Best time to visit New Zealand

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Best time of year to visit New Zealand

December to March is considered to be the best time to visit New Zealand. If madding crowds don't confuse you, summer season with its mellow weather will be perfect for grasping the beaches, enjoying clams, exploring Waitomo Glowworm Caves, and stargazing. You could also opt for mild and uncrowded autumn and spring. October and November are all about baby lambs in green pastures and Lupin blooming, while April and May will show you terrific Aurora Australis, Milky Way, and stunning autumn foliage. The North Island gets lots of rains, while South Island often sees massive snowfalls and temperatures below zero between June and September. Winter season rejoices passionate skiers, hot pools lovers, and whale watchers.



September–February • activity

A fan of ​The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit? Picturesque Hobbiton movie set will transfer you to the Middle-Earth


December–April • nature

There is no better stargazing place in the world than South Island, New Zealand, with its perfect views on other galaxies

Milford Sound

December–January • nature

White foaming waterfalls cascading down the mountains' peaks are particularly spectacular after heavy rains

Waitomo Glowworm Caves

November–April • nature

No, these lights overhead in the caves are neither stars, nor electric lamps, but actually bioluminescent worms!

Blue Lake

November–May • nature

When you look at this amazingly clear water with blue and violet hues, it seems to be fake, but it is real indeed


November–April • activity

Amazing trails winding across New Zealand scenic mountainous landscapes seem to be made especially​ for cyclists

Te Araroa—New Zealand's Trail

October–March • activity

One of the newest and most beautiful trails in New Zealand, Te Araroa will become your adventure of a lifetime!

Climbing Mount Cook

November–early January • activity

When you reach the summit of Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest peak, you will feel like a conqueror of the world

Kiwis' Breeding Season

August–April • nature

Cute flightless baby kiwis are safer and closer to humans at Rainbow Springs, kiwi wildlife park in Rotorua

Tunnel Beach, Dunedin

November–March • activity

Dunedin Beach with the tunnel, sandstone cliffs, rocks and caves create a nice territory to be explored

Arthur’s Pass

December–February • activity

Alpine beauty elates the hikers of the Arthur's Pass

Body Board Down the Sand Dunes

November–April • activity

It's like snowboarding, surfing and sledging, yet without snow, water or sledges, just sand dunes and a dose of adrenaline

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

September–May • nature

The thermal wonderland amuses with bright-coloured pools, daily geyser eruptions, steaming grounds, and boiling muds

Gannet Colony

mid-October–April • nature

Gannet couples demonstrate a strong sense of paternal responsibility fighting for the right to hatch their single egg​


November–April • activity

Comfortable gondolas, fast and twisted luge tracks and beautiful sceneries make luging compete with traditional sledding


September–April • activity

A kayak exploration trip ensures a safe and entertaining adventure through New Zealand's hidden nooks

Jet Boating

September–April • activity

Jet boating in New Zealand's quick and shallow rivers flowing through steep canyons evokes an immeasurable thrill

White Island Tour

September–April • activity

Active marine volcano amazes with bubbling mud pits, multicolored mountains, green lakes and hot steams

Tawaki—the Rainforest Penguin

July–early December • nature

Tawaki is the only penguin in the world that lives in the rainforest and not in the icebergs' surroundings

Huhu Beetle Grub

November–March • food

When Huhu beetle larvae are eaten with closed eyes, they might be easily confused with buttery chicken

Waipoua Forest

December–February • nature

The forest fascinates with its huge ancient kauri trees, colourful ferns, and exotic birds

Sea Lions Breeding Season

November–January • nature

Better not to intrude into the huge mammals' pre-breeding fights and stay away until they settle territorial disputes

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

November–May • activity

The stunning beauty of Tongariro volcanic landscapes spotted with emerald-like crater lakes

Great White Shark Cage Diving

December–June • activity

The inquisitive great white shark's eyes staring at you will remain in your memory for long

