When is the best time to visit New Zealand?

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    New Zealand has a temperate climate with lots of summer sun as well as great winter sports. So when is the best time to visit New Zealand?

    In a word – anytime! Keep in mind, New Zealand is located in the Southern Hemisphere, sharing a seasonal schedule with countries like Australia. If you’re an American looking for a summer siesta and the Land of the Long White Cloud is the destination of your next adventure, you might want to swap June for December, since the mid-year months deliver a snowy, winter wonderland. But when should you visit? You may have heard the expression, four seasons in one day, to describe the New Zealand climate – it’s not an exaggeration. While the information below is generally true for the greater region, keep in mind you can go from shorts to track pants in a matter of hours.

    In the Summertime…

    The weather is mostly fine, but it’s a little crowded. Described as a sweet-spot for travellers seeking warm rays and fine, blue-sky days, December to February sees a measurable spike in tourism to both the North and South Islands.

    Enjoy New Zealand's beaches in summer
    Enjoy New Zealand’s beaches in summer

    It’s a great time to enjoy New Zealand’s fantastic beaches and popular activities include water-sports like kayaking, jet-boating, paddle boarding and cruising.

    Autumn Leaves…

    … are absolutely spectacular across the country, as clutches of trees shade your views with deep reds, coppers and royal golden tones.

    A little bit cooler, with some patchy weather to boot, the summer holiday-makers will depart by early March, leaving most of the month, April and May open to those who love the idea of an easy tour. South Island coach tours can be mesmerising with a mirade of colours in nature on display

    Brrr… it’s getting cold in here!

    Snowboarding, Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand
    Winter sports and snowboarding in Queenstown

    Internationally regarded as a beautiful island nation somewhere in the Pacific, an outsider can almost be forgiven for assuming New Zealand temperatures rarely go low enough for snow. One peak at our Southern Alps should clear up any assumptions.

    The winter weather can range from freezing to mild, depending on where you are, the day and the wind factor. Ready for better news? NZ is home to some of the world’s winter sports spots, Strap on your skis and carve up Mt Ruapehu on the North Island bus tour or try your skills on the runs of Mt Hutt in the South for a start, ending with a snowball fight in Wanaka!

    Spring is in the air

    September to November is prime white-water rafting season as the winter snowfall becomes clear, rushing river rapids. Test your mettle against the thrill-seeking savants of Queenstown or dive into a Hobbit Hole during a Hobbiton Movie Set tour – as the season begins to emerge, New Zealand turns on its brightest colours, revealing its full brilliance to all who stop to see it.

    You may have noticed, we have yet to identify the best time… we’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s badly kept, so feel free to tell everybody. New Zealand is the kind of country you can travel year-round and still savour a magical, camera-ready, story-worthy experience.

    Winter has sunny days, summer has chilly days, autumn has days bursting with mild sunshine and spring can make winter feel like it’s welcome to stay longer… don’t limit your experience by a calendar on the wall. Book. Go. See. Do. Travel. And return happy.

    The best time to see New Zealand is the time you’ve set aside for yourself. See the full range and dates of tours available.

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    Kirra Crew

    Kirra Crew

    We have been creating memorable New Zealand experiences since 1968. Our passion for this country is displayed through our unique itineraries. And we love to blog about exploring New Zealand and the many things to do & see here. Check out our articles and experience New Zealand your way.
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