Best Time to Visit New Zealand

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  • Excellent
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  • JanAvg Daily: 20.2 ° CAvg Nightly: 15.9 ° C
  • FebAvg Daily: 20.2 ° CAvg Nightly: 16.5 ° C
  • MarAvg Daily: 19.6 ° CAvg Nightly: 15.3 ° C
  • AprAvg Daily: 17.6 ° CAvg Nightly: 14 ° C
  • MayAvg Daily: 15.5 ° CAvg Nightly: 12.3 ° C
  • JunAvg Daily: 13.6 ° CAvg Nightly: 10.8 ° C
  • JulAvg Daily: 12.6 ° CAvg Nightly: 9.7 ° C
  • AugAvg Daily: 13.1 ° CAvg Nightly: 10.1 ° C
  • SepAvg Daily: 13.7 ° CAvg Nightly: 10.3 ° C
  • OctAvg Daily: 15.1 ° CAvg Nightly: 11.3 ° C
  • NovAvg Daily: 16.7 ° CAvg Nightly: 12.7 ° C
  • DecAvg Daily: 18.8 ° CAvg Nightly: 14.8 ° C
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Quick Facts

  • High Tourist Season: December to February
  • Low Season: June to August
  • Best Seasons: March to May, September to November
  • All Seasons: December to February, March to May, June to August, September to November
  • New Zealand does not experience extreme temperatures found in other continental climates.
  • The hottest months are January and February, while July is the coldest. The average temperature in New Zealand decreases as you go south.
  • Be ready for a sudden downpour no matter when you visit. Snow is expected in the South Island from June to September. The North Island’s mountainous areas also see snowfall and are an attractive skiing destination.

Seasonal Overview

December to February – Summer / High Season

Find out the best time to visit New Zealand and explore nature.
Book a trip to Arthur’s Pass National Park and enjoy nature.

December, January and February are the official summer months and the best time of the year to visit New Zealand weather-wise. Summer is warm but not humid. There is plenty of sunshine, and the weather is perfect for exploring the mountains, beaches and lakes. Since December is the beginning of summer, some areas, especially in the North Island, still have spring-like weather.

Summer is the high tourist season in New Zealand, and most locals take their annual break over Christmas and flock to beaches or lakes. As a result, expect top-rated destinations to be crowded. Accommodation rates are generally higher.

  • Average Temperature: 19.9°C (67.8°F)/ 15.7°C (60.3°F)
  • Rainfall: 34.5 mm
  • Highlights: You can hire a kayak and explore the little bays and coves of the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park or go for a walk on the 51-kilometer Coast Track. It's a great idea to trek in the alpine wilderness of Arthur’s Pass National Park and discover its extraordinary terrain. You can also take a cruise around the Bay of Islands and discover its 140-plus dreamy islands. Head to Queenstown and try bungee jumping, skydiving, jet boating and paragliding.

In-depth month-wise guides:
New Zealand in December
New Zealand in January
New Zealand in February
Summer in New Zealand

March to May – Autumn / Best Season

Hop on the Taieri Gorge Railway in New Zealand.
Be mesmerized by the terrain on Taieri Gorge Railway.

These months are about long, sunny days, but the weather is cooler than summer. If you want to avoid the tourist rush, autumn is the best time to go to New Zealand. Along with summer, this is the best time to visit South Island. But the peak summer is over before March.

From April, the South Island starts to get especially colder. You’ll need to pack warm clothes in May, and some mountainous parts can see rain or snow. Autumn is considered shoulder season by tour operators. Prices start to drop and the crowds are thinner than during the peak summer season.

  • Average Temperature: 17.6°C (61.2°F)/13.9°C (56.9°F)
  • Rainfall: 41mm
  • Highlights: Enjoy rare delicacies like creamy seagull eggs at the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival. Travel to Wellington’s coast and spot orcas and dolphins. Take a train trip on the Taieri Gorge Railway, which starts from Dunedin and covers beautiful mountain scenery.

In-depth month-wise guides:
New Zealand in March
New Zealand in April
New Zealand in May

June to August – Winter / Low Season

Colorful hot spring in Rotorua in New Zealand.
Visit the hot springs on Rotorua for a relaxing experience.

June, July and August are winter months in New Zealand, and you can expect rain and snow in some parts. These may not be the best months to visit New Zealand, but you can pack your days with thrilling activities minus the crowds and get great discounts on hotels and travel.

The northern parts typically have subtropical weather, while temperatures in the alpine areas of the South Island can plunge to lows of -10°C in winter. But since most of the country is not far from the coast, also expect milder temperatures and sunshine in many areas. Towards the end of August, signs of spring are in the air.

June has the shortest days, while July is the coldest month of the year. July also sees an increase in domestic travel since school children have vacations.

  • Average Temperature: 13.1°C (55.6°F)/ 10.2°C (50.3°F)
  • Rainfall: 54mm
  • Highlights: Head for a ski vacation in Queenstown or Wanaka. Celebrate Matariki, the Maori new year, in late June or early July, marking the beginning of the winter solstice. Book a trip to Kaikoura during the peak of their winter migration and watch humpback whales. Sooth your body and mind with a dip in geothermal springs at Rotorua or Hanmer Springs.

In-depth month-wise guides:
New Zealand in June
New Zealand in July
New Zealand in August
Winter in New Zealand

September to November – Spring / Best Season

Head to Lake Tekapo in New Zealand.
Visit Lake Tekapo and see the gorgeous lupin flowers.

Temperatures in spring, September to November, are slightly higher in the North Island than in the south. After summer, you’ll find the best weather in New Zealand during spring. Spring is also perhaps the best time to visit Wellington. The weather gets more comfortable in October, and November is a dreamy month when you can start enjoying beaches and road trips.

Though it won’t be as quiet as the winter, you’ll have much of the country to yourself because the tourist rush doesn’t start until summer. September is a transition between winter and spring, and the ski resorts are open till the middle of the month.

  • Average Temperature: 15.2°C (59.3°F)/ 11.4°C (52.6°F)
  • Rainfall: 40 mm
  • Highlights: See delightful baby fur seals and penguins on the Fiordland Coast. Lake Tekapo, with its lupin flower and the backdrop of the Southern Alps, is a photographer’s dream, and the night sky here is ideal for stargazing. Enjoy the Spring Festival at Wellington’s Botanic Gardens when tulips and roses bloom, and go on a craft beer tour of the city.

In-depth month-wise guides:
New Zealand in September
New Zealand in October
New Zealand in November

Read our travel guide on how many days to spend in New Zealand. For a customized tour of New Zealand, contact our travel experts today.

New Zealand Tours
Published by Tim Green, updated on June 21, 2023

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