterious and alluring. Although it may be separated from the mainland by sea, the journey is easy from most capital cities and the beauty that awaits is truly spellbinding. It doesn’t really matter whether your preferred destination is Hobart of Launceston because the state has a bounty of things to do wherever you are based.
Discover Tasmania’s eery convict past at world heritage sites, open your eyes to the homegrown beauty at Cradle Mountain or let the stress roll off you with a peaceful stroll along Wineglass Bay. And finally, after a day of exploration, you can indulge in some of the finest culinary experiences Australia has to offer.
To help you plan your autumn getaway and find things to do in each destination mentioned here, head to our main experiences page and let the adventures begin.