16 January 2019

When is the best time to visit New Zealand?

Ever wondered when the best time to visit New Zealand is? There’s no simple answer.
It depends on your weather preferences and what type of experiences you’re chasing.

The climate is varied throughout the country due to its differing landscapes – from alpine mountain ranges, lush rainforests, desert plains to golden beaches.
Temperatures decrease the further south you travel, with the yearly average for the North Island being 16°C and for the South Island 10°C.

New Zealand is located between subtropical climates to the north and faces icy blasts from Antarctica in the south, so the weather can change unexpectedly and dramatically. Like a good scout, be prepared for anything!


Summer is generally the most popular time for visitors travelling to New Zealand and if you like water activities and going to the beach it might be the right time for you.
Think warm, long days with average daytime temperatures ranging between 20-25°C.
New Zealand benefits from daylight savings in summer, so it’s often light until past 9pm.


Autumn (especially March) can be a great time to travel around New Zealand as many of the summer crowds have left, tourist attractions charge off-peak rates and the weather is still warm.
The weather starts to cool from April onwards, bringing rich red and orange autumn leaves. This time of year is perfect for hiking and outdoor activities, though it does see an increase in rainfall.


Unless you really dislike the cold, winter can be an awesome time to travel New Zealand. The tallest mountains are covered in soft white snow and the icy-fresh mornings are seriously photogenic.
Both islands of New Zealand offer world-class ski fields, so if you’re into snow sports and fancy skiing on an active volcano, it’s a no-brainer. The average daytime temperatures range between 10-16°C in winter.


In spring, New Zealand sees an influx of baby lambs, colourful flowers in bloom and snow on the mountains gradually fade as days turn warmer. This is a great time of year to go white water rafting and to spot more active wildlife.
By November, it begins to feel like summer. This is another great month to travel before the tourists flock in from the beginning of December.

Wondering what to pack? Check out my Ultimate New Zealand Packing List.


Located up north, New Zealand’s largest city Auckland sees some of the highest average temperatures in the country. Summer days can be sticky and humid at an average high of 25°C or more, while winters are mild and damp with an average high of 16°C.


New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, is located on the south coast of the North Island and nicknamed ‘Windy Wellington’ for its strong southerlies. It has a mild climate and doesn’t see extreme temperatures. Summer highs average 20°C, while winter highs average 12°C.


The tourism capital of the South Island, Queenstown, is a popular holiday destination at any time of the year. During the winter, Queenstown has snow-capped mountains and crisp, clear days, while during the summer, the days are warm and can reach 26°C or more. Summer highs tend to average 23°C and winter highs average 13°C.

So the answer is.. anytime is a great time to visit New Zealand! Better yet is to get a working holiday Visa if you can, and experience every season.

If I had to pick when to travel myself, it would be March and November (warmish temperatures and fewer crowds). For the South Island, I would also throw in August for those beautiful winter days - there's less rain in the winter months down south too.

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Looking for more travel info? Check out my other posts on New Zealand.

Happy Travels,

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