As pink and violet blossoms begin popping up in many countries of Europe and North America, yellow, orange and red leaves will soon be spreading over the forests and fields down in New Zealand. Autumn is one of the loveliest times of the year to visit the country, and not just for the spectacular show of colors. There are generally fewer other tourists in the fall which means a greater array of accommodation deals and much better chances of getting a seat at the country’s most coveted restaurants. Our local luxury villa experts at MajorDomo and Touch of Spice give us these fantastic insider tips on how and where to make the most of the autumn in New Zealand.

Autumn Colours, Victoria Bridge, Kawarau River, Kawarau Gorge, South Island, New Zealand


This historic gold mining town on the South Island, located in the Otago region a short 20-minute drive from Queenstown, is in its prime in autumn. Arrowtown is truly one of the best places to experience the season, described here by Bindy Edgen of MajorDomo:

“The tree lined streets and willows overhanging the Arrow River bloom in full gold and burnt orange creating postcard quality scenery – you’ll be eager to send these pictures home! Arrowtown’s many boutique shops and eateries along the main street, as well as the meandering walking trails, are a “must do” when travelling to Queenstown or Wanaka.”

The season’s glory is celebrated every April during the town’s now famous Arrowtown Autumn Festival, now in its 32nd year. From April 20 to 25 the town will be abuzz with a wide range of activities for all ages including live concerts, markets, parades, visits to the old mine and even gold panning championships. A highpoint is always on the Saturday when the Festival’s Market Day & Street Parade takes place.

“Whether you are looking for a Pie & Pint day, Vintage Car Displays, Gold Panning, Street Theatre or the renowned Market Day, which this year will have over 100 stalls, the festival has events for everyone!” details Kelcey Radford of Touch of Spice. “All set within the breath-taking autumn colours of Arrowtown.”

This is the perfect time to visit the Queenstown area. Whether you’re an adventurous couple or family looking to show your children the country’s gorgeous nature, Arrowtown during the Autumn Festival is a fantastic relaxing and fun five days for everyone.

Where to stay near Arrowtown

Kumanu by Touch of Spice

The beautiful four bedroom, five bathroom Kumanu estate is a faultless luxury located a short drive from Arrowtown and with stunning views across the Wakatipu Basin and beyond.

The design of the 550m2 Crown Range house utilizes every opportunity to showcase the mountains and valleys beyond as if they were paintings on walls. The style combines rustic Central Otago bold statements with accents of art deco flair. The combination feels timeless and elegant yet is so comfortable that you may never want to leave.

Contact Touch of Spice at this link for further information and to enquire about booking.

Bendemeer Homestead by MajorDomo

The Arrowtown Bendemeer Homestead by MajorDomo is a wonderfully comfortable, rambling family farmhouse built in 1860. Set in enormous park-like gardens on 30 acres of farmland above Lake Hayes, the private and spacious seven-bedroom house is perfect for large family gatherings, ski holidays, weddings, family reunions and of course your autumn vacation. You will love sitting around one of the roaring indoor or outdoor wood fires.

Autumn in New Zealand is a hunter’s paradise with stag deer in heat, their roars can be heard throughout the backcountry. Bendemeer Homestead, with its rural but accessible setting, would be perfect for a hunting trip to the Central Otago region. MajorDomo can package your villa stay with guided hunting trips led by professional world-class hunting guides.

Learn more about these options by reaching out to MajorDomo here.

Hawke’s Bay

More exceptional fall foliage and ambiance can be enjoyed in around Hawke’s Bay. Situated on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, it’s known the world over for its award-winning wines. It’s a favorite area of Kelcey Radford of Touch of Spice who suggests experiencing its natural and gastronomic pleasures by bike.

“Last autumn my partner and I had a weekend away in the beautiful Hawke’s Bay region and, apart from the incredible accommodation, the most memorable part were the biking trails and wineries,” explains Kelcey.

“The scenery was spectacular! We stopped for coffee at this gorgeous caravan at Bivvy Vineyard, then lunch at the divine Black Barn Bistro. We made a real day of it and would happily go back to do it all over again.”

Where to Stay in Hawke’s Bay

Cape Kidnappers by Touch of Spice

Nestled on a 6,000 acre sheep and cattle farm in Hawke’s Bay wine region, this gorgeous contemporary lodge is one of New Zealand’s top luxury and gastronomic destinations.

In the Relais & Chateaux collection, the farm has 24 ultra-comfortable and spacious “cottage” suites and a four-bedroom “Owner’s Cottage,” all with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. The gracious interiors feature large windows, providing plenty of natural light and incredible vistas of the scenery and ocean.

Cape Kidnappers attracts gourmet travelers with its range of world-class food and wine experiences. It made Conde Nast Traveller Magazine UK 2011 Gold List, receiving its Best for Food award. Guests can enjoy à la carte dining and wine tasting in a number of unique locations around the lodge. Activities onsite include farm tours, hikes, gourmet picnics, kiwi discovery walks and gannet safaris. Golfers can tee off at its Tom Doak designed Golf Course and those in need of some pampering can relax over treatments in its full-service luxury spa.

Learn more about this exquisite property by reaching out to Touch of Spice here.

Bay of Islands

Come Autumn, things start to cool down in other parts of the country but according to our expert Bindy Egden of MajorDomo, the Bay of Islands is still lovely and warm and is thus a wonderful option for travelers wanting to squeeze in some beach time before winter.

A three-hour drive or 35-minute flight north of Auckland, the Bay of Islands encompasses 144 islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula and includes the boutique towns of Opua, Paihia, Russell and Kerikeri. A passenger ferry service runs between Paihia and Russell and a vehicle ferry provides a link between Opua and Russell.

“From your villa, you’ll have plenty of water-based activities at your fingertips including day cruises, yacht charter and sea kayaking,” says Bindy. “There’s an abundance of wildlife viewing opportunities too including penguins, dolphins, marlin, whales, gannets. Or just lounge on the balcony of your gorgeous, private seaside villa and enjoy the views as you soak in this southern paradise.”

Cloud 9 Villa by MajorDomo

This splendid villa offers sweeping views across both the Pacific Ocean and the Bay of Islands in which Russell nestles. This Bay of Islands holiday house is on a securely gated private road and surrounded by beautiful natural bush. Crashing waves can be heard from 100 meters below, whilst at night, Kiwis can be heard foraging in the bush.

This self-contained villa sleeps six in three double bedrooms and two in one twin room. All rooms have sea views. Two double bedrooms have en-suite shower rooms while the other double bedroom shares a bath/shower room with the twin room. Bathrooms have double basins. A fabulous five-person spa pool and swimming pool provide the perfect place to unwind on the decking as you watch the sun set on the horizon.

Bask in the Bay of Island’s beauty at the sleek Cloud 9 Villa by contacting MajorDomo at this link.

Bay of Islands Special Offer!

There are some amazing villas in the Bay of Islands and to further tempt you to the region, our experts at Touch of Spice are currently offer a special ‘Endless Summer’ Package at their amazing Kauri Cove villa. Located on its very own private beach on Moturua Island, this beautiful villa helps you keep summer going with its wonderful amenities and extensive collection of watersport equipment. Learn more about this special offer on our Secrets Page.