Discover autumn in Murihiku Southland, one of the best times to visit.

March to May

Temperatures between 10°C and 20°C

The crisp air whispers change, the days grow shorter, and a kaleidoscope of colours paints the landscape - autumn has arrived in Southland, and it's nothing short of breathtaking. This southern edge of New Zealand transforms into a haven for nature lovers, foodies, and adventurers, offering unique experiences you won't find anywhere else. Some may even say autumn is one of the best times to visit Murihiku Southland, as autumn is the perfect time to get out and experience our Southland nightlife. Our small brown Kiwi and Southern Light nightlife experiences, to be exact.

Southland's autumn unfolds from March to May, presenting a symphony of golden yellows, fiery oranges, and deep reds. Stroll through the majestic beech forests of Fiordland National Park, where waterfalls cascade through vibrant foliage. Hike the scenic tracks of the Catlins, where ancient podocarp trees stand tall amidst ferns of all shades of green. Take a leisurely stroll through Queens Park in Invercargill, where ancient oaks and maples shed their leaves, creating a magical carpet.


Southland Delights

Indulge in the region's culinary bounty. Savour the world-famous Bluff oysters, plump and succulent, straight from the pristine waters of Foveaux Strait. They're so famous there's a whole festival dedicated to this southern delight. Warm yourself up with a steaming hot pie made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. And for a sweet treat, indulge in the cabinet options many cafes offer; try a classic kiwi lolly cake or how about a strawberry lamington.

A local tradition and delicacy that is a must-try for any travellers to Southland. More than just cheese and bread. These rolls are the embodiment of Southland, and they hook you in from the first bite. Ask a Southlander who makes the best cheese roll. You'll most likely receive a different answer each time, so the most scientific way to find the ultimate cheese roll is simple: try as many as possible in one of the many cafes in Southland—the perfect morning tea or soup accompaniment when the weather starts to get in the Autumn months. 

Bluff Oyster

Dive into a world of tantalizing taste and oceanic delights when you try a Bluff Oyster! These little ocean gems, harvested from the pristine waters of New Zealand, pack a powerful punch of flavour that will make your taste buds sing. With…

The Southland Cheese Roll

The infamous Southern Cheese Roll... a local tradition and delicacy that is a must-try for any traveller to Southland. Like the historic tiffs over Pavlova, Russell Crowe, Marmite and more, the origin story of the cheese roll can also be…

Autumn Event Guide

Autumn serves up seafood, culture, changing colours and harvest fare. New favourites discovered, the freshest produce and fabulous local beers. Why travel overseas when the world is right here - grab your ticket to discover…

Events Galore

Roll your shoulders back, indulge your soul, and let your senses overload.  Events so wholesome - you could serve them at a country picnic, and landscapes so scenic – they inspire postcards and fantasy novels. Southland comes alive with events during autumn. Celebrate the harvest at the Riverton Heritage Harvest Festival, an annual celebration of Southland's home harvest. Interactive displays, demonstrations, workshops, speakers, music, competitions & activities for all! Lasting three days, the Harvest Festival will have enough happening to keep your family busy. Or visit the oldest port town of New Zealand for the annual Bluff Oyster and Food Festival, offering a delicious array of oysters, other local seafood, an oyster-chucking contest, live entertainment and more.

Uniquely Southland

Moving into Autumn is the best time to see the Southern Lights (Aurora Australis), and what better place to see them than in Southland's dark sky sanctuary, Rakiura Stewart Island? In January 2019, Rakiura/Stewart Island was awarded International Dark Sky Sanctuary accreditation due to the Island's outstanding sky quality. If you can't make it to Rakiura, Slope Point, the most Southern point on the South Island, or Fiordland National Park are other terrific options for catching a glimpse of the famous Southern Lights.  

Take in the 360-degree views of lower Southland at Bluff Lookout, get your photo taken at the iconic Stirling Point signpost and walk the Foveaux Walkway along the coastal side of Bluff Hill/Motupōhue while gazing out over Foveaux Strait. This is also where the Te Araroa trail and State Highway 1 begin.

Autumn is a great time to fulfil your lifelong dream of being up close and personal with Great White Sharks. The fantastic Foveaux Strait and the beautiful northern Titi Islands are home to amazing fish life, beautiful birds and memorable sights. It is also a great time of year to go kiwi spotting on Rakiura Stewart Island. Experience the spectacular dune environment and wild west coast beach and learn about the area's natural history and early European history, all while keeping an eye out for the Brown Kiwi.

While many dream of snowy peaks and cosy fires, Murihiku Southland whispers of a different kind of wonderland. Here, autumn unveils a vibrant tapestry of colours, crisp air, and unique experiences that will leave you enchanted.

Discover one of the many walks in Southland, from short walks like Mores Scenic ReserveDolamore Park and Forest Hill Scenic Reserve to epic multi-day walks such as the Rakiura Track, one of New Zealand's Great Walks and the Hump Ridge Track or check out one of many walks in Fiordland in our Hike Fiordland guide. Autumn is the perfect time to enjoy the beautiful seasonal colours and explore the region. 

Embark on a wildlife-spotting adventure. Cruise through the serene Patea Doubtful Sound, home to dolphins, seals, and penguins. Take a night tour and witness the elusive kiwi foraging in its natural habitat. Go stargazing in our dark sky sanctuary, where the Southern Lights dance across the canvas of darkness. Head to the Te Anau Glowworm Caves, where thousands of tiny lights illuminate the darkness, creating a mesmerizing spectacle.

Find warmth and comfort in Southland's charming towns as the evenings grow cooler. Sip on a locally brewed craft beer at a cosy town pub. Immerse yourself in the region's history at the Te Hikoi Museum in Riverton. Explore the vibrant art scene in Gore, with its Eastern Southland Gallery and murals adorning the streets.

Planning Your Autumn Escape

Autumn in Southland is an invitation to slow down, savour the moment, and connect with nature. So, pack your bags, your curiosity, and an appetite for adventure – Southland awaits with open arms and an autumnal embrace you won't soon forget.

Remember, this is just a glimpse into what Southland has to offer in autumn. Be sure to check out the latest events before your trip. 


So, what are you waiting for? Fall into the beauty of Southland this autumn and create memories that will last a lifetime!