When is the best time to visit New Zealand?

Last Updated On December 02, 2022

The best time to visit New Zealand is December to February, for golden weather, making trekking and wildlife-watching completely joyful. Spring (September to November) and fall (March to May) are often mild and dry, with vibrant landscapes, while the shoulder months in the South Island can be pretty dreary. The months of December and March are ideal for spotting orcas off the coast of Kaikoura (dolphins can be seen year-round). The grape harvest in New Zealand's wine regions begins in February, and fall is a popular time for picturesque excursions in Fjordland.

green grass field near a blue lake New Zealand Landscape Photography

There are no off-base opportunities to visit New Zealand! From its almost tropical northern coastlines to the gurgling mud pits of Rotorua to its chilly southern pinnacles, the possibilities for adventure in this beautiful country are virtually limitless. Temperatures stay relatively stable throughout the year so that you may adventure in any month. (However, if you're exploring the South Island during the colder months, you'll need to bundle up.)

Summer is pleasantly hot but not oppressively so, and it allows you to experience everything New Zealand has to offer—climbing, trekking, kayaking, boating, and more. Shoulder seasons are fantastic if they work with your schedule, delivering all the excitement and gorgeous climate while cutting a percentage of the groups.

Weather in New Zealand

New Zealand's geography spans from sandy beaches to mountain ranges, fjord-like sounds to rolling green hills, and glacial lakes to vineyard-filled valleys. It's crucial to remember that different topography means different temperatures and weather patterns. 

Except for real tropical areas, the climate in New Zealand can be defined as quite diverse, ranging from dry to subtropical. You can experience all four seasons in New Zealand in a single day, so be prepared.

Regardless of how variable the weather in New Zealand is, the weather is generally pleasant, with temperatures varying by roughly 10°C in any given region.

In any section of the country, the temperature rarely falls below freezing (32°F / 0° C) or rises over 86°F / 30° C. Because of the modest temperature range and absence of extremes, and tropical storms do not frequently occur in New Zealand.

Spring (September - November)

Spring in New Zealand is a beautiful time to visit, with warm sunny days, uncrowded trails, and the countryside springing into life. Various wildflowers carpet the countryside, and infant animals abound, from rambunctious lambs to lively seal pups. Hotel rates are substantially lower than in the summer, and availability is much better here and at campgrounds around the country.

Summer (December - February)

People worldwide flock to see New Zealand beneath a blanket of blue sky during the southern hemisphere summer. The notion of escaping the cold at home is appealing, making now an excellent time to visit New Zealand.

Average daytime highs range from 21°C to 24°C, making this an ideal time to visit the beach with a picnic. Now is also the time to take advantage of the country's vast array of fantastic outdoor activities, such as hiking, sailing, cycling, and kayaking.

Autum (March - May)

Many people believe that autumn is the best time to visit New Zealand. It can be the ideal time to visit New Zealand, with many long, sunny days still to enjoy, fewer people to fight with at top scenic places, more excellent hotel and camping availability, and, probably most importantly, lower rates than the high season.

The balmy, calm fall days of New Zealand are ideal for outdoor exploration. The environment comes to life in the autumn light, with deeply shaded mountains and ochre meadows ideal for photography.

Winter (June - August)

Winter temperatures in New Zealand are lower than in the United Kingdom, but not to the same extent, particularly on the North Island, where average daytime highs in Auckland are 14°C or 15°C, compared to 7°C and 8°C in London.