While those of us who live here know that Oamaru is a year-round destination, with things to do and to see at all times of the year, many overseas visitors (and even some domestic ones) focus their travels to Oamaru and to much of the rest of New Zealand on summer, and of course winter for the skiers out there. But to our mind, autumn is the best time to visit New Zealand, since you avoid the crowds (though, it must be said, with as much space as New Zealand has, and not very many people to start with, it’s never truly crowded) and enjoy some stunning weather and scenery.
New Zealand’s native trees–and there are 2,300 of them–are mostly evergreen, with only 11 native deciduous trees. But the colonists from England and elsewhere brought with them a wealth of exotic trees from Europe, Asia and the Americas that bring a rainbow of colour to the landscape during the southern autumn, from late March through May. In addition, the weather in autumn is generally very settled, with cool, crisp mornings and bright sunshine most of the time throughout the country. There’s nothing quite like waking up in a quiet corner of New Zealand, looking out over the sunrise over the Pacific Ocean, or the mountains, or whatever happens to be east of wherever you are, listening to the song of birds and admiring the play of light as the sun makes its way over the horizon, with a cup of New Zealand’s incredibly good coffee or tea.
Also, autumn is the time of year when the vineyards around the country are harvesting their grapes, giving visitors an opportunity to watch this interesting process while also enjoying the incomparable colours of the autumnal vines laden with beautiful fruit. And most wineries have tasting rooms, too, so you can sample their wines and arrange to bring some back with you to have a taste of New Zealand at home.
It’s a magical time of year, a photographer’s dream, and one that knowledgeable visitors would do well to experience for themselves!