Nz fiordland national park bird barton matthews discoverpage detail best travel time
Nz catlins coastline barton matthews5 discoverpage detail best travel time
Nz mt Seftons glaciers mount cook barton matthews20 discoverpage detail best travel time
nz-south-mount cook- sealy tarns track
Nz fiordland national park bird barton matthews discoverpage detail best travel time
Nz catlins coastline barton matthews5 discoverpage detail best travel time
Nz mt Seftons glaciers mount cook barton matthews20 discoverpage detail best travel time
nz-south-mount cook- sealy tarns track
Experience a land of diversity

When is the best time to travel to New Zealand?

New Zealand is a wonderful destination at any time of the year. With sunny and snowy winters, crisp and bright autumns, a vibrant and colourful spring and golden, warm summers. Each and every season is captivating. And each accentuates New Zealand’s stunning landscapes in a different way.

September to November - Spring means alpine flowers, baby lambs and the first swims in the sea in the north. Average daytime temperature: 18 °C. Shoulder season.

December to February - The long, sunny days of summer make it the busiest period in New Zealand for both locals and visitors. Average daytime temperature: 23 °C. High season.

March to May - Enjoy fewer crowds, mild temperatures and warm autumn colours in full bloom. Average daytime temperature: 19 °C. Shoulder season.

June to August - Spend your days up the mountain. Winter is a great time for skiers and snowboarders. Average daytime temperature: 14 °C. Low season aside from the ski areas.

“Growing up in New Zealand, I found the weather would always be more stable in March and it is much quieter.”

Brooke, Product manager

When should you travel to New Zealand?

Before we start planning your trip to New Zealand, it is important to figure out when you should go. This is based on what you are looking for in a holiday. Where you would like to go. What kinds of activities you would like to do. And of course, what the climate is up to.

Whether it may be escaping the European winter or seeing all that blossoms in the springtime. It is important to ask the question, when is the best travel time for you? Based on your desires, together with our local knowledge, we can ensure you’ll travel to New Zealand at the absolute best time - to suit you.

Walk the coastal trails of Mahurangi Regional Park | New Zealand active holiday
Walk the coastal trails of Mahurangi Regional Park
Yellow-eyed penguin | New Zealand wildlife
Yellow-eyed penguin/hoiho are unique to New Zealand
© Barton Matthews

New Zealand's weather

New Zealand has a moderate maritime climate. The weather can be unpredictable and changeable, it is possible to have four seasons in one day! The North Island is closer to the equator and therefore has a subtropical climate. And the South Island is slightly cooler.

Sunny, New Zealand

Some parts of New Zealand can receive up to 2000 hours of sunshine per year. A few of the sunniest places are Nelson and Blenheim in the South Island. And in the North Island, Bay of Plenty and Tauranga. Cities - Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are also brimming with sunshine!

All year round it is wise to protect yourself from the sun because New Zealand has clear air due to low pollution, sea breezes, and low dust levels. This makes the UV rays of the sunlight very strong, even if it is cloudy. The New Zealand sun is hot and, out of the wind, you will feel it burn. Please wear a hat and sun screen.

Oh, the glorious rain

The average rainfall is high and spread over the year. In the northern and central areas, more rain falls in winter than in summer, while winter on the South Island has the least rainfall. After it has poured rain in Milford Sound, the mountains form endless natural waterfalls. A truly incredible sight. Overall, most areas throughout New Zealand can receive between 600mm and 1600 mm of rainfall per year.

"Even on a rainy day, Fiordland National Park will leave you speechless".

Kieran, Travel specialist
River valley | New Zealand holiday
Makarora is pure New Zealand and an absolute must to visit!
© TravelEssence
Beautiful waterfalls | New Zealand nature
Spring is the best time of year to visit waterfalls
© Barton Matthews

Four seasons

Since New Zealand is located in the Southern Hemisphere, the country gets cooler the further south you travel. The seasons are opposite of the United Kingdom. The hottest months are January and February. And the coldest months of the year are July and August. Each season is beautiful and charming, it just depends on what you like!

Spring, a collection of bloom

Vibrant and colourful spring falls between September and November. Everything is in full bloom and the baby animals are born. It is a magical time to visit. It is also the waterfall season! Our favourite place to visit in spring is Milford and Doubtful Sound. Spring temperatures range from 5 degrees to 18 degrees.

