Your guide to autumn in Wellington

Fun fact: most native New Zealand trees are evergreen, which means their leaves don’t turn orange in autumn. But 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.

War Memorial tree autumn

While autumn might mean the weather starts cooling down, the skies are often still clear so the days are perfect for exploring. Get those sensible shoes on and head out to explore. Whether you fancy a relaxed stroll then head down through the Wellington Botanic Gardens after taking the iconic Wellington Cable Car to the top, get the blood pumping with the 30 minute walk up Mount Victoria or head to Newtown, a short drive from the city, to meet the animals at Wellington Zoo.

Legend also has it that autumn is the best time of year for some pretty amazing wildlife sightings. We can’t promise anything, but keep your eyes on the water as large groups orcas and dolphins have been known to entertain Wellingtonians in the harbour occasionally.

Aviary at Wellington Zoo
Carter Observatory MilkyWay
Martinborough people drinking wine
Homegrown stage people dancing

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

For those who come to Wellington for the culture and creativity, autumn is an ideal time for a visit. The season kicks off with Homegrown every March, a huge celebration of New Zealand’s finest local acts that takes over the waterfront with 44 acts across five stages. NZ Fringe Festival also arrives every March, injecting a huge dose of colour, comedy and spectacle into the capital. The festival sees over 1000 artists filling the city with delightful and unexpected performances in every conceivable venue.

If it’s a tipple that really gets you going, you won’t be left thirsty in Wellington this autumn. Celebrate the world-class wine region just a short drive over the hills from Wellington with the Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival. This annual event coincides with the annual grape harvest, with food, entertainment and (obviously) plenty of local vino in an idyllic riverside vineyard setting. And back in the city, Highball is a new celebration of spirits and cocktails taking place every May, striking the perfect balance between education and imbibing with a speaker series, bar takeovers and delicious things to drink.

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