nz-south- lake tekapo-flowers
nz-south-fiordland national park-milford sound-nature scenic flight
Cape Reinga Aerial Flight Image
New zealand couple mountain hike
nz-south- lake tekapo-flowers
nz-south-fiordland national park-milford sound-nature scenic flight
Cape Reinga Aerial Flight Image
New zealand couple mountain hike

Spring Activities in New Zealand: TravelEssence's Essential Eleven

As spring knocks at New Zealand's door, this breathtaking country reveals a treasure trove of activities and experiences. In the Southern Hemisphere, spring begins in September, with spring in full swing between October and November. These months offer adventurous activities and special sights.

Check out eleven great spring experiences in New Zealand here.

1. Explore the scenic routes:

New Zealand has lots of scenic routes. The drive from Queenstown to Wanaka (Cardrona Valley Road) or the drive to Mt Cook along Lake Pukaki are some of our favourites during spring because of the blooming.

Pro tip: Make sure you dedicate enough time to really embrace the sights of New Zealand in spring - as this is one of the most beautiful times of the year to visit the island as it will be covered in breathtaking blooms.

A view of a field of Lupins with Lake Tekapo in the background
See the native lupins as they paint the landscape purple.
Drive along the scenic road towards Wanaka.

2. Maori Culture Experience:

Of huge cultural and educational value, we cannot recommend immersing yourself in New Zealand's Maori culture enough. Attend cultural performances or visit Maori heritage sites, which can be found in both islands, and learn about the historical importance of the first inhabitants of New Zealand.

Pro tip: Rotorua is a great place for unique Maori cultural experiences.

Fully immerse yourself as you learn about the Maori culture and traditions.
© Fraser Clements

3. Wildlife Watching:

Spring is a great time for wildlife watching - as animals become more active and babies are born. Head to places like Kaikoura for whale watching (all year round), or visit the Otago Peninsula for the chance to see seals, sea lions, whales, and penguins. Between July and December, you can spot local groups of penguins nesting on the coast.

Pro tip: Ask your host for the best place to spot them, as sunset is your best chance to spot them as they come ashore.

A whale's fin peeping out as the shale submerges under water
Spot shy whales as they come up for air.
Seals resting on a rock in Kaikoura
View the playful seals as they rest in the shore.

4. Visit Fiordland National Park:

Discover the stunning fjords of Fiordland, such as Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound. The lush greenery and waterfalls are particularly beautiful during spring.

Pro tip: We recommend you visit Doubtful Sound; with fewer crowds around, you will be able to take in the sights completely uninterrupted.

A lake surrounded by tall mountains and greenery
Take a cruise along the fjords and be mesmerised.
© TravelEssence

5. Hiking and Nature Walks:

Nothing in New Zealand is more striking than its breathtaking nature. That is why we recommend visiting in spring, as this is the perfect time of the year to enjoy the mild weather and blooming landscapes while exploring New Zealand's many hiking trails. Consider walks like the Abel Tasman Coast Track or Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

Pro tip: Although Tongariro can be a tough walk, the reward will be an amazing view over the snowy peaks, vulcano, and blue pools. Totally worth it!

Two people waling along Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Be prepared to be mesmerised by the views at the top of Tongariro.
Woman standing on top of mountain in New Zealand with lake and mountains as backdrop
Breathtaking views await you at the top.

I loved the rugged volcanic landscape of the Tongariro crossing, the walk is a nice challenge without being too exhausting and gave a great impression of the powerful geothermal forces at play in the area!

Kieran - New Zealand Specialist

6. Lakes and Water Activities:

Explore the lakes, such as Lake Tekapo or Lake Wanaka. You can take scenic boat trips, go kayaking, or simply enjoy the serene surroundings.
Like to explore the glacier lakes?

Pro tip: Do the Glacier cruise at Mt Cook and see the huge ice floes in the water, which are very impressive. Or enjoy the jet boat ride in Mt Aspiring National Park. Absolutely stunning and adventurous as well!

Picturesque by day and dazzling by night, Lake Tekapo/Takapō is part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, making it the perfect spot for stargazing.

7. Wine Tasting:

No trip to New Zealand could be complete without a visit to one of its many vineyards and indulging in a wine-tasting session whilst there. Explore the Marlborough region for Sauvignon Blanc or Central Otago for Pinot Noir.

Pro tip: October is the ideal time to visit the vineyards in New Zealand.

Take a walk along the vineyards in New Zealand.
Learn what makes New Zealand's wine so unique.

8. Explore Gardens and Parks:

New Zealand is home to some of the most stunning flora in the world, some of which can be found among its incredible botanical gardens. We recommend visiting Pukekura Park in New Plymouth or Christchurch Botanic Gardens in spring as blooms are in full swing, making this the perfect opportunity to see all the contrasting colours.

Pro tip: Make sure to visit both the indoor and the outdoor exhibitions to experience the Botanic Gardens' full displays.

A view of some of the plants inside of the South Christchurch Botanical Gardens
Visit South Christchurch Botanical Gardens and see the floral splendor.

9. Explore Cities:

So vibrant and varied, that you can't visit New Zealand and not spend a few days exploring its main cities. Spend time exploring cities like Wellington, Auckland, and Christchurch and visit the top attractions such as museums and art galleries, and try local cuisine in vibrant neighbourhoods.

Pro tip: If you are looking to visit some of the better known attractions, it is always advised to book tickets in advance. These tend to be not only cheaper but also ensure you have a slot.

Auckland Museum | New Zealand holiday
Visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum - one of New Zealand's most important museums.
Dining in Wellington | New Zealand holiday
Take your taste buds on a gastronomic tour in Wellington.
© TravelEssence

10. Adventure Sports:

If you're into adventure sports, try activities like bungee jumping or skydiving in Queenstown. The weather in spring is generally favourable for outdoor adventures.

Pro tip: If you're an adventure seeker looking to keep your feet firmly on the ground, there are other activities our travel specialists can recommend that will suit your requirements.

Person paragliding over the beautiful backdrop of mountains
For those looking for adventure, paragliding may be for you - glide from above as you take in the sights.

11. Relax on Beaches:

Although the water might still be a bit chilly in spring, New Zealand has beautiful beaches that you must visit. Enjoy the coastal scenery, go for a walk, or have a relaxing picnic on the sandy shores.

Pro tip: As spring is not peak season, you will be able to enjoy the beach almost exclusively.

Aerial photo of Cape Reinga Beach
Top beach to visit - Cape Reinga beach in North Island.
Beautiful aerial photo of Tawharanui Beach shwoing the sea, sand and the surrounding nature
Walk along Tawharanui beach in Abel Tasman - South Island and take in the amazing views.