When to go to New Zealand

Ask 3 different people and you will get 4 different answers. The truth is, it is always a good time to visit New Zealand. But depending on what you are after some seasons might suit you better than others.

Located in the southern hemisphere in the the middle of the South Pacific, New Zealand’s weather is virtually impossible to predict. The New Zealand Summer takes place during the European winter as all seasons are swaps with the ones on the northern hemisphere. The area in New Zealand you choose to stay pretty much determines the conditions you face. While the north of the country is classified as sub-tropical climate, you will find cool breezes in the south with severe alpine conditions in the mountainous areas.

Below you will find a quick overview of the seasons and what to expect by them. Then it is up to you to decide what works best for you.

  • Summer (December - Febuary)

    New Zealand SummerNew Zealand’s summer months are December to February, bringing high temperatures and sunshine. Days are long and sunny, nights are mild. Summer is an excellent time for walking in the bush and a variety of other outdoor activities. New Zealand’s many gorgeous beaches are ideal for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, boating, and water sports during summer.

    Temperatures: 21 to 25 degrees Celsius

  • Autumn (March - May)

    New Zealand AutumnWhile temperatures are a little cooler than summer, the weather can be excellent, and it is possible to swim in some places until April.

    While New Zealand’s native flora is evergreen, there are many introduced deciduous trees. Colourful changing leaves make autumn a scenic delight, especially in regions such as Central Otago and Hawke’s Bay, which are known for their autumn splendour.

    Temperatures: 18 to 25 degrees Celsius

  • Winter (June - August)

    New Zealand WinterThe New Zealand winter brings colder weather to much of the country, and more rain to most areas in the North Island. Mountain ranges in both islands become snow-covered, providing beautiful vistas and excellent skiing.

    While the South Island has cooler winter temperatures, some areas of the island experience little rainfall in winter, so this is an excellent time to visit glaciers and mountains.

    Temperatures: 10 to 16 degrees Celsius
    Frost & heavy snowfall in the south

  • Spring (September - November)

    Travel, New Zealand,New Zealand’s spring weather can range from cold and frosty to warm and hot.

    Both Alexandra in Central Otago and Hastings in Hawke’s Bay celebrate spring with a blossom festival. If you’re into white water rafting, this is the time when melting spring snow makes river water levels excitingly high.

    Temperatures: 16 to 19 degrees Celsius

Best season for certain activities
MonthPopular ActivitiesUnique Seasonal DestinationsSeasonal Tips
SummerMountain biking, Outdoor Food & Wine, Surfing, Hiking, Beach Picnics, Kayaking, Snorkeling, Sailing, Swimming (with dolphines)Malborough Sounds, Cathedral Cove, Nelson, AhiparaMake reservations in advance, Don’t forget the sunscreen
AutumnHike Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Photography, Take the Tranz Alpine rail journey, Hiking, FishingHokianga, Central Otago, Ruhapehu, Hawke’s BayDon’t forget your snow chains when crossing the south island alpine passes with a car
WinterSkiing, Te Papa National Museum, Hot Pools, Visit an All Blacks Rugby GameQueenstown, Tauranga, Rotorua, RuapehuBook your All Blacks game in advance
SpringWhale watching, Tour the Milford Road, Wander on the classic New Zealand Wine trailOkarito, Whanganui, Golden Bay, HamiltonYou may need to book in advance at some locations, Check for temporary closure of the Milford Road