The stunning scenery and warm hospitality of New Zealand are worth experiencing any time of year, but if you want to do more than throw a dart at a calendar (as fun as that planning technique is), we’ve provided a monthly breakdown of what to expect through the year.

 

Note that if you’re from the Northern Hemisphere, New Zealand will seem seasonally upside down to you: January is the height of summer and we’re pulling on our puffers (down jackets) in July. Temperatures are also typically warmer up north than down south.

 

For a broader seasonal overview, see our article Best Time to Visit New Zealand.

SPRING
Orchard in Spring, Central Otago, New Zealand ©David Wall
| SEPTEMBER

 

Bulbs and fruit trees are blooming around the land and New Zealand is at its greenest, while skiers are still enjoying the slopes. There’s much wildlife activity on land and sea, and you’ll fill your Facebook timeline with photos of newborn lambs and snowcapped peaks. September heralds the arrival of white herons which depart again in summer.

 

| OCTOBER

 

Clocks spring forward and temperatures are definitely rising. Winter can occasionally throw out one last hoorah in the deep south, but spring is here. Snowmelt from the mountains makes for impressive waterfalls and rivers are swollen and swift, perfect for white water rafting.

 

| NOVEMBER

 

This is a dream month for garden enthusiasts and photographers with New Zealand arguably at its most photogenic. Meadows and urban parks are a kaleidoscope of blooms while snow-tipped peaks create an awesome backdrop. For anglers, this is one of the best fishing months for brown trout.

 

SUMMER

Sea Kayaks, Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand ©Black Sheep Touring Co.
| DECEMBER

 

This is the kick-off to summer with long days and warmer temperatures. Tourism is starting to pick-up momentum. Early December is a great time to visit. Wild lupins blanket the South Island’s river valleys, northern beaches welcome their first keen swimmers, and the summer holiday buzz is yet to reach fever pitch.

 

| JANUARY

 

This is New Zealand’s warmest month and the whole country feels on holiday. New Zealand schools are on summer break, so the country is busy with Kiwis (New Zealanders) and overseas visitors enjoying the great outdoors. Concerts and festivals take place throughout the country, often hosted at stunning wineries.

 

| FEBRUARY

 

Kiwi kids are back in school, but there’s still plenty of summer buzz about. Days are typically hot and dry which makes it another prime month for visitors. This is a great month for water-based activities with the sea, lakes and rivers at their warmest.

 

AUTUMN

Winery in Autumn, Marlborough, New Zealand ©Black Sheep Touring Co.
| MARCH

 

This is a favourite month for New Zealanders. Days remain warm and settled, but the country is definitely quieting down on the visitor front. This is a perfect month for hiking or biking New Zealand’s great walking and cycle trails.

 

| APRIL

 

One of New Zealand’s best kept secrets, April is a great month to travel. While an extra layer might be needed, there are plenty of warm days and the changing colour of the autumn leaves is stunning, particularly in Otago and wine regions throughout the country. Clocks fall back at the start of the month.

 

| MAY

 

Days are cooler and shorter and weather a bit more changeable, but there are still lovely days. The roads are quiet and the mountains show off their first dustings of snow. Off-season rates are an added bonus. This is the best month for catching rainbow trout in the Rotorua and Lake Taupo regions.

 

WINTER

Fiordland Crested Penguins, Moeraki, West Coast, New Zealand ©Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki
JUNE

 

There’s an expectant feel to this month as the ski fields wait for the first real snow to arrive. The Queenstown Winter Festival is a great event to launch the season. The temperate coastal regions are wetter, but there’s nothing like walking in a rainforest in the rain.

 

JULY

 

Skiers flock to the slopes for the thrill of fresh powder and the buzz of après ski life in resort towns like Queenstown and Wanaka. Take yourself to a New Zealand bar to watch a live All Blacks rugby game if the opportunity arises—a chance like no other to mix it with the locals.

 

AUGUST

 

A prime time for skiing for overseas visitors with great conditions and Kiwi kids back in school after their midyear break. Weather remains changeable, but the promise of spring is in the air and the country enjoys milder temperatures. This is a good time for wildlife spotting.

 

Our Small Group tours run from October to April, our Private and Self Drive tours can be booked any time of year. Contact one of our Travel Shepherds to share your travel hopes and ask any questions.

 



 

RELATED POST: BEST TIME TO VISIT NEW ZEALAND