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Lake Hawea, New Zealand

When is the best time to visit New Zealand?

There’s not one best time to visit New Zealand – the country’s rugged beauty and varied landscapes make it a spectacular destination to visit at any time of year. The summer months of December to March bring long, bright, and sunny days, ideal for visiting the lovely beaches or enjoying the many outdoor activities available, such as hiking and mountain biking.

June through to September is likely to bring snow to the South Island, as well as some of the North Island’s more mountainous areas, attracting skiers from far and wide. The spring and autumn months herald milder weather and fewer visitors, but are still very pleasant times to visit. A fair sprinkling of rain can be expected throughout the year.

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My favorite month to visit is March when the crowds of summer have departed, leaving quieter walking trails, empty beaches and good availability in many of the small boutique lodges. The temperatures are pleasant and there is plenty of sunshine. Across the South Island, trees gradually start to change color, providing a dazzling display of red and gold foliage.

Christopher, Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific Specialist

New Zealand Climate Guide

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Auckland 75°F 3" 75°F 4" 73°F 3" 70°F 4" 64°F 5" 61°F 5" 59°F 5" 59°F 6" 63°F 4" 64°F 4" 68°F 4" 72°F 4"
Blenheim 73°F 2" 73°F 1" 70°F 2" 64°F 2" 59°F 3" 55°F 2" 55°F 3" 55°F 3" 59°F 2" 63°F 2" 66°F 2" 70°F 2"
Christchurch 72°F 2" 72°F 2" 68°F 2" 63°F 2" 57°F 3" 52°F 2" 52°F 3" 54°F 2" 57°F 1" 63°F 2" 66°F 2" 70°F 2"
Dunedin 66°F 3" 66°F 3" 63°F 3" 59°F 3" 54°F 3" 48°F 3" 48°F 3" 50°F 3" 55°F 2" 59°F 3" 61°F 3" 64°F 3"
Kaikoura 70°F 2" 70°F 2" 68°F 4" 63°F 3" 59°F 3" 54°F 3" 54°F 4" 54°F 4" 57°F 2" 61°F 3" 64°F 3" 68°F 2"
Marlborough Sounds 70°F 4" 70°F 3" 66°F 4" 63°F 5" 57°F 6" 52°F 6" 52°F 6" 52°F 6" 55°F 5" 59°F 5" 63°F 5" 66°F 4"
Milford Sound 64°F 12" 66°F 8" 61°F 13" 55°F 11" 50°F 11" 43°F 9" 43°F 9" 46°F 9" 50°F 12" 55°F 13" 57°F 11" 61°F 12"
Queenstown 72°F 3" 72°F 2" 66°F 3" 59°F 3" 52°F 3" 46°F 3" 45°F 2" 48°F 2" 55°F 3" 59°F 3" 64°F 2" 68°F 3"
Rotorua 73°F 4" 73°F 4" 70°F 5" 64°F 4" 59°F 5" 55°F 6" 54°F 5" 55°F 6" 59°F 5" 63°F 5" 66°F 5" 70°F 5"
Wellington 68°F 3" 70°F 2" 66°F 4" 63°F 4" 57°F 5" 54°F 5" 52°F 6" 52°F 5" 55°F 4" 59°F 4" 63°F 4" 66°F 4"

Month-by-month guide to traveling in New Zealand

Lake Taupo, New Zealand

Visiting New Zealand in January - February

The warm sunny days of summer make this an ideal time to visit, particularly for snorkeling or outdoor pursuits, but it can be harder to find accommodation. School vacations run into the first two weeks of January, while tourists arrive in large numbers to make the most of the warm climate until the end of February. It's also a great time to spot dolphins and fur seals off the cost of the South Island.

Events & Festivals

  • Marlborough Food and Wine Festival (February): This is New Zealand's longest running wine festival, right in the heart of the world-famous wine producing region. Read more »
  • Rugby Sevens in Wellington (January to February): Rugby Sevens lights up Wellington as thousands flock to watch the country's favorite sporting event. Read more »
  • Wellington Fringe Festival (February to March): Wellington Fringe Festival brings masses of entertainment in the form of music, comedy and theatre to venues across the city. Read more »

Why travel with Audley?

Trip ideas and travel guides to exploring New Zealand