Tales from the Trail

When is the best time to visit New Zealand

It may be known as the Land of the Long White cloud but there is plenty of beautiful weather to enjoy in New Zealand.
When considering the best time to go, the first thing to remember of course is that, as a southern hemisphere country, the seasons are reversed to ours. So when it's winter here it's summer in New Zealand and vice-versa. Which makes escaping the winter gloom here all the more attractive.
The next thing to remember is that. like us, New Zealand has a maritime climate, so its not unusual to experience four seasons in one day!
Here's our rundown of the weather in New Zealand season by season to help you chose when to go.


September - November

Spring is a wonderful time to be in New Zealand with warm sunny days, uncrowded trails and the countryside bursting into life. Colourful wildflowers carpet the countryside and baby wildlife can be seen everywhere from gambolling lambs to playful seal pups. Hotel prices are significantly lower than summer and availability also much better, both here and in campsites all over the country. With the Spring sun melting the winter snowfall and glaciers, rivers are at full flood and waterfalls are at their most spectacular so it's a wonderful time to be seeing them in Firodland for example.  


Hawkes Bay Food & Wine Classic, November

Toast Martinborough, November

Toast of Auckland, November

 City September October November
°C R °C R °C R
 Auckland  16 10 18 9 20 9
 Christchurch  14 4 17 5 19 5
 °C Average daily maximum temperature                                                          R Monthly rainfall in cm



December to February

During the southern hemisphere summer, people the world over flock to see New Zealand under a blanket of blue sky and escaping the winter at home is an enticing prospect. 

Average day time highs are a comfortable 21°C to 24°C so this is a great time to hit the beach with a picnic. Now is also the time to make the most of the huge range of incredible outdoor activities that the country is famous for, whether it be hiking or cycling, sailing or kayaking.


Marlborough Wine & Food Festival, February

Napier Art Deco Weekend, February

 City December January February
°C R °C R °C R
 Auckland  22 9  23 8 24 8
 Christchurch  21 5  22 5 22 4
 °C Average daily maximum temperature                                                          R Monthly rainfall in cm



March - May

Autumn is, in many people's opinion, the best time to go New Zealand. With many long, sunny days left to enjoy, fewer people to contend with at prime scenic spots, better hotel and campsite availability and, perhaps best of all, lower prices than the high season, it can be the perfect time to visit. 

New Zealand’s warm, still autumnal days are perfectly suited to outdoor exploration. And the scenery comes alive in the autumn light with deeply shadowed mountains and ochre fields perfect for photography. Aside from the Central Otago region on the South island, you won’t see a blaze of autumnal fall foliage in the forests, but the abundant vineyards do look beautiful.


Hokitika Wildfoods Festival, March

Bluff Oyster Festival, May

 City March April May
°C R °C R °C R
 Auckland  22 9 20 10 17 11
 Christchurch  20 5 17 6 14 6
 °C Average daily maximum temperature                                                          R Monthly rainfall in cm



June - August

Temperatures drop in the winter months but not to the same extent we see at home, especially in the North Island with average daytime highs of 14°C or 15°C in Auckland, compared to winter temps of 7°C and 8°C in London for example. 

New Zealand’s southern mountains receive a blanket of snow and the snowfields around Queenstown and Wanaka are awash with happy skiers and snow-boarders. 


Queenstown Winter Festival, June

Wellington on a Plate, August

 City June July August
°C R °C R °C R
 Auckland  15 13 14 13 15 12
 Christchurch  11 6 11 7 12 6
 °C Average daily maximum temperature                                                          R Monthly rainfall in cm


For inspiration on where to go, what to see and what to do in this magnifcent country visit our New Zealand Holidays pages

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