Autumn Roadie Hotspots
A wonderful time of the year to explore our country as the seasons’ change brings about a mass of colour and a slower pace. Shift down a gear and take some time to explore some of the Autumn hotspots around the Central North Island.
Loop the regions together for a stunning roadie or take a long weekend and explore just one area. Nowhere is far in this part of the world – here is each regions top picks for an abundance of autumn colour as you explore.
- Have soak in the Mount Hot Pools – Perfect at any time of the day, the Mount Hot Pools are fun for all the family. Located at the base of Mauao, this is the perfect place to cool off and relax after that walk up or around the Mount.
- Visit McLaren Falls to watch the leaves turn – SH29 10 mins from Tauranga – this fabulous parkland is home to one of the best botanical collections of trees in New Zealand. Pack a picnic, your walking shoes and maybe even your swimmers for a daring Autumn dip!
- Visit the eco-sanctuary on Moutohorā (Whale Island) – take a yacht or cruise to discover the rare beauty of one of New Zealand’s little-known treasures, Moutohorā (also known as Whale Island) is home to some of New Zealand’s most endangered birds and reptiles.
- Walk the Orokawa Trail in Waihi Beach – Wind around the coastal headlands to reach Orokawa Bay and enjoy a picnic on the beach in the shade of giant pōhutukawa trees.
- Take a guided foodie trail with Taste of Plenty – a boutique food experience, Choose from a range of food and culinary tours, or a custom tour for your group. Visit orchards, farms, providors and unique production facilities.
- NZ National arboretum – Eastwoodhill Arboretum – this stunning national treasure is home to the largest collection of northern hemisphere trees in the southern hemisphere. There are many opportunities for recreation at this site – walking, bird watching, picnics and in Autumn takes on a whole new majesty.
- Saturday mornings at the Gisborne Farmers Market is where locals and visitors alike gather to get their fix of the region’s tastiest treats. From macadamia nut butters to real raw honey, this is your chance to meet the makers of some finest food and beverage your taste buds will ever know.
- Take a Beach Loop experience with a difference – this time with Railbike Adventures! Try this amazing new cycling adventure on the very scenic 90 kilometres of coastal railway between Gisborne and Wairoa.
- For those cooler Autumn Days Tairāwhiti Museum is a must do when in Gisborne. The museum and art gallery has a reputation as one of the very best, most innovative regional museums in New Zealand.
- Autumn is a great time to get on your bike and go bush! Cycle the Motu Trails. Discover the heartbeat of Tairāwhiti and experience first-hand the legendary Motu Trails. With four key trails to choose from and other side trails you can add-on or connect to, the Motu Trails is a deep dive into stunning wilderness, rich history, and the early settler life of the region. From easy to advance trails, there’s a network of dream rides for every biker along the Motu Trails
- Visit Ohakune, the southern gateway to the Tongariro National Park. This charming alpine village is just stunning in Autumn with golden leaves, great places to eat and drink, huge range of accommodation, walking, hiking, biking, Whanganui River access and more.
- Get up close and cuddle – Nevalea Alpacas is the largest alpaca farm in New Zealand, is home to over 950 friendly alpacas. Offering a range of different activities to choose from to give visitors an opportunity to get up close to the alpacas and hand feed them – and they have baby Alpacas year round!
- Get on your bike – The Timber Trail. A former sawmilling stronghold with a rich historic, cultural and natural heritage, the Pureora Forest Park is intersected by the famous Timber Trail cycleway and this trail is an awesome ride for almost all abilities.
- Jetboat to Bridge to Nowhere – A rich history threads through the bounty of natural wonders in the largely secluded Whanganui National Park. Rich in both Māori and European history, exploring by jet along the Whanganui River takes you into a stunning untouched landscape shared with vibrant stories of times and people passed.
- The lesser known walk to Tama Lakes is a surprising alternative to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This 17km walk is loaded with beautiful scenery and jaw dropping landscapes. An extension of the Taranaki Falls Walk, The Tama Lakes track crosses undulating tussock country and alpine herb fields to reveal the beautiful alpine lakes that occupy several old explosion craters on the Tama Saddle between Ruapehu and Ngāuruhoe. An incredibly peaceful walk that escapes the crowds.
- The giant Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings on Lake Taupo has been hailed as one of New Zealand’s most extraordinary contemporary Maori artworks. Towering 14-metres above the deep water of Lake Taupo, artist Matahi Brightwell’s carvings have become one of the North Island’s biggest tourist attractions. Accessible by boat only, they can be reached by taking a scenic cruise, sailing boat or kayaking trip from Taupo Boat Harbour.
- The soothing thermal waters of Taupo beckon after a day exploring, cycling or walking in the region. With many options you can go adult only, seek natural springs, or indulge in a a little luxury as you sink your body into the ‘ahhh’ state of mind!
- Head for the Greens! Set in lakeside locations, surrounded by rolling hills, native birds and mountainous backdrops, golfing in Taupo is not only world-class but has the added bonus of breathtaking scenery. Taupo could be considered a golfer’s paradise with its nine reputed golf courses – two of which are consistently ranked in the top 100 courses outside the US, and top 10 marquee courses in New Zealand. End the day with a well-earned local brew or a thermal soak!
- If freefalling is your thing, or its always been ‘on the list’, then Skydiving this Autumn over Lake Taupo is quite simply awe-inspiring. Hurl yourself from a skydive plane to get the most boast-worthy view of the entire region – from the mountains across the lake and out to the coast in this exhilarating ‘gotta do it once’ activity.
- For decades, fly-fisherman have come from all around the world to enjoy the trout-filled waters of Taupo – though it’s not just seasoned pros who can enjoy the thrill of catching a fish. The regions crystal-clear waters are home to wild rainbow and brown trout and provide great lake and river fishing year-round, classing Taupo as the gold standard for trout fishing in New Zealand and around the globe.
- Set on the shores of Lake Rotorua, take a stroll along the stunning waterfront of the Rotorua Village Green – See the leaves change colour and breathe in the fresh air!
- Take a MTB ride on the new 30km Whaka Forest Loop – the latest addition to the Whakarewarewa Forest (The Redwoods) Mountain Bike trails. The start and finish of this one way trail is at the Waipa entrance to the forest and takes in three lakes – ride at your pace over one or two days.
- Relax, reheat and rejuvenate yourself in a geothermal hot pool. Visitors have been flocking to Rotorua’s thermal waters since the mid-19th century to bathe in the hot pools along the edge of Lake Rotorua. The geothermally heated water was hailed for its healing properties and touted as a cure for ailments such as arthritis and rheumatism.
- Luge New Zealand’s favourite(& biggest) Skyline luge tracks in Rotorua – head up the hill and twist and turn your way down again on a fun family friendly fast paced gravity fuelled ride. Suitable for all ages and stages!
- Pop on an extra layer and take a night walk through the forest canopy through the spectacular Redwood Tree walk. Majestic and magical, the Redwoods Treewalk suspends you high above the forest floor, where you can encounter 75-metre-tall Californian redwoods. Walk across eco-suspended bridges and platforms intricately designed to honour and accentuate the stunning natural environment and at night with stunning lanterns through the forest the experience takes on a whole new feel.