New Zealand has colourful climate to offer every month of the year. As such, when to visit will depend entirely on your interests: be it hiking, skiing, a healthy dose of sunshine or a glimmer of autumnal gold. Of course, we’ll help you make the right decision – here’s a month-by-month guide to exploring this incredibly scenic destination.
With a temperature of 22°C, January is the season of school holidays and peak tourist time. So, if you love the sun, and also want to avoid thongs, consider visiting New Zealand in February. But if you love the bustle, this is the best month to get into the wider community spirit. This month is packed with several summer festivals, including the World Buskers’ Festival in Christchurch, Auckland’s Laneway Festival, and the New Zealand Sevens rugby tournament.
At 25°C, February is the best time to head to the beach, kayaking, try out some of the Great Walks, or just simply get active. If you love to know the local history and customs, Waitangi Day (which is New Zealand’s national day) is celebrated on 6 February. This time, Chinese New Year Lantern Festivals also embellished many locations, most notably Auckland and Christchurch, the same month.
March is the time to usher in autumn. Days are still warm with the temperature at 25°C, March is also when many vineyards see an abundance in lush grapes. You can pay a visit to Queenstown/Central Otago wine region. This is the region’s wettest month of the year. You can also visit the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival, Christchurch’s Ellerslie Flower Show, and Hamilton’s Balloons over Waikato.
In April you can relish some crisp, sunny days, bright blue skies, and chilly nights. With average temperature 18°C, it is the ideal time to visit places like the Hawke’s Bay, Lake Tekapo, Central Otago (especially Arrowtown), and the wider Mackenzie Country area, which are some of the best places to catch sight of New Zealand’s breathtaking autumnal colors.
This is the time to start pulling out your cozy layers as the temperatures in May drop to 6°C in the South Island, and 9°C in the North. You can enjoy adventure sports like bungy jumping in the brisk, fresh air and keep your high spirits. This is the right time for mountain biking, game bird hunting, and fishing. If you like cultural events, May is New Zealand Music Month, a time to listen to all the local artists hitting the airwaves. Other festivals include the Auckland Writers’ Festival, the Documentary Edge Festival (in Wellington and Auckland), and the yummy New Zealand Food Show in Hamilton.
This is the first month of winter which is known for a popular time to hit the skis and bask at the powdery snow. In this month is known for its annual winter festival in June/July, consisting of a jam-packed 10 days of music, snow sports, and power-house entertainment. You must visit the North Island, Ruapehu and Taranaki for ski adventures and the South include Wanaka, Otago, and Canterbury as well.
Winter in the capital (Wellington) is not too cold, though its southerly winds can pierce right through you. Places to visit his month include the Pancake Rocks on the South Island’s West Coast and the ever-popular Tongariro National Park in the North Island. You should also check out Napier’s annual Art Deco Weekend, New Zealand International Film Festival and the Dunedin’s Chocolate Carnival.
August is the time to catch some snow, cherish the alpine backdrops, and visit New Zealand’s all-around sublime landscapes. You can also get to sink your teeth into events like Auckland Restaurant Month and Visa Wellington on a Plate, and New Zealand Fashion Week.
Spring is at its peak in September. It is the windiest time of New Zealand. The World of Wearable Art is the most prestigious event of this month. There are also plenty of celebrations that you can enjoy in style including the Nelson’s Cherry Blossom Festival, Alexandra Blossom Festival, and the Palmerston North International Spring Festival. A trip to the Garden City can do the magic and you get to visit the stunning botanic gardens in places like Auckland, Wellington, and Hamilton.
October brings the mild temperature and cultural highlights. Wellington’s weather is at its best around this month. Throughout New Zealand, you’ll find several events like the Auckland Heritage Festival, the Akaroa French Festival, the Dunedin Heritage Festival, and the Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival. Diwali celebrations are also the major attraction in Auckland and Wellington this month, with an array of cultural performances and vibrant fireworks attracting all passing visitors.
Mid-spring is welcome with plenty of pleasant days. Travel destinations like Auckland become too busier these days. You can experience New Zealand country life, the Canterbury A&P Show every November, which run for three-days which is packed with several live demonstrations (sheep shearing included), competitions, fairground rides, and even a petting zoo to bring the rural lifestyle into the city landscape.
December is the start of summer when the holiday season is celebrated in scorching colors: think barbecues, fish, and chips by the beach, or a typical potluck dinner with Pavlova for dessert. Locals take time to enjoy the elongated days when the sun doesn’t set until 9 pm. New Year’s Eve has its traditions, including Vines and the Rhythm festival in Gisborne.
So, if you are planning to visit New Zealand and not sure which time to head to this amazing country, check out every month calendar and accordingly make the best of your vacations.