The best time to visit New Zealand

The Climate and The Best Time to Visit New Zealand

New Zealand is located in the South Pacific. The country consists of two main islands, the North Island and the South Island as well as smaller offshore islands. As result of its location in the southern hemisphere, the seasons in New Zealand are opposite to the European ones. When its winter in the UK, it’s summer in New Zealand. When summer arrives in the UK, winter begins in New Zealand. One of the great things about the climate in New Zealand is that it’s generally temperate and mild. There are no climatic extremes on the North or the South Island. However, there are differences between the regions of New Zealand. Simply put in the north and east the sun shines more often and there’s less rain than in the south and west. For more detailed information about the climate and the weather, there’s more information just below.

It’s important to mention that many of the regions benefit from 2,000 hours of sunshine or more. Nevertheless, it does rain quite frequently in New Zealand. The precipitation is distributed throughout the year. In the higher altitudes, it’s is cooler than in the coastal areas. Snowfall is actually pretty common in the mountains. In fact, some of the highest altitudes have snow all year round. Furthermore, the weather in New Zealand can be extremely changeable similar to our own weather. One thing that’s clear from all of these facts is that its pretty difficult to determine the best time to travel to New Zealand. It really depends on the individual and their preferences for a New Zealand holiday. If you want to enjoy a lot of sunshine, I would recommend the New Zealand summer as the best travel time. January and February are the warmest and dryest month. For everyone who loves snow and wants to go on an excursion to the glaciers, the winter months are the best time to visit New Zealand. There’s more information below about all the different seasons. With all of this additional information, you can determine the best time to travel to this beautiful country.

Overview

Climate & Best Time to Visit the North Island of New Zealand

First of all, there’s more sunshine and less rainfall on the North Island than on the South Island. The North Island of New Zealand can be divided into town regions, which differ in the climate. In the north of the island, where Auckland is located, there is a subtropical climate. That means the winters are mild and the summer months are warm. Summer is the perfect time for a beach holiday. The best time to visit New Zealand for a beach holiday on the North Island are the months of December, February and March. Many holidaymakers choose this travel time for their New Zealand trip. However, you need to be aware that its the high season and prices for flights and accommodation are more expensive and much high than in other seasons. But at this time you can expect stable weather. There are around nine to ten rainy days per month. Furthermore, you get a much higher number of hours of sunshine per day. The exact weather and climate data you can find in the table below. The best insight into the climate of the Northern Island is to look at Auckland. Based on this data you’ll be able to find the best time to visit New Zealand.

The Best Time to Visit New Zealand (Wellington) at a Glance:

  • December (Beach Holiday): 19°C, 7h of Sunshine, 17°C Water temp., 9 Rainy Days
  • January (Beach Holiday): 21°C, 8h of Sunshine, 17°C Water temp., 7 Rainy Days
  • February (Beach Holiday): 22°C, 7h of Sunshine, 18°C Water temp., 7 Rainy Days
  • March (Beach Holiday): 19°C, 6h of Sunshine, 18°C Water temp., 8 Rainy Days
  • June (Ski Holiday): 12°C, 4h of Sunshine, 14°C Water temp., 14 Rainy Days
  • July (Ski Holiday): 11°C, 4h of Sunshine, 13°C Water temp.., 14 Rainy Days
  • August (Ski Holiday): 12°C, 4h of Sunshine, 13°C Water temp., 13 Rainy Days

Climate Table for Auckland on the North Island

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature in °C 23 22 22 20 17 16 15 15 16 18 19 21
Min. Temperature in °C 16 15 15 14 11 9 8 7 9 11 13 14
Hours of Sunshine Per Day 8 7 6 5 4 4 4 5 6 6 7 7
Water Temperature in °C 19 20 20 19 18 17 16 15 15 16 16 17
Rainy Days per Month 9 10 10 12 13 15 13 13 13 11 10 9

The more southern you go on the North Island the fresher it gets. The rest of the North Island including Wellington in the South has a temperate climate. The temperature climate ensures mild winters and warm summers. The temperatures are similar to those in the north of the island but deviate downwards. For this reason, I recommend the summer months as the best time to visit the North Island and Wellington. In the winter months, the temperatures drop drastically and the number of rainy days increases. If you want to go for a winter ski holiday in New Zealand then the months of June to August are ideal.

