Kayaking Abel Tasman National Park Abel Tasman National Park – Image courtesy of tuscanygardens.co.nz

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 in the east than in the west. 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.


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.


Auckland – Monthly Weather

J F M A M J J A S O N D
Ave Temp (°C) 20 20 19 16 14 12 11 12 13 14 16 18
Ave High Temp (°C) 24 24 23 20 18 15 14 15 16 18 20 22
Ave Low Temp (°C) 16 16 15 13 11 8 7 8 10 11 13 15
Sunshine (Hrs daily) 7 7 6 5 5 4 4 5 5 6 6 7
Daylight (Hrs daily) 14 13 12 11 10 10 10 11 12 13 14 15
Comfort Level Low heat & humidity icon Low heat & humidity icon Low heat & humidity icon No heat & humidity No heat & humidity No heat & humidity Cold, no heat & humidity No heat & humidity No heat & humidity No heat & humidity No heat & humidity No heat & humidity
Ave Humidity (%) 75 75 80 80 85 85 85 85 80 80 75 80
UV Index 11 11 8 5 3 2 2 3 5 7 9 11
Days with some Rain 12 10 12 15 17 18 18 19 16 17 15 14
Ave Rainfall (mm) 70 80 70 90 110 120 130 150 90 90 80 70
Sea Temp (°C) 20 21 21 19 18 17 16 15 15 16 17 19
(Auckland, North Island) J F M A M J J A S O N D

Queenstown – Monthly Weather

J F M A M J J A S O N D
Ave Temp (°C) 15 15 13 10 6 3 3 5 7 9 12 14
Ave High Temp (°C) 21 21 19 15 11 8 7 10 12 15 18 20
Ave Low Temp (°C) 9 9 7 5 1 -1 -2 -1 2 4 6 8
Sunshine (Hrs daily) 7 7 5 4 3 2 2 4 5 6 7 7
Daylight (Hrs daily) 15 14 12 11 9 9 9 10 12 13 15 16
Comfort Level No heat & humidity No heat & humidity No heat & humidity Cold, no heat & humidity Cold, no heat & humidity Cold, no heat & humidity Cold, no heat & humidity Cold, no heat & humidity Cold, no heat & humidity Cold, no heat & humidity No heat & humidity No heat & humidity
Ave Humidity (%) 66 70 72 77 80 81 82 77 70 68 66 65
UV Index 10 9 6 3 2 1 1 2 3 5 8 10
Days with some Rain 11 7 9 10 11 10 11 10 11 12 9 10
Ave Rainfall (mm) 80 70 70 70 60 50 50 60 60 70 60 60
(Queenstown, South Island) J F M A M J J A S O N D

Note: Meteorological data is sourced from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), with additional historical climate data sourced from Meteorological Service of New Zealand.


More about New Zealand…


Latest update: Best time to visit New Zealand: 29 May, 2020


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