New Zealand in August: Dry Weather and Outdoor Fun


August is probably the driest of the winter months in New Zealand. But the weather can still be fairly cold and wet, particularly in the north. So if you are planning a trip to New Zealand in August, we recommend that you head south for drier conditions and outdoor recreation. In places like Queenstown and Wanaka, you can still enjoy snow sports like skiing and snowboarding. But if you are visiting the north, expect to spend a lot of time indoors, exploring the many cultural institutions and fine eating establishments across Auckland, Wellington, and beyond.

New Zealand Weather in August

The weather in Wellington in August is dry.
Stay in Wellington if you are looking for drier weather conditions.

Overall, the weather in New Zealand in August is cold and wet, with snowfall in both the north and south. In August, the temperature in Auckland fluctuates between 11°C and 14°C, with 19 days of rain on average. Further south, in the capital Wellington, the average temperature hovers between 10°C and 12°C. But the weather conditions are much drier, with only 13 days of rainfall across the month.

If you are journeying down to the South Island, expect snowfall and chilly weather. For example, Lake Tekapo sees the mercury barely crossing the 3°C mark. The average low temperature is -3°C, and it snows for around half the month. So, do check the local weather forecast before you visit the area.

To find out when you should book a trip, check out our guide on the best time to visit New Zealand.

Weather in New Zealand in August - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)
Avg Nightly (°C)15.916.515.31412.310.89.710.110.311.312.714.8
Avg Daily (°F)68.3668.3667.2863.6859.956.4854.6855.5856.6659.1862.0665.84
Avg Nightly (°F)60.6261.759.5457.254.1451.4449.4650.1850.5452.3454.8658.64
Avg Rainfall (mm)2729.53243.5485952514337.54047

Why Visit New Zealand in August

Skiing in New Zealand is one of the best things to do in August.
Hit the slopes in Tongariro and get your fill for adventure.
Drink refreshing craft beer during your trip to New Zealand.
Drink the finest craft beer during Beervana in Wellington.

The end of winter in New Zealand is a beautiful time to visit, especially if you are into snow sports or are trying to save some money on flights and excursions. Here are some reasons why you should visit New Zealand in August:

  • Beervana: If you are a fan of craft beer, head to Wellington in August for the Beervana festival. New Zealand has a ton of niche craft breweries, so sample, taste and find your new favorite brew.
  • Ski season: Desperate to hit the slopes? August is still part of the ski season in New Zealand. The slopes in Tongariro on the North Island finally start to open up during this month.
  • Winter games: New Zealand is the home of adventure sports and a snow sports mecca. So, it is no wonder that Queenstown hosts its own Winter Games in August. See the best of the best put their all out on the slopes and battle it out for first place.
  • Better rates: Rainy and cold conditions keep most visitors away from New Zealand in August. As a result, you will find that many major cities are a lot cheaper to stay in and tour their attractions. Unless you are heading to the ski resorts, you should be able to bag yourself an affordable deal, and some reasonable flights in August.
  • Lesser crowd: Outside of the resort towns, you are likely to find less tourists if you visit New Zealand in August. That means if you are road-tripping around New Zealand, it should be pretty easy to find hostels or hotels.

Where to go and what to do

Walk on the edge of cliffs during hikes in New Zealand.
Go on an amazing hike and view the beautiful landscape of New Zealand.

Many people opt to take a road trip around New Zealand, and a key stop on your multi-day adventure is Lake Tekapo. Visit the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd which is located right on the lake. One of the great things about the south of New Zealand is the lack of major cities or light pollution, making the region one of the best places in the world to enjoy stargazing. Once you have had your fill, journey onwards to the winter paradise of Queenstown, or hit the east coast and check out Christchurch.

If you have experience trekking or hiking in wintery conditions and know how to use crampons, the drier conditions in August are ideal for winter expeditions, especially while exploring Tongariro National Park. If you are searching for a winter trek with spectacular scenery, you will not find any place better than New Zealand.

The coastal areas of New Zealand tend to be warmer than inland during the winter months. This means if you are in New Zealand and want to experience nature, it is a great time to go whale watching at Kaikoura. A popular whale-watching spot, the cooler conditions bring migrating whales north from the Antarctic on the way to Tonga.

So, if you are visiting New Zealand during the winter months, August is definitely the driest of the three. You can stargaze in Lake Tekapo, hunker down and explore the craft bars of Wellington, spot a whale or two off the eastern coast, or check out the fresh powder on the slopes. Get in touch with our local travel experts via our customized tours in New Zealand.

Other articles:
New Zealand in July
New Zealand in September

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  • Geoff Venning
    Geoff Venning
    Travel Expert in New Zealand
  • David Tupper
    David Tupper
    Travel Expert in Australia & New Zealand
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