Best time to visit New Zealand

Flip northern hemisphere weather on its head and you've got nz, with more seasonal variation on south island than in the sub-tropical north.
New Zealand is mild with the west coast of South Island, Milford Sound especially, getting maximum moisture. The island’s east coast is alive with colour in spring (Sep-Nov) and autumn (Mar-May); both seasons are the best time to visit New Zealand. Jun-Aug is great for winter sports, and traveling outside peak season offers more affordable accommodation albeit with colder temps. Dec-Feb is all about orcas in Kaikoura (dolphins can be seen almost year-round), with Kiwis on vacation or enjoying days out at the beach.

Auckland Weather Chart

 
MIN °C
MAX °C
RAIN (mm)
JAN
17
23
30
FEB
17
23
30
MAR
15
22
40
APR
13
20
40
MAY
11
17
50
JUN
9
15
50
JUL
8
14
60
AUG
8
15
50
SEP
10
16
40
OCT
12
17
40
NOV
13
19
40
DEC
15
21
30

New Zealand, month by month

Christmas in New Zealand is hot and Boxing Day (26th Dec) onwards is the traditional time for Kiwi families to hit the lakes or the beaches. The busiest locations over the festive period on North Island are Northland, Coromandel Peninsula, the Bay of Plenty, Taupo and Rotorua lake districts. Nelson, Queenstown and Arrowtown on South Island also get busy, but not quite as hectic as North Island. November, December, January, February and March are peak months for tourists so if you’re looking for more affordable prices and more space on hiking paths consider visiting either side of summer. Mid-March or mid-October are the best times to see migratory birds with Miranda on North Island and Farewell Spit on South Island witnessing thousands of species flocking to their shores. Out of New Zealand’s nine ‘Great Walks’ only the 80km Heaphy Track is open all year round with peak walking season lasting from October through to April. April and May are absolutely gorgeous with autumnal colours combining with good weather and off peak prices before the winter kicks in during June, July and August. May, June and July are also the best times to watch bottlenose dolphins and orcas around the Bay of Islands whereas sperm whales and humpbacks can be spotted off the coast of Kaikoura. Spring is another great time to visit New Zealand with September and October offering longer, warmer days, comfortably cool nights, tree blossom and snow-capped mountains.

Our top New Zealand Vacation

New Zealand hiking vacation

New Zealand hiking vacation

Explore New Zealand's incredible landscapes

From US $7949 20 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2019: 7 Dec
2020: 4 Jan, 25 Jan, 15 Feb, 7 Mar
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about New Zealand or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

What happens when in New Zealand

Caroline Stafford at our New Zealand supplier Silver Fern Vacations shares her favourite foodie festivals: “Take your pick of the many, many food festivals that New Zealand has to offer throughout the year. Our personal favourites are the Marlborough food and wine festival in February; Toast Martinborough wine, food and music festival in November; Hokitika Wild Foods Festival in March and Bluff Oyster and Food Festival in May.”
Miles Clark, New Zealand expert at our supplier MoaTrek, shares his local knowledge:
“New Zealand is small but there is an amazing variety of scenery accessible without driving huge distances. If a traveler can budget three weeks for a tour they really have a good chance of seeing the best of NZ at a relaxed pace. November to March is peak season but April is also a great time to travel as there’s still good weather but less people. But do pack clothing for all weather possibilities, regardless of season.”

FESTIVALS & EVENTS

Did you know about...?

Matariki

Matariki is a Maori celebration of the first annual sighting of the Pleiades star cluster which occurs between late May and early June. This astronomical event signals the advent of the Maori New Year with numerous performing arts displays, kite flying festivals and lantern parades held across New Zealand alongside winter carnivals and family feasts.
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: Curioso] [Weather intro: Dave Young] [Season tips: Paul Bica] [Did you know about: Le Loi]
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