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“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.” ~ John Howard Bryant

 

Winds of change gently kiss the West Coast, soft and calm, bringing stillness. A shortening of days subtly closes the gap between the rising and setting of a sun that maintains its warmth. The morning shade is drawn to reveal a light dusting of snow upon the peaks behind a damp forest glistening with fresh dew. Calm, bath-like waters beckon to be swam in before enjoying a cool fireside evening under a star-riddled sky. 

 

Autumn has arrived. 

 

Lake Matheson Fox Glacier

 

“The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”

~Lauren DeStefano

 

The Summer season is like a party for all to enjoy, where guests are too numerous to count and hosts miraculously function amidst the chaos. A party deserving of both anticipation and preparation and one that happens every year. 

 

But for this year, the party’s over. 

 

As school resumes and visitors return home to their routines, the pace in South Westland eases. Sure, people continue to visit, just in much fewer numbers. Activities, restaurants, and accommodations are still operating, but the roads leading to them are much quieter. This means having all the same options as summer, minus the crowds!

 

Fox Glacier Guides, West Coast, NZ

 

 

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” 

~ Albert Camus

 

As in Spring, Autumn is a time of year to experience Glacier Country more intimately. Locals begin taking days off to enjoy their backyard while still offering their services to those passing through.

 

Fish still bite on Lake Mapourika. Vessels large and small, dwarfed by the Southern Alps, continue to glide across the Okarito Lagoon. Tours by foot and air carry on exploring the wonders of nature reserves, glaciers and historic villages. The latest additions to the Rowi (Ōkārito Brown Kiwi) population are settling in, and shooting stars dance overhead at a more reasonable hour. 

 

Okarito Kayaks, West Coast, NZ

 

Admittedly, coming from a position of pure bias, this magical season is the best time to visit South Westland. So, come to Glacier Country this autumn for a solid balance of peace and adventure! Unless, of course, you’re a party animal waiting for next summer. Whatever the case, we look forward to seeing you soon. 

 

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Mike Bilodeau is a freelance writer focused on ecotourism and sustainable travel.