The best things about hiking in Fiordland in Autumn

28 Feb 2020

One of the first things you’ll notice about hiking in Fiordland during the autumn season (March – May) is that there’s even less people around. Fiordland’s remote and secluded location is a drawcard for people who appreciate and enjoy the solitude of this naturally wondrous place. Because there’s just something truly humbling and awe-inspiring when you feel like you’ve got the whole place to yourself – with a dance like no one’s watching kind of mentality. Here’s a few good reasons to plan a few great walks in Fiordland during the beautiful autumn season.

Weather

It’s not peak season anymore but the walking tracks are still open with plenty of daylight hours to explore. There is no snow yet, but the cooler evenings and relatively warm days is ideal for experiencing one of Fiordland’s incredible walks. The mornings are a bit chillier with a beautiful mist blanketing the valleys on occasion as the light and landscape evolves throughout the day. Temperatures in Fiordland in autumn range from 17℃ to 12.7℃ during the day which is only slightly cooler than the summer temperatures of 18℃ to 10℃. Be prepared for four seasons in one day though because Fiordland is known as one of the wettest places on earth. It always pays to play it safe and always have a rain jacket, sunhat and woollen hat as you breathe in all that clean, crisp mountain air.

Te Anau autum colours

Flourishing flora

Fiordland fungi bursts into life this time of year. The cooler temps and wet weather is a breeding ground for the most spectacular mushrooms in Fiordland. From little purple mushrooms to the vibrant stinkhorn fungi (with smelly mass of spores and all), make sure to keep your eyes peeled for mushrooms while exploring Fiordland in autumn. You should also remember to follow your nose – particularly for those lucky enough to catch the heavenly scent of Earina Autumnalis in the air. Also known as Easter Orchid or in Māori, raupeka, this rare New Zealand native orchid with its small white flowers and strong vanilla fragrance blooms around Easter as its name suggests. Definitely worth waiting until autumn to visit!

Raupeka Easter Orchid Earina Autumnalis Lake Manapouri

Extraordinary Events

If you haven’t already heard of the Te Anau Tartan Festival, then it’s high time you do. This means a jolly good time sporting your favourite tartan and celebrating all things Scottish. With strong Scottish ancestry across the South Island, this annual event is well-loved by locals and visitors alike. Taking place annually over Easter weekend (save the date for Saturday 11 April 2020) - this fun-filled event features favourites like the Highland Heavyweight Championship, a special Highland games for kids, Highland dancing, bagpiping competitions and the Flying Scotsmen – a crowd-pleasing one mile kilted dash you won’t soon forget.

Tartan Festival

So, get the family together, or gather with friends and head South to Fiordland this Autumn. Where the spaces are large, there is a National Park at your doorstep and the pace of life slows.  Take a hike, short or long depending on your motivation and unwind in the great outdoors. This is a small community with plenty of activity!

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