Otago in autumn: a fairytale world

Otago in autumn: a fairytale world

It is that time of the year… Scarf, beanie, gloves. Winter is here. It’s beautiful and great, but it also means that the autumn in New Zealand is over…

And isn’t that just the season that turns this country into a real life fairy tale! I think I could even use the word magical.


The most famous autumn town is Arrowtown, a small cute town of about 2,150 inhabitants in Central Otago. Walking through the streets and seeing those orange soft colours, I imagine there’s a fairy going to pop up just around the corner. Unfortunately I didn’t encounter any fairies (yet), but I did find a few amazing spots.

Autumn colours in Arrowtown
Main entrance to Arrowtown
Autumn colours in Arrowtown
Fairy tale land…

What does it even more for me is the magical mix of old buildings with the soft-coloured leaves. It’s so perfect that it looks like an architect worked over-hours to get everything planned out. But hey, that’s just nature, and nature is beautiful.

post office arrowtown
Old police station in Arrowtown – by Nico Babot

We can all agree Arrowtown is beautiful and a must-visit, but the autumn beauty doesn’t just stay in Arrowtown. There is much more to see in Otago. Drive around, get lost on purpose and you will stumble upon cool lanes, beautiful orchards and so much more.

autumn in New Zealand
Long and lost driveway – by Nico Babot

Cromwell colours

One of my favourite stops was at an orchard in Cromwell. It’s a small village in Central Otago with some great wineries around. It used to be a gold mining town, but now the region produces a lot of wine! Their most famous one: the Pinot Noir.

When driving around there was one orchard that stood out. The leaves and setting caught my eye, thinking: this deserves a stop! Time to take out the camera and have some fun!

Autumn colours in Arrowtown
Autumn colours!
Autumn colours in New Zealand
Golden orchard colours

Whenever you see a spot you’d like to take photos, always be respectful. Don’t litter, don’t break stuff, show respect for nature and the land owner (when you’re on an orchard or vineyard). The autumn colours are a beautiful thing and it is great that we all share this, so let’s do this with respect.

Ready for a fairy tale autumn in New Zealand? Come over in mid-late April and witness how the fruit trees, willows and poplar trees turn yellow and orange! And if you don’t make it to Arrowtown or Central Otago, no worries. Wanaka, Lake Hawea, and Queenstown are also a feast for the eyes.

When, when, when?

Now, what do you have to take away from this article? The best time to visit New Zealand is mid autumn until the start of winter. Autumn in New Zealand starts in March, so the best time for the beautiful leaves would be May. This way you will get the fairytale colours AND the snow on the mountains. You won’t regret it, believe me!

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