Best spots in New Zealand to enjoy spring

New Zealand Spring Mountain

The endless natural beauty of New Zealand can be enjoyed all year-round, but spring tends to really stand out as one of the best times to enjoy New Zealand.

For those that do not want to say goodbye to winter, some ski resorts may still be open through mid-September depending on the weather.

For those desiring more warmth and colour, the cherry blossoms, tulips, and rhododendrons in the botanic gardens are starting to reveal colourful blooms. Spring time allows you to enjoy less crowded hiking trails since peak tourist season won’t kick in until summer arrives.

Trout and salmon fishing season opens and several spring festivals will be taking place. For those wanting a bit more adventure, spring is a great time to enjoy some whitewater rafting or zip-lining through the new forest growth. 

To make your New Zealand holiday planning easier, we have selected the top spots around the North Island and South Island this spring season.

Whichever outdoor adventures you decide to include on your itinerary, be sure to protect yourself with travel insurance which can cover you for a wide range of adventure sports and activities.

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo

Located in the Mackenzie Basin on the South Island, Lake Tekapo offers incredible landscapes that are especially inviting in spring.

The lake’s turquoise waters are complimented by the Southern Alps as a backdrop and thousands of purple lupin flowers during late spring.

Visit the hot springs and saunas of Tekapo Springs on those cooler spring days and nights and take advantage of Lake Tekapo being within the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve for exceptional stargazing.

You’ll also get a chance to see the Church of the Good Shepherd, one of New Zealand’s most picturesque churches. Scenic flights can also be arranged to get a bird’s eye view of the lake and Southern Alps.

Rotorua

Rotorua

Head to the North Island’s Bay of Plenty Region and discover Rotorua. Rotorua comes alive with colourful tulips every spring, with many bulbs being planted throughout the city.

Spring also provides perfect weather for exploring the Whakarewarewa Forest, where you’ll find exceptional hiking opportunities. Check out the Rainbow Springs Nature Park for the chance to see kiwi chicks at the National Kiwi Hatchery.

Recognised as the largest kiwi hatchery in the world, the spring months are the best time to see the newly hatched chicks and observe the birds’ behaviour in their specially designed nocturnal enclosures. 

Rotorua is also blessed with numerous relaxing spas and geothermal pools that can easily take the chill out of any spring late-afternoon.

Taranaki Region

Taranaki Region

What better way to enjoy spring than to check out the annual Taranaki Garden Festival. 

Located on the west coast of the North Island near the city of New Plymouth, the ten day festival showcases the region’s most exceptional public and private gardens. 

The rich volcanic soil combines with the rainforest-like conditions of the region to produce some truly colourful gardens that feature rhododendrons, camellias, magnolias, hydrangeas, and fruit trees. 

There are dozens of gardens to visit, along with special garden related events and workshops to attend. You can catch the 2019 Taranaki Garden Festival from November 1-10.

Hobbiton

Hobbiton

There is no better time to visit the famous Hobbiton Movie Set than in the spring. 

Not only is International Hobbit Day celebrated on September 22, but the date also recognises the birthdays of the hobbits Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. 

You’ll find Hobbiton about two hours north of Auckland in the Waikato region. Once a simple sheep and cattle farm, the 14-acre property was transformed into the magical Shire seen in the The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. 

Tour the property to witness dozens of hobbit holes, the Party Tree, and Bilbo's Bag End home. In spring, the rolling hills and fields become covered in bluebells and daffodils and the fresh and lush gardens of Middle Earth make the movie set even more enticing.

Rangitata River, Canterbury

Canterbury’s Rangitata River

Another film location for The Lord of the Rings is Canterbury’s Rangitata River. 

The river offers exceptional trout and salmon fishing, with the fishing season opening early October each year. 

Spring is also the best time to enjoy some adventurous whitewater rafting, since the rapids are supercharged from the recent snowmelt of the Southern Alps. 

Rafting trips ranging from grade 2 to 5 can be organised in the Rangitata Gorge, but please ensure your travel insurance policy will cover the grade of rafting you are wanting to participate in.

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

Christchurch

Not too far away from Rangitata River is the city of Christchurch. 

Known as “The Garden City”, Christchurch offers more than 700 parks and gardens that are at their most impressive during the months of spring. 

Early September is the best time to catch the cherry blossoms, especially around Hagley Park and the Christchurch's Botanic Gardens. The gardens also feature a great selection of native New Zealand ferns and exceptional birdwatching. 

Admire the baby ducks following their mothers throughout the city and visit a local farm to observe the adorable baby New Zealand lambs. 

Places: New Zealand