Best time to visit New Zealand

Anytime: New Zealand is a year round destination; for the best weather visit from mid-December to February.

If you want to avoid the peak season holiday crowds, especially around school holidays, aim to visit New Zealand during October – November and April – May.

New Zealand weather

New Zealand enjoys a temperate maritime climate with rapidly changing weather conditions.

The climate varies from warm subtropical in the far north to cool temperate in the far south, with cold alpine conditions in the mountain regions.

The warmest months are December, January and February, with the coldest months being June, July and August.

It is generally warm from November to April, with an average temperature of 20°C (68°F).

In summer, average maximum temperatures range between 20°C (68°F) to 30°C (86°F) and in winter between 10°C (50°F) and 15°C (59°F).

The chance of rain is greater in the North Island than in the South Island. On both islands, it is drier on the east coast than on the west coast. The west coast of the South Island and the Milford Sound region attract the highest rainfall in New Zealand.

The North Island is prone to frequent rain showers throughout the year but is generally warmer than the South Island, where winter temperatures can plummet to -10°C (14°F) and sometimes as low as -20°C (-4°F) in Central Otago; summer temperatures can reach 38°C to 40°C (100°F to 104°F).

New Zealand is influenced by the Roaring Forties, with prevailing west-to-east winds ranging from gentle breezes to gale force winds. The country has four seasons:

Summer (December, January and February) brings long sunny days and is an excellent time for hiking bush trails, adventure activities and most water sports including swimming, surfing, sailing and sunbathing.

Autumn (March, April and May) brings cooler temperatures but the climate is still excellent for walking, adventure sports and sightseeing. Swimming is still possible until the end of April.

Winter (June, July and August) brings cold weather and more rainfall to most areas in the North Island including Auckland. The mountain ranges of both islands become covered in snow and offer opportunities for skiing, snowboarding and sightseeing.

Spring (September, October and November) sees temperatures range from cold and frosty to warm and hot. Spring is regarded as one of the best times to go white water rafting as melting snow increases river water levels.

Here are the weather averages for Auckland, in the north island of New Zealand.

Auckland Weather Averages

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average high temperature (°C)
24 24 23 20 18 15 15 15 16 18 20 22
Average low temperature (°C)
16 17 15 13 11 9 8 8 10 11 13 15
Average daily sunshine (hrs)
7 7 6 5 4 3 4 4 5 5 6 7
Comfort level – heat
Low heat & humidity icon Low heat & humidity icon Low heat & humidity icon No heat & humidity No heat & humidity No heat & humidity Cold icon No heat & humidity No heat & humidity No heat & humidity No heat & humidity Low heat & humidity icon
Average dew point temperature (°C)
15 15 14 13 11 10 8 9 10 11 12 14
Average relative humidity (%)
75 75 77 80 84 85 85 83 81 79 77 76
UV Index (max)
11+ 11 8 5 3 2 2 3 5 7 9 11
Average days of rainfall (≥1mm)
6 5 6 6 9 10 11 10 9 8 6 6
Average monthly rainfall (mm)
53 59 68 77 108 104 114 99 87 82 75 73
Average wind speed (km/h)
20 20 20 20 23 24 24 23 24 24 23 21
Average sea temperature (°C)
20 21 20 19 18 16 15 15 15 15 17 18
Auckland, North Island, New Zealand

For more information about weather conditions in the south island: see Queenstown and Wanaka.

Holiday Seasons

High season: From mid-December through February, when most Kiwi families take their annual holidays. The Easter break and school holidays in April, June to July, and September to October, also tend to be very busy.

June to August is high season in the major ski destinations of Ohakune, National Park, Mt. Hutt, Wanaka and Queenstown.

During the high season, it’s best to book hotel rooms and airline seats well in advance.

Low season: The winter months between April and August, excluding the major ski regions.

Source: Meteorological data for Auckland is based on weather statistics gathered for the 30-year period 1991 to 2020 by MetService New Zealand at the closest weather station: Auckland International Airport (AKL), located 20km (12mi) south of Auckland CBD.

Advice on the best time to visit a particular destination is based on average local weather statistics, when the weather conditions are generally better than at other times of the year. We consider high and low temperatures, risk of rain (and thunderstorms, etc.), amount of sunshine and sea temperature. For general outdoor activities we favour clear, rainless days with a temperature range between 18°C (64°F) and 27°C (80°F); and for hot-weather activities we favour clear, rainless days with a temperature range between 24°C (75°F) and 32°C (89°F). Often, the best times to visit correspond to high season and therefore involve higher prices.

More about New Zealand…

Latest update: Best time to visit New Zealand: 10 May, 2024

Disclaimer: The information on this site is provided as is, without any assurances as to its accuracy or suitability for any purpose. Weather data and conditions at any given location and time are unpredictable and variable. We assume no responsibility and can not be held legally responsible for any decisions made on the basis of the information presented on this site.