Would you like to visit New Zealand in spring? It is a popular time, so we recommend to book early.

We, therefore, recommend that you travel in a different season. If you still want to travel in the New Zealand summer, book early to visit the best locations during your trip.

Driving along Milford Road is simply breathtaking
Driving along Milford Road is simply breathtaking
© Hans Wijker

"My favourite time in New Zealand is during the off-season. With lovely temperatures fewer tourists around, it's ideal."

Gerrie, Travel specialist

Summer, a beach lover’s paradise

The beaches and lakes are the perfect cool off during the summer months in New Zealand. The temperatures are then in fact between 21 degrees and 32 degrees. It is, therefore, a good time to engage in water activities such as kayaking, snorkelling, sailing and swimming with dolphins.

The red flowers of the Pohutukawa trees are in full bloom in summer and are also referred to as New Zealand's Christmas trees. But the Franz Josef Glacier is also worth a visit in the summer. The glacier is a nice place to cool down and is unique with a clear blue sky and the reflection of the sun.

From December through February, it is not only busy with international travellers, but it is also the New Zealanders' annual holiday season. Around Christmas, they head to the beaches and lakes, making this the peak season in New Zealand.

We, therefore, recommend that you travel in a different season. If you still want to travel in the New Zealand summer, book early to visit the best locations during your trip.

View of a tree and rocks over the beach | New Zealand nature
Experience the quintessential Kiwi beach lifestyle in the Coromandel
Enjoy the beauty of the Catlins | New Zealand nature
Visit the Catlins - a rugged, untouched corner of New Zealand
© Barton Matthews

The natural colours of autumn

Between March and May, autumn in New Zealand is a spectacle of natural colours. The beautiful autumn colours are truly beautiful. One of our favourite places to visit during the autumn is a charming town, Arrowtown. The trees are bursting with every shade of yellow and orange.

In terms of weather, this is one of the calmest periods of the year with temperatures between 7 degrees and 21 degrees. These temperatures are perfect for activities such as hiking, biking and kayaking. Or simply, enjoy a cup of tea on the terrace under the autumn sunshine.

From mid-April, the evenings become a lot colder and by the end of April, the higher mountain passes are often covered with snow. However, in some places, it is still often possible to go swimming! Autumn is a fantastic time to visit, with fewer people and still plenty of sunlight.

Amazing mountain view | New Zealand nature
Fall in love with the warm and inviting colours of Autumn
© Barton Matthews

Wonderful Winter

The winter months in New Zealand are truly magical. With not many tourists, you may feel like you have the whole country to yourself. The season is between June to August. With snow-capped mountains, sunshine and a bright blue sky - it’s an endless array of pure nature.

The rain falls regularly during this period too. It is the perfect time for walks in nature and an assortment of bike rides. Or, sit by the open fire in the lounge of an eco-lodge and enjoy a glass of New Zealand’s most excellent wine. While taking in the spectacular surrounding landscapes.

Depending on the area where you travel, you will experience a mild winter or a severe winter. In the north of New Zealand, temperatures are a lot higher, between 10 and 16 degrees. It is also known as the 'winterless north'. On the South Island of New Zealand, it can snow and freeze during winter. It is, therefore, the ski season in the Central Plateau, Canterbury and Central Otago regions.

"New Zealand in winter is great. With lots of areas with microclimates, many locations have lovely weather during the winter."

Andrew, Founder of TravelEssence
Iceberg near Mount Cook | New Zealand nature
Benefit from fewer crowds while travelling in autumn and winter
Autumn colours in Arrowtown | New Zealand holiday
Admire the bright colours of autumn in Arrowtown

Would you like to travel to New Zealand in winter? Or another season? We would love to talk to you further about all the possibilities.

Discover more about New Zealand

Connect with the people of the land

Māori culture in New Zealand

To understand New Zealand, its beliefs, culture and identity - it is important that you learn about the Māori… read more

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Useful facts

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At TravelEssence, we specialise in crafting custom-made holidays that take you off the beaten path and create memories to last a lifetime. We believe in connecting with the heart and soul of a place, introducing you to the locals who call it home. Engage in conversations with fascinating individuals who will share their stories, traditions, and way of life, leaving an indelible mark on your journey.