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Discover the best times to visit New Zealand and what each season has to offer

New Zealand is a year-round destination, offering something special throughout every season.

Summer in New Zealand (December to February)

The summer months of December to February are filled with long days and large doses of sunshine, perfect for relaxing by the beautiful beaches and enjoying a range of outdoor activities including hiking, kayaking, sailing, mountain biking, boat cruising, rafting and canyoning. 

These are the most popular months to visit New Zealand, due to the ideal weather and the holiday season, with numerous celebratory events and outdoor festivals taking place. New Zealand is quite special over the New Year period, as Gisborne (a surfing, wine and cultural mecca on the North Island), will be the first city on earth to greet the first sunrise of the year.

Autumn in New Zealand (March to May)

March through to May heralds the milder temperatures and slower crowds of autumn, with the country illuminated in the breathtaking golden glimmer of autumn foliage. It’s a season for stunning photography, scenic drives, and hikes through the spectacular landscapes.

Winter in New Zealand (June to August)

Winter arrives in June and with it comes the first snowfall, signalling the start of New Zealand’s fantastic snow season. July and August are excellent for a range of snow sports including skiing, snowboarding, heliskiing, ice skating and snowshoeing, and ski fields can be found across both islands.

However, winter in New Zealand is more than just ski fields. You can visit the magical geothermal parks as the cool temperatures collide spectacularly with the steaming blowholes, while thermal mineral pools and natural hot springs are a wonderful (and warming) experience during this season.

Spring in New Zealand (September to November)

The ski fields stay open until September, the first month of spring, when the country lights up in a show of spring blossoms and vibrant flowers. There are plenty of spring festivals to enjoy as the weather warms up, although the climate can be unpredictable with a smattering of cold and rainy days.

New Zealand’s stunning parks and botanical gardens come alive with colourful flowers until October and there are also fewer crowds during these months.

November is the last month of spring, offering a period of tranquility before the summer crowds arrive. It’s one of the best months to visit New Zealand due to pleasant temperatures, fewer visitors and ideal conditions for outdoor activities. Hike along spectacular trails, raft down thundering rivers and cruise through the breathtaking Milford Sound.

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Month-by-month guide to travelling in New Zealand

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