1. Travel

When to Visit New Zealand

Guide to New Zealand Seasons and Seasonal Highlights


Any time is a great time to visit New Zealand. It really depends on what you are wanting to do. The summer is the most popular time (and when most New Zealanders take their holidays) and is great for outdoor activities and sightseeing. The winter is much quieter, although it is the time to go if you enjoy skiing and snow.

Here are some of the highlights of each season in New Zealand.

Best Reasons to Visit New Zealand in Summer (December to February)

Pohutukawa Tree at Christmas, Orewa Beach, North Shore, Auckland
Image Courtesy of Malene Holm
  • The sunniest and warmest weather
  • Visit the beaches of the North Island
  • Go sailing in the Bay of Islands or the Hauraki Gulf, Auckland
  • Have a New Zealand Christmas, complete with the New Zealand Christmas Tree (Pohutukawa) and a barbeque at the beach
  • Experience the longest hours of daylight for walking and tramping
  • New Zealand's time zone is ahead of every major country in the world. Be here for New Year and you'll see it in long before any of your friends!
  • Summer in New Zealand

Best Reasons to Visit New Zealand in Autumn/Fall (March to May)

Autumn, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, South Island
Image Courtesy of Tourism New Zealand
  • The weather is cooler but still warm enough for swimming and other water sports
  • The weather is also generally more settled than at other times of the year, especially in the North Island
  • Fewer tourists are around (especially the locals) although the weather is still generally very good
  • Accommodation prices are lower than in the summer
  • Autumn leaves and the dramatic changes in scenery (especially in Central Otago)
  • Autumn/Fall in New Zealand

Best Reasons to Visit New Zealand in Winter (June to August)

Winter in Wanaka, Central Otago
Image Courtesy of New Zealand Tourism/Lake Wanaka Tourism
  • Skiing and snowboarding in the South Island and Tongariro National Park in the North Island
  • Quietest time of the year; lowest prices for airfares, accommodation and attractions
  • The magnificent glaciers and alpine mountain scenery of the Southern Alps (South Island) are seen at their best
  • Cosy restaurants and log fires after a day's skiing in Queenstown
  • Winter in New Zealand

Best Reasons to Visit New Zealand in Spring (September to November)

New Zealand Sheep and Spring Lambs
Image Courtesy of Getty Images/ML Harris
  • Spring leaves, blossoms and flowers, especially in Central Otago and southern regions of the South Island
  • The weather is warmer and the days are longer, but it's still relatively quiet for tourists
  • Reasonably priced airfares and accommodation
  • Newly born lambs - a New Zealand icon
  • Spring in New Zealand

Readers' Poll: What is Your Favorite Season to Visit New Zealand?

Readers Poll
Image Courtesy of Getty Images
When is your favorite time to visit New Zealand? Click the link below to cast your vote in our poll or to see what other travelers think:

Readers' Poll

New Zealand Weather and Climate

Check out what the climate is likely to be doing at each time of the year in New Zealand. Included is average temperatures and rainfall.

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