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The country is a little quieter, queues a little shorter, picnic spots more serene and prices a little cheaper. The main attraction of autumn, however, are the colours and contrasts of the scenery. Here are 6 breathtaking places we'd suggest visiting on your autumn travels in New Zealand.
Mount Cook / Aoraki (Mackenzie Region)
New Zealand's highest mountain at 3754m, Mount Cook dominates the Southern Alps. Set amongst 22 other snowcapped peaks over 3000m, the Mount Cook National park and adjoining McKenzie Basin provides some of the most picturesque landscapes in New Zealand. With a large number of walks around the lower slopes and throughout the valley, there are many great views to be had just a few minutes from camp. Yes, that's right, you can camp right at the base for the ultimate breakfast view!
Lake Dunstan (Otago)
A serene body of water surrounded by golden hills, autumn is undoubtedly the best time to visit. The warm autumn rays bring this place to life, masking it's secret - the town submerged at the southern end of the lake. With a huge supply of fresh locally picked fruit from the local orchards, this is a great place to take a break on your road trip with the family and soak up quintessential Otago.
Lake Pukaki (Mackenzie Region)
If you've had a friend travel New Zealand, chances are they'll have shown you this shot in their holiday snaps. With good reason too - it's a classic scene! The turquoise water is created by glacial flour (extremely finely ground rock particles from surrounding glaciers) fed from the 600m thick and 29km long Tasman Glacier, which creates a stunning contrast to the snow-capped mountains behind. Best visited in autumn as the colours of the cooler and cloud banded days create an ever-changing scene to feast your eyes on.
Lindis Pass (Otago)
If you're driving from Christchurch to Queenstown, chances are you'll go through Lindis Pass. Often overlooked as a destination, it's well worth the stop off at the saddle and hike up to get undisturbed views over this tussock filled landscape. A sprinkling of snow during autumn creates a contrast of colour and texture to admire while you grab a cup of tea and enjoy the view.
Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown (Otago)
Formed 15,000 years ago by glaciers gouging out rocky valleys, Lake Wakatipu is one of New Zealand's only tidal lakes (or more correctly lake with a standing wave). A walk along the lake-side is a must do, soaking up the colours of the golden-leaved trees against the clear waters. For sunset, Queenstown Gardens is the place to go - take the camera and snap away while the sun disappears behind the end of the lake creating all manner of colours in the sky.
Milford Sound (Fiordland)
Located in the heart of Fiordland, Milford Sound has been coined the "eighth wonder of the world." With mountain peaks that scrape the sky, and waterfalls that cascade more than 1000m, during rain this place comes alive! Waterfalls swell and multiply, creating a true feast for the eyes. With all this rainwater runoff, tannins are washed from the surrounding forests into the fiord, creating a 6m top layer of freshwater (on top of 500m of saltwater) and providing an eerie inky black colouring to the water after heavy rainfall.