Climate Table for Wellington on the North Island

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature in °C 21 22 19 17 14 12 11 12 14 15 17 19
Min. Temperature in °C 13 14 13 11 9 7 6 6 8 9 10 10
Hours of Sunshine per day 8 7 6 5 4 4 4 4 5 6 7 7
Water Temperature in °C 17 18 18 17 15 14 13 13 12 14 14 17
Rainy Days per Month 7 7 8 10 12 14 14 13 11 11 10 9

Climate and the Best Time to Visit the South Island of New Zealand

On the South Island of New Zealand, the temperatures are a few degrees lower than on the North Island. Nevertheless, there are different climatic conditions in the different regions of the island. For example, the east coast of Christchurch is drier than the west coast. There are much lower temperatures on the west coast and wind and rain show up throughout the year. On the east coast, its milder and temperatures rarely drop below 10 degrees Celsius in winter. The summer months on the East Coast are ideal for relaxing on the beach or exploring the countryside. On the northern part of the South Island, it gets a lot sunnier. Nevertheless, there are occasional rainfalls that supply the rainforests on the coast with water. The weather conditions in the south are milder. The temperatures are pretty stable which are around 15 degrees Celsius in summer and 5 degrees Celsius in winter. Overall the weather on the south island is very comparable to that of British weather. The main difference is that the seasons are opposite. Therefore the best time to visit the South Island is during the summer months from December to February. Even if there are regional differences you can count on the best weather during the summer months. Lots of sunshine, pleasant water and air temperatures and the lowest probability of rainfall. Those of you who love to ski should definitely pick another travel time. In the New Zealand winter months from June to August, you can chase down the slopes of the mountains and enjoy those fresh snow falls.

The New Zealand Seasons at a Glance

There are four seasons in New Zealand, the same as in the UK. Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. The difference between the British and European Seasons is that they run counter to New Zealand. When its winter here then its summer in New Zealand. During our spring its Autumn in New Zealand. During our summer months, its the winter in New Zealand. When the leaves start to change for Autumn in the UK, spring blossoms in New Zealand. Below you’ll be able to get a summary of the seasons in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Winter: June to August

During the winter time in New Zealand, the temperatures are at their minimum. In June you have to get ready for maximum temperatures of about 15 degrees Celsius. At night it does get warmer than 10 degrees Celsius. Depending on the region it can also be even colder. In the June the ski season begins in the mountains of both islands. In the higher elevations snowfalls which is just ideal for winter sports. In July the temperatures continue to fall. July is definitely the coldest month of the year, although it is colder on the South Island than on the North Island. In August the temperature begins to climb. Temperatures begin to rise to 15 degrees Celsius or more and the sun shines for longer. At night it can still be pretty fresh which means snow is never far away. Basically, you have to adjust in winter to changeable weather. Thick clothes are a must and an umbrella has to be in the suitcase.

The New Zealand Spring: September to November

As temperatures rise in September the New Zealand Spring really sets in. September shines with temperatures around 17 degrees Celsius a day. The ski season ends, the snow melts and the winter sports fans leave the ski regions. In October Spring is in full swing. Although it rains more often than in other spring months, temperatures continue to rise. From November the summer time begins to set in. Temperatures continue to rise but in many regions its still below 20 degrees Celsius. However, it already starts to feel like summer.

The New Zealand Summer: December to February

Summer in New Zealand is the high season for a holiday. On the one hand, you can have the perfect beach holiday in New Zealand and you can experience New Year’s Eve on the other side of the world. The weather is stable and the temperatures are warm in summer. On average the temperatures are around 24 degrees Celsius and the water is perfect for swimming at a pleasant 20 degrees Celsius. At night the temperatures drop to below 15 degrees Celsius. In February, the weather is at a similar level, with a slight reduction in the number of hours of sunshine. If you want to go on a hiking holiday in New Zealand the best time of year is in the summer months.

The New Zealand Autumn: March to May

In March and April, you can continue to enjoy the wonderful weather. At 23 degrees Celsius, you can still swim in the sea in March. In April though the temperatures begin to drop and its no longer perfect for a beach holiday. For the nights you’ll need your warmer clothes since they are quite cool. In May, the weather is less stable than in other months of New Zealand’s Autumn. If you are in the South of the Island you might even be surprised by snowfall. It’s no surprise really because when May starts the winter starts in New Zealand. For hiking holidays May is still ideal.

My Conclusion on the Best Time to Visit New Zealand

If you’re looking for the most amount of sunshine, the most stable weather conditions and the possibility to sunbathe it’s clear that the best time to travel to New Zealand is during the summer. During this period of time, you’ll have the warmest and sunniest months. If you want to ski in New Zealand mountains the winter is perfect from June to August. For a walking holiday in New Zealand, you should focus on Spring which is September to November or Autumn from March to May. As you might see there is generally no ideal travel time for New Zealand. You can make your decision based on your own preferences and intentions. Furthermore, you can’t always depend on the weather forecasts. Its pretty common in New Zealand that the weather can suddenly change Precipitation in New Zealand is Always possible, even in summer! Be ready for any kind of weather.

 

 

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