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Best Time to Visit New Zealand

Book your 2022/23 holiday to New Zealand with Wendy Wu Tours

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New Zealand’s rugged beauty and varied landscapes make it a spectacular destination to visit at any time of year.  

The summer months in New Zealand are the months of December to February, which bring warmer temperatures and longer hours of daylight that are 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. 

Summer

New Zealand’s summer (December to February) is the most popular time to visit as this is when you will experience the best overall weather throughout the year. It is the perfect time to make the most of the sun, sea and sand with an average temperature during the day of 21°C to 27°C.  

Autumn

Autumn in New Zealand (March to May) is the perfect time for hiking and outdoors.  With the weather getting a bit cooler and the days a bit shorter, the days are still sunny with an average temperature during the day of 17°C to 21°C.  You will notice the beautiful changes in colours with the autumn leaves turning to reds, golden and brown especially in the Otago region in the South Island and Hawkes Bay in the North Island.

Winter

In the winter (June to August), it is considered the best time to visit if you are passionate about snow sport with some great options of ski fields in both the North and the South Island (Tongariro National Park in the North Island and The Remarkables in the South Island just to name a couple).  You may experience more rain in the North Island and with average temperature during the day of 1°C to 15°C, the South Island being significantly colder than the North Island.

Spring

The spring (September to November) in New Zealand is when the lambs are frolicking, beautiful flowers blooming, the sun is shining, and the air is fresh. The days are sunny but crisp with cooler temperatures with an average during the day of 18°C in the north and 16°C in the south.  It is a great time to travel and get outdoors and you won’t need to compete with the crowds of the summer high season.

 

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Visiting New Zealand in January

One of the best months to travel to New Zealand with long, warm, sunny days.  This month is the peak time for tourism as it is the best time of year for weather, but it is also New Zealand’s school summer holidays.

Festivals and Events

  • Food & Wine Festivals

    January is known for its Food & Wine festivals as it is a time where you can enjoy the outdoors along with some great tasting of local food and wine and most of the time with a bit of live music to add to the lively summer atmosphere.  You will find festivals scattered throughout the country over the month of January like the Avocado Food & Wine Festival in Katikati or the Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration in Queenstown!

  • We have no events in January matching your criteria, please update your preferences.

Visiting New Zealand in February

Probably the best month to travel to New Zealand as it has the great summer weather just like January of long, warm, sunny days however the school holidays are over so you will find it may not be as crowded with the local tourists.  

Festivals and Events

  • Waitangi Day

    Every year on the 6 February, New Zealand marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi where the British Crown and over 500 Māori chiefs signed what is often considered to be New Zealand’s founding document in 1840.  Waitangi Day is recognised as New Zealand’s national day and is an important marker in the country’s history.
  • Art Deco Weekend

    One of New Zealand’s largest and most iconic even, Napier's annual highlight is the Art Deco Weekend held on the third weekend of February.  The whole region turns back the clock and dresses in its Deco finest with vintage vehicles and planes, Gatsby picnics and jazz concerts, parades and dancing in the street, good food and wine are just some of more than 100 events that celebrate the city's unique heritage.

  • We have no events in Feburary matching your criteria, please update your preferences.

Visiting New Zealand in March

With comfortable temperatures and blue skies, March is the beginning of autumn but can still have the summer feeling.  Everything quietens down as locals go back to school and work, making it a great time to explore and still enjoy the warmer weather.

Festivals and Events

  • New Zealand International Festival of Arts

    The largest and most prestigious event on the New Zealand arts calendar features top overseas and national artists and entertainers getting together in Wellington. A vibrant mix of all art forms, from contemporary dance to fine music and theatre.

  • We have no events in March matching your criteria, please update your preferences.

Visiting New Zealand in April

With the days starting to get shorter as it is the end of day light savings, the weather also starts to get a little colder with higher chances of rain.

Festivals and Events

  • ANZAC Day

    The date 25 April marks the anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand soldiers – the ANZACS – on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915. On this day, ceremonies are held at war memorials throughout New Zealand which are modelled on a military funeral to acknowledge the sacrifice of all those who have died in warfare and the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.  

  • Warbirds over Wanaka

    Three days of high-octane aviation excitement at Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow, now classified as one of the best Warbirds air shows in the world. It combines classic vintage and veteran aircraft, machinery, fire engines, and tractors with dynamic Air Force displays and aerobatic teams in the natural amphitheatre of the Upper Clutha Basin.

  • We have no events in April matching your criteria, please update your preferences.

Visiting New Zealand in May

With autumn in full swing, and glorious displays of colourful foliage everywhere. The weather is cool and clear, getting chillier as the month continues. Sights at this time tend to be much quieter making it an excellent time to explore.

Festivals and Events

  • Matariki

    Matariki is the Māori New Year, which coincides with the time when the Pleiades constellation is visible. It rises in midwinter and for many Māori, it heralds the start of a new year. Traditionally, it was a time for remembering the dead, and celebrating new life. Since 2000 there has been renewed interest in Matariki, and a diverse range of cultural celebrations are now held throughout the country.

