When to Go to New Zealand
With its enduring natural beauty shining bright throughout the year, the best time to visit New Zealand is whenever you can. Even in the coldest, wettest months (June to August), some parts of the country are at the optimal time to visit. And so, whatever time of year you’re planning to visit, New Zealand will show you a good time. Just remember as New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are opposite to the UK, so be sure to pack your swimsuit in December and winter coat in June.
Spring: September to November
Spring is one of our favourite times to visit New Zealand, particularly because the weather is still pleasant but it's a much cheaper, and less crowded, time of year to visit. This time of year is also ideal for enjoying the great outdoors, hiking in the national parks and seeing the country's flowers in bloom. During this season, temperatures tend to range between 10 and 20ᵒC and rain is common in October, so be sure to pack for the elements.
Best places to visit in spring:
- Mount Cook
- Franz Josef Glacier
- Lake Tekapo to see the lupins in bloom
- Hawke’s Bay for the Food and Wine Classic
Summer: December to February
With temperatures reaching up to 25ᵒC and country-wide school holidays, summer is considered the high season for New Zealand. Although, with a population of 4.4 million (half that of London), you won’t exactly have to battle crowds. Yes, even at its peak period during Christmas and New Year, New Zealand is still relatively crowd-free, with plenty of room to enjoy the beaches, bays and wide-open spaces. To make the most of the warm weather and sunshine, we recommend exploring the North Island.
Best places to visit in summer:
- Bay of Islands
- Auckland for the Seafood Festival
- Lake Taupo
Autumn: March to May
Following the popular summer season, autumn is still a very pleasant time to visit New Zealand, when you can enjoy many of the attractions to yourself. To indulge in the cooler temperatures and changing foliage, we recommend exploring the South Island, especially places like Abel Tasman National Park which offers ideal hiking weather in the fall.
Best places to visit in autumn:
- Waikato for the Balloons over Waikato festival
- Abel Tasman National Park
- Arrowtown for a patchwork of autumn leaves (pictured above)
Winter: June to August
Winter is another popular time to visit New Zealand, with the hotspot of the season being Queenstown for skiing. It’s also one of the best times to see wildlife, specifically migrating humpback whales in Kaikoura and penguins and seals in Milford Sound. Winter in New Zealand also marks rugby season so, if you’re a fan, be sure to book in advance to witness world-class rugby played out in front of a passionate crowd. Temperatures during this time can average around 10-15ᵒC, with snow common around the Southern Alps.
Best places to visit in winter:
- Milford Sound for ideal wildlife watching
- Kaikoura for whale watching
- Queenstown for ski season
- Auckland for restaurant month