Your guide to autumn in Wellington

Autumn's crisp, clear days and nights give you plenty of options to explore a busy and vibrant city

A trip to Wellington in autumn goes beyond just hunting out that perfect fall-toned photo for Instagram. Here’s your guide to enjoying the crisp, clear days that come with autumn in the capital.

While autumn might mean the weather starts cooling down, the skies are often still clear, so the days are perfect for exploring. Head over to Martinborough to visit the wineries, go stargazing at Space Place, or have a Close Encounter at Wellington Zoo.

Autumn's event calendar is jam-packed with music, arts, and laughs. Check out City Gallery for Reuben Paterson's glittery exhibition, The Only Dream Left. The NZ International Comedy Festival kicks off with a comedy gala and runs throughout May, and the NZSO has classical music covered with a concert every autumn month.

An autumn stroll 

Get those sensible shoes on and head out to explore. Catch the iconic Wellington Cable Car to the top and take a walk through the Wellington Botanic Gardens – there are still plenty of blooms to smell at the Lady Norwood Rose Garden. For more vigorous exercise, head to Red Rocks on the south coast - from May to October, you can spot New Zealand's fur seals and seal pups as they sunbathe on the rocks. They are amazing to watch but don't get between them and the water and give them plenty of space.

Wildlife encounters

Autumn is one of the best times of year for some pretty amazing wildlife sightings. No promises, but keep your eyes on the water as large groups of orcas and dolphins have been known to entertain Wellingtonians in the harbour.

Alternatively, head to Zealandia, the pioneering eco-sanctuary. Visit by day and watch native birds being fed, or book a tour at night to see one of the 140 little spotted kiwis now thriving in the predator-free undergrowth.


These glorious clear autumn days lead to clear nights, so head to Space Place at Carter Observatory and see what you can spot in the southern skies. There are public telescope viewings if weather permits, but it’s worth heading along regardless and exploring the interactive exhibitions and full-dome digital planetarium.

If you want to travel a bit further, then head over to Wairarapa. The region was recently named a dark sky reserve - only one of two in the country. It's also great wine country.

Harvest time

Just over an hour away from Wellington is the charming Martinborough wine village, home to more than 20 boutique vineyards that are so close together you can easily and safely bike or stroll the flat and quiet country roads between them. Autumn is a great time to visit and you might see grapes being harvested for the annual vintage to produce world-class wines.

Autumn festivals

For those who come to Wellington for the culture and creativity, autumn is an ideal time for a visit. CubaDupa is the ultimate weekend of creative expression. With over 28 stages and creative zones, the surrounding laneways and sides streets will come alive with colour, music, art, theatre, dance, food, and stalls.

In May, Visa Wellington on a Plate takes over the city’s tastebuds. The hospitality industry presents hundreds of events covering hands-on masterclasses, multi-course degustation, themed menus, pop-ups, and special cocktail events.

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