    Image Credit: Becky Nunes. Hokianga, Northland.

  • We have no events in May matching your criteria, please update your preferences.

Visiting New Zealand in June

June is the first month of winter in New Zealand and although the weather isn’t at its warmest or driest (in some regions), you can still have an amazing time in New Zealand as long as you are prepared!  In the north, this means rain and cool temperatures. In the south, colder temperatures on the coast (although snow at sea level is rare), and snow in the mountains. 

Festivals and Events

  • Fieldays Hamilton

    Whether you are from in town or out in the country, a Fieldays veteran or visiting for the first time, Fieldays has something for everyone. One of the largest agricultural shows in the world, exhibiting the best of New Zealand agriculture, horticulture, floriculture, and forestry products.

  • We have no events in June matching your criteria, please update your preferences.

Visiting New Zealand in July

July is the middle of winter and is officially one of the coldest months of the year however there are still great things to do in New Zealand in winter if you know where to go. July is low tourism season in many parts of New Zealand, except for places where you can ski. July is low season in the North Island, but much busier in the South Island.

Festivals and Events

  • Queenstown Winter Festival

    Touted as one of the leading mountain resorts of the world with stunning snow-capped mountains, crystal clear lake and crisp blue-sky days, Queenstown is the ideal place to stage a winter festival. Queenstown officially goes mad with the ten-day festival spanning over two weekends with a host of crazy mountain events and street entertainment.

  • Whale Watching

    July is also a prime time for whale watching as humpback and sperm whales migrate north from the cool Antarctic waters to the coastal town of Kaikōura.

    Image Credit: Miles Holden. Kaikōura, Canterbury.

  • We have no events in July matching your criteria, please update your preferences.

Visiting New Zealand in August

August is the last month of winter and along with July, this is the coldest month. Weather in the north is likely to be cool and wet, and in the south, cold and wet or snowy in the mountains. While this isn't peak tourism season throughout most of the country, it is a good time to get to the ski fields.

Festivals and Events

  • Bay of Islands Jazz and Blues Festival

    Every year jazz and blues musicians gather from all over New Zealand and overseas for the annual Bay of Islands Jazz and Blues Festival providing live entertainment of quality jazz at various places around Paihia and Russell, night and day for this three-day event.

  • We have no events in August matching your criteria, please update your preferences.

Visiting New Zealand in September

September is the first month of spring, which means rising temperatures, melting snow, blooming flowers, and bouncing lambs everywhere. September is shoulder season and is a good time to visit if you want to avoid crowds and do not mind the slightly cooler temperatures.

Festivals and Events

  • World of Wearable Art

    The World of Wearable Art (WOW) Show is New Zealand’s single largest stage production and is the leading wearable art design competition in the world, held in Wellington. The garments that take the stage are made from every conceivable material including rope, rubber, feathers, plastic and latex and are brought to life in this spectacular, highly choreographed theatre production with sophisticated lighting and stage technology.

  • We have no events in September matching your criteria, please update your preferences.

Visiting New Zealand in October

October is the middle of spring and temperatures can get quite warm in many places in the middle of the day which can be perfect for outdoor activities however, overnight and early-morning temperatures can still feel quite cold. October is still classed as shoulder season and is a good time to visit if you want to avoid crowds.

Festivals and Events

  • Labour Day

    Labour Day is a public holiday so many workers in New Zealand take the time off to relax and enjoy their spare time. It is on a Monday, so some people make the most of the long weekend by going on holiday out of town. Street parades and protest marches to voice out the importance of workers' rights are also held on or around Labour Day.

  • We have no events in October matching your criteria, please update your preferences.

Visiting New Zealand in November

November is a pleasant time to travel as it is late spring and temperatures can be quite summery in the middle of the day, but you should still expect colder nights and early mornings.  November is shoulder season and with relatively good weather and warmer temperatures so there are more tourists about in the sightseeing areas.

Festivals and Events

  • Auckland Food Show

    One of the most popular and highly regarded food shows takes place at the Auckland Showgrounds and is a foodies dream with four days packed with the tastiest food, most delicious drinks, essential cooking equipment and show specials that are too good to pass up!  Over 320 vendors will showcase the best local talent and produce as well as some delicious international cuisines too.

  • We have no events in November matching your criteria, please update your preferences.

Visiting New Zealand in December

December is the start of the summer season and with that the warmer weather is arriving however it can still be a bit cooler and wetter than the later summer months.  It is the start of the peak season and by mid-December, the school summer holidays will begin meaning there will be more domestic tourists about for their summer holidays especially over the Christmas and New Year period.

Festivals and Events

  • Christmas & New Year

    Christmas and New Year are major holidays in New Zealand with most business’s closing 25th December, 01st and 02nd January.  Many New Zealanders have the week between these public holidays off work and tend to spend their time with family or travelling out of town for a holiday.  A lot of New Zealanders celebrate New Year's Eve on 31st December and if you want to see the first sunrise in the world, visit the small city of Gisborne, on the east coast of the North Island.

  • We have no events in December matching your criteria