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The Best Season to Visit New Zealand

The Best Season to Visit New Zealand

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Are you planning to visit New Zealand? Do you know the best season to visit New Zealand? New Zealand is a mountainous island nation sitting isolated in the Southwest Pacific, and so the weather tends to be pretty unpredictable. It means that you can come at any time of year and still get splendid days!

As you know the seasons are opposite to the Northern Hemispheres and most people who visit New Zealand choose to come during New Zealand’s summer season, which is December through February. When it comes to weather and the seasons, let us see when is best season to visit New Zealand – the beautiful country.

Before Making a plan to visit New Zealand

Before Making a plan to visit New Zealand - best season to visit New Zealand
Before Making a plan to visit New Zealand
  • Keep in mind, that most Kiwi families take their main annual holidays between mid-December and the end of January, which puts enormous pressure on accommodations in major summer beach destinations.
  • During the Easter break and school holidays in April, June to July, and September to October, it also pays to reserve well in advance.
  • Also remember, that accommodations at ski destinations like Ohakune, National Park, Methven near Mount Hutt, Wanaka, and Queenstown fill up quickly – reserve early and be prepared to pay higher winter rates. In most other areas, though, you’ll be paying lower rates during the winter months (Apr-Aug). In some summer-peak areas, the winter also means that tour, lodge, and adventure operators may take advantage of lower tourist numbers and take their own holiday breaks, closing their businesses for 1- to 3-month periods.

Dialing the Weather

In New Zealand, you can call Metservice at tel. 0900/999 followed by your New Zealand area code to hear the current and expected weather conditions for the region you are in. Calls cost NZ$1.30 per minute including GST. You can also visit the Metservice website, www.metservice.co.nz, for further details, or check their blog, http://blog.metservice.com/, for the latest updates.

Check the website for details about receiving weather updates via SMS texting at a time to suit you. Daily updates cost NZ50¢; on-demand updates cost NZ99¢. For further information, call Metservice toll-free at tel. 0800/932-843.

Weather – best season to visit New Zealand

Dialing the Weather
Dialing the Weather

New Zealand’s climate, especially by Northern Hemisphere standards, is pretty mellow for much of the year. You’ll find a far greater seasonal difference in the South Island than in the subtropical North. In Central Otago, winter temperatures are often 14°F (-10°C) and sometimes as low as -4°F (-20°C), with summers up to 100°F to 104°F (38°C-40°C). By comparison, the northern part of the North Island is subtropical. That means lots of winter/spring rain, and often daily light showers.

The west coast of the South Island can get up to 100 inches or more of rain a year on its side of the Southern Alps, while just over the mountains to the east, rainfall is a moderate 20 to 30 inches annually. Rain is heavier on the west coast of the North Island, averaging 40 to 70 inches annually. Milford Sound, though, beats the lot; it’s the wettest place in the country, with a phenomenal 365 inches of rain a year.

The Seasons

1. Spring (Sept, Oct, Nov)

Spring
Spring


This is the best season to visit New Zealand – the countryside is flush with new green grass, baby lambs, and blooming trees. Christchurch in the spring means blossoms, bluebells, and daffodils in abundance. Dunedin is a splurge of rhododendron color. The weather can be very changeable right up to mid-October, so come prepared with light rain gear. In the South Island, it’s still perfectly normal to get late snowfalls in September. This could be the best season to visit New Zealand.

2. Summer (Dec, Jan, Feb)

Summer (Dec, Jan, Feb)
Summer (Dec, Jan, Feb)

This is peak tourist season, so you’ll pay high for accommodations and airfares. This too is the best season to visit New Zealand. Book early to avoid disappointment; this also applies to the major walking tracks, such as Milford, for which you should make bookings six months ahead. The country’s beaches come alive, and boats flock to the water. Fresh fruit is falling off the trees. Central Otago is a must-see when the lupines are flowering, with brilliant colors etched against blue skies and golden tussock.

3. Autumn (Mar, Apr, May)

Autumn (Mar, Apr, May)
Autumn (Mar, Apr, May)

If you’re a skier, you’ll be heading to Queenstown, Mount Hutt, Canterbury, or the Central Plateau in the North Island – and paying top dollar for the privilege. Otherwise, if you travel elsewhere during this period, you won’t need to prebook much at all. This is the best season to visit New Zealand as a skier.

Holidays

Holidays
Holidays

National public holidays include New Year’s Day (Jan 1), New Year’s Holiday (Jan 2), Waitangi Day (Feb 6), Good Friday (varies), Easter and Easter Monday (varies), ANZAC Day (Apr 25), Queen’s Birthday (first Mon in June), Labour Day (last Mon in Oct), Christmas Day (Dec 25), and Boxing Day (Dec 26). This too can be the best season to visit New Zealand.

Regional holidays include Wellington (Jan 22), Auckland (Jan 29), Northland (Jan 29), Nelson Region (Feb 1), Otago (Mar 23), Southland (Mar 23), Taranaki (Mar 31), Hawke’s Bay (Nov 1), Marlborough (Nov 1), Westland (Dec 1), and Canterbury (Dec 16). Regional holidays are always observed on a Monday.

If the date lands on a Friday or weekend, the holiday is observed on the following Monday. If it falls earlier in the week, it is observed on the preceding Monday.

School holidays consist of three midterm breaks – in April, June to July, and September to October – that last for 2 weeks each, plus 6 weeks for the December holidays. Kiwi families do much of their traveling during these periods, so book early. It could be the best season to visit New Zealand.

Major Events and Seasons

1. In Spring / Summer / Autumn

Ultimate South Island Adventure 'Rimu'
Ultimate South Island Adventure ‘Rimu’

Ultimate South Island Adventure ‘Rimu’
Ultimate North Island Adventure ‘Kauri’
The essence of the South Island ‘Tui’
South Island Explorer ‘Kiwi’
Milford Hiking Adventure ‘Manuka’
New Zealand Biking Adventure ‘Weka’
New Zealand Family Adventure ‘Kea’

This can be the best season to visit New Zealand if you want to explore these activities.

2. In Winter

New Zealand Family Adventure 'Kea'
New Zealand Family Adventure ‘Kea’

New Zealand Winter Adventure ‘Winter Rimu’
New Zealand Family Adventure ‘Kea’
Ultimate North Island Adventure ‘Kauri’

3. The ski season

The ski season
The ski season

Skiing is popular in New Zealand, and the ski season generally runs from late May to mid-October (weather dependent). If you’re heading to the ski towns of Ohakune, Lake Tekapo, Methven, Queenstown, or Wanaka during these months, it’s best to book accommodation as early as possible. This is one of the best season to visit New Zealand.

Booking the Great Walks

New Zealand’s most popular Great Walk, the Milford Track, is often booked out a year in advance – especially during summer months. It’s best to book this hike as soon as you know what your start day from Te Anau will be. For any of the remaining eight Great Walks, pre-booking is also recommended, especially if you are planning to walk during the summer months of December, January and February.

So which season do you wish to go to when you now are aware which is the best season to visit New Zealand?