Last NZ autumn foliage report for 2010

Written on Friday, 16 April 2010

Read about and see pictures of autumn foliage at Lake Tekapo and in Fairlie New Zealand in this last fall foliage report for the 2010 autumn season in New Zealand.

I returned home yesterday, but I just wanted to give you one last update on the autumn colours on the South Island I saw while driving and flying back to Wellington.

I left Cromwell pretty early in the morning at 6:20 a.m. to start my drive back to Christchurch and not miss my flight back home.

It was very dark when I left, but the sky was lit up with beautiful stars.

On my way back, I drove the usual route of going through Lindis Pass, then driving onto Omarama, Twizel, and Lake Tekapo.

I’m happy to report that the autumn colours at Lake Tekapo are now on, as you can see from the picture below.

Yellow autumn colour on trees at Lake Tekapo South Island New Zealand

After a brief stop at Lake Tekapo to stretch my legs, I drove on to Fairlie, Geraldine, Ashburton, and then Christchurch.

In the following picture you can see that Fairlie is also lit up in autumn colours.

Red autumn colour on a tree in Fairlie South Island New Zealand

When flying out of Christchurch, I was surprised to see that the city was not lit up in yellow, something I had expected it to be.

So the only thing I can conclude is that this is not the best autumn season New Zealand has ever experienced. The colours were a bit late to arrive and once they arrived, many trees went from green to brown. Perhaps it’s because of the funny weather conditions we have experienced in the past year.

Enjoy the autumn colours if you’re on the South Island right now or are planning to head down there in the next couple of days.


Note: This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm all details
directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

Related Articles

  1. 14 Responses to “Last NZ autumn foliage report for 2010”

  2. Chris Gin
    Posted Saturday, 17 April 2010

    Thanks for the update, although not great news :(

    Hey do you have all your photos in a gallery somewhere? I’d love to have a look through them.

  3. NZTravelInsider
    Posted Sunday, 18 April 2010

    I think my reports may have sounded more gloomy than the situation really is. While the colours may not be good in Christchurch, they are further down into Canterbury and in Central Otago, so don’t worry too much about it.

    And while I was analyzing trees on an individual basis, the power of experiencing autumn colours comes from looking at trees collectively.

    Regarding my photos: I do not publish my best work online anymore, because of the abundance of misuse and abuse my images have had in the past. So what you see online is mostly what I’ve shot while I was having fun with my point-and-shoot camera. I did set up a photo gallery on Flickr, but it does not contain any images that are not already being displayed here.

  4. Chris Gin
    Posted Sunday, 18 April 2010

    Shame about the misuse of your images – would love to see your other photos but I understand about them being stolen (lots of mine have been).

    I have a Flickr account too ( in conjunction with my website (

  5. NZTravelInsider
    Posted Sunday, 18 April 2010

    Yes, I’ve already visited your website and also seen your images on Flickr. Very nice! Keep up the good work!

  6. Xin
    Posted Monday, 19 April 2010

    Thank you very much for your update, I didn’t change our plan, we can’t get away from work before this weekend, so we are going to experience the Autumn this weekend, we also fly from Wellington to Christchurch. If color in Christchurch has lit up by then, (we will have 3 hours there)where will be the best place to go?

    And Chris, I visited your website, very beautiful photos, I am inspired to go and visit all these beautiful places. Thank you very much for sharing.


  7. NZTravelInsider
    Posted Monday, 19 April 2010

    I think you should be fine for this weekend, Xin. For Christchurch you could try walking through Hagley Park. I’m not sure how many deciduous trees (those that shed their leaves and change color in autumn) are present in the park and I’ve never walked through it in autumn (only late spring), so I’m not sure what kind of colors you could see there. If you do go there, let me know how it was. Otherwise, I’d just drive through the many suburbs. The color on the trees along the streets will tickle your senses enough, I think. Enjoy your trip!

  8. Chris Nielsen
    Posted Monday, 19 April 2010


    Do you reckon the first or second week of May will be too late? Having trouble getting down there before then.


  9. NZTravelInsider
    Posted Monday, 19 April 2010

    Hi Chris N.,

    I’ve been down there in the second week of May (around the 10th) and it was definitely too late – only browns and empty trees. But as I’ve mentioned previously, the autumn colours were late to set in this year, so you might still be able to enjoy some of it in the first week of May. It is difficult to predict, though.

  10. Chris Nielsen
    Posted Tuesday, 20 April 2010

    Thanks for that, unfortunately some huge bills have kept me from travelling and it sounds like it’s a little late now to get there. Maybe next year….

  11. NZTravelInsider
    Posted Tuesday, 20 April 2010

    No worries, and I understand. It is best to plan for next year rather than to rush things. Hope you’ll be able to make it next year.

  12. Chris Gin
    Posted Saturday, 24 April 2010

    Oh man, could there be a worse forecast for next week? Hope I get at least a bit of sun to light up the autumn colours…

  13. NZTravelInsider
    Posted Saturday, 24 April 2010

    If it is any consolation, I had bad weather when I was there too! If you’re there longer than 3 days, you might get a break. Fronts generally take 3-4 days to pass over. If it is not windy, just overcast, you should be able to get nice pics of foliage. Actually, overcast weather is perfect to shoot foliage, unless you want to include other subjects. If it is raining with little wind, you can still get good pics. I’ve shot photos in the rain before – you just have to get a bit creative. ;) Have a good trip and I look forward to seeing those pics!

  14. Xin
    Posted Tuesday, 27 April 2010

    Just got back from South Island Autumn colors trip. Half of the time was raining.

    In Christchurch the trees are alomot all yellow and red, around 25% falling off. We had a great walk in Hegley park before the rain started, since it was early in the morning, the park was very quite, you can even hear the sound of the leave falling off, most place were covered by the golden leave, the trees’ color from yellow, to brown to red to purple, a very good combination.

    Lake tekapo, leaves all turned yellow, around 20% falling off, since it was a bit windy, the lake was rough,we didn’t get chance to see the reflection. We drove to the lake Alexdanrian, it is like a hidden heaven, so quite, and unlike lake Tekapo, it was very calm, the trees all turned yellow, and start to shed leaves. we had a great time there.

    Lake Wanaka is colorful, but the the rain was so heavy, we couldn’t enjoy the color at all,and around half of the leave were gone.

    Then we went to Cromwell, Alexandra, lake Dunstan and Roxburgh, most trees turned yellow,half of the leave has fallen off, but it is also great to walk on top of those golden leaves and watching falling leaves. We happened to stopped by at a fruitshop, and I strolled to the back, and found their apricot garden was so beautiful, all the leaves turn to golden yellow, and the ground was covered by golden leaves. Very impressive.

    Our last stop was Queenstown,lake hays and Arrowtown, and finally the sun came out, so we did have a nice time there, Arrowtown was still colorful, but more than half of the leaves were gone, many tree were left empty, but still very colorful, with the gound covered by golden leaves, it provided another unique feeling….Thanks very much for your advice, we had a great time there. We will do it again next year, but will be 7-10 days ealier than this time.

    Best regards,


  15. NZTravelInsider
    Posted Tuesday, 27 April 2010

    Thanks for the long and very good report, Xin. Too bad you had such bad weather. I’m happy to hear that you did get to enjoy the colours, though. While it will remain difficult to predict when exactly to go down to the South Island for autumn colours, a few days earlier might have been better in your case. In any case, you did finally get to enjoy autumn in NZ!

Comments are closed.



Similar Posts