Mt Ruapehu Crater Climb

December–April • activity

You will see rugged rocky slopes, ancient lava flows, glacial valleys and the largest Ruapehu Crater Lake


September–April • activity

New Zealand surf spot map has 28 marks found in the North Island and 10 locations in the South Island

Lupin Spotting

mid-November–December • nature

The scenic landscape of New Zealand’s South Island astonishes with varied colors

Pohutukawa Tree

November–January • nature

Pohutukawa tree is known as New Zealand Christmas tree as its crimson blossoms appear during Christmas time

Kororā (Little Penguin) Breeding Season

November–March • nature

Only 25 cm tall, lovely blue penguins waddle 1,5 km, swim 70 km and climb 300 m to lay eggs and feed their offsprings

White Water Rafting

October–May • activity

New Zealand's turbulent rivers invite for a breathtaking white water rafting, just hold tight to keep inside your raft

Kea Bird

July–January • nature

Curious kea parrots develop ​taste for everything new to diversify their regular diet of plants and berries. It does not matter that they already have wings, they would still sip from your can of Red Bull

Bar-Tailed Godwits

September–March • nature

Could you cross 10,000 km without food and rest? Seems unreal, but not for bar-tailed godwits

Black Water Rafting

November–April • activity

You will raft the cave rivers, climb up the rocks of Ruakuri Cave, go black water tubing and view blue glow worms

Pavlova Dessert

late November–December • food

The soft inner texture of the cake is covered with crispy crust topped with fresh fruits and whipped cream


September–May • activity

Find delight in peaceful, silent and scenic gliding on water

Hoiho–Yellow-Eyed Penguin

November–early April • nature

Unique appearance of a yellow-eyed penguin hoiho cannot be confused with any other species, even during moulting

Rock Lobsters

mid-May–March • food

Lobster meat is destinguished by sweet flavour that makes your mouth water


December–February • activity

New Zealand rodeo is a thrilling, but also cruel sport that continues despite the protests of animal protection groups

Black Sand Piha Beach

December–March • nature

Piha Beach in Auckland dazzles with black sands as well as great surfing opportunities and large rocks towering from the water

Cascade Saddle Route

December–February  • activity

Most people would like to omit spots like this, unless you are a true adventurer

The White Heron Sanctuary Tours

September–early March • activity

Elegant White Herons impress with their snow-white plumage and particularly graceful walk


December–April • food

New Zealand clams cooked in white wine, sweet Thai​ chilli sauce and coconut milk is a culinary masterpiece


Aurora Australis

March–September • nature

Green and pink Aurora Australis hues poured over the dark sky resemble a giant witch's​ pot with a magic potion

The Milky Way

June–August • activity

Millions distant stars of the famous Milky Way paint starry rainbows over New Zealand's sky during winter nights

Baby Fur Seals Watching

April–October • nature

Hundreds of restless fur seal pups play in water streams while their moms go hunting in the ocean

Hiking through the Glaciers​

June–August • activity

New Zealand's glaciers are a great wonder of nature and should be included into your must-see list

Rugby Haka

mid-February–early August • activity

New Zealand rugby players keep spectators electrified during the entire match starting with vigorous haka cries

Tekapo Springs Hot Pools

June–August • activity

Where else on Earth could you take a hot natural bath outside surrounded by snowy winter sceneries if not in New Zealand?

Sled Dog Experience

July–August • activity

Go for a ride with a team of huskies in a picturesque backcountry

Hot Water Beach at Coromandel Peninsula

June–August • activity

Jacuzzi is nothing comparing to caressing underground springs gushing out of the dug up sand pools

Waitangi Day

February 06 • event

Festivities introduce to Māori culture highlighting traditional underground oven cooking and tribal customs

Great New Zealand Muster

April 07, 2018 • event

It means hundreds of fluffy sheep running along the street of Te Kuiti, the world's shearing capital

Wanaka Snow and Ice Driving

June–August • activity

This is your chance to drive prestigious​ European cars on the most challenging ice and snow surface

Shotover Canyon

October–November • nature

If you like water extreme sports, try Shotover river and canyon and you'll remember it for the rest of your life​


mid-June–September • activity

New Zealand's slopes are excellent for a ski holiday

Hokitika Wildfoods Festival

March 09, 2019 • event

Beetles larvaes, baby fish with guts and lambs' testicles assure unforgettable experience for adventurous foodies


March–September • activity

In comparison to sky diving, paragliding allows the pilot to control their flight, making them midair masters

Monteith's Dog Derby in Queenstown

June 21–24, 2018 • event

Barking and cheering sounds hover over the snowy slopes while dogs and their owners race headlong down


mid-June–September • activity

No matter whether you are a novice in this sports or a keen rider, New Zealand boasts slopes and steeps for all levels

Catching Whitebait

mid-August–late November • activity

Whitebaiters spend long hours to fish precious whitebait with the nets

Kāwhia Kai Festival–Hamilton Waikato

February 06, 2019 • event

Māori cuisine has many specialties. Try sweet potato and meat cooked in underground ovens and served in flax baskets

Dolphin Encounter

June–August • activity

Have you ever dreamt about swimming together with joyful dolphins? Dreams come true in Kaikoura

The Queenstown Winter Festival

June 23–24, 2018 • event

10-day winter fun is made of mountain races, street performances, foods and music, and above all – famous Dog Derby

Skydiving in Queenstown

June–August • activity

New Zealand's snowy sceneries look even more amazing from the height of 12,000 feet above the earth

Macadamia Nuts

late May–October • food

The sweet taste and soft buttery surface of macadamia nuts make your palate water

Scuba Diving

February–June • activity

New Zealand's underwater kingdom lacks only little mermaids. Otherwise,​ the abundance of marine species is amazing


September–November • activity

The whole country is considered a birdwatching spot and its coastline​ is labeled as a seabird capital

Matariki–Māori New Year

June 25, 2018 • event

Matariki traditional New Year is associated with a miraculous constellation referring to Māori genealogy

Bluff Oysters

March–August • food

Oyster lovers will appreciate particularly succulent, fishy and almost metallic-flavored Bluff Oyster

Whitebait Season

mid-August–late November • food

Whitebaits fritters made of transparent worm-like baby fish fried with eggs and flour is a prime New Zealand's delicacy

Golden Kiwifruit

March–May • food

Golden kiwifruit is a special New Zealand's yellow and sweeter kiwi variety

World of WearableArt Awards Show (WOW)

September 27–October 14, 2018 • event

You're going to be truly WOWed by this explosion of extravagance

Cave Walk at Craigieburn

January–March • activity

The danger of Craigieburn caves is not to be underestimated: challenging oneself is not bad, yet caution is vital

Wine Harvest

February–April • food

Classic New Zealand wine trail embraces 80% of local wineries

Snow Tubing

late June–August • activity

Similar to coming down the water slides in aquapark, only better, because this time you slide on snow instead of water

Anzac Biscuits

April 25 • food

Biscuits with the history behind them remind of soldiers' mothers and wives who used to send the pastry overseas


February–May • food

Sweet and tart, exotic passion fruit will refresh you during New Zealand's summer and autumn

Whale Watching

June–July • nature

People's favorite marine inhabitants come closer to the shores in winter


April–June • food

The fruit consistency varies from soft like jelly to crispy like apples

McLaren Falls Park in Autumn

March–May • nature

Rusty red Cypress trees are the main autumnal decoration of McLaren Falls Park


April–October • food

Cut tamarillos 'bleed' with red gel and are served with a pinch of sugar or salt

Anzac Day

April 25 • event

On the Anzac Day, New Zealanders watch parades and eat legendary Anzac​ biscuits


February–June • activity

A nice way to combine diving with hunting

The Kōwhai

September–mid-October • nature

Sweet-scented yellow kowhai flowers allure numerous birds

Spring Blossoms on the South Island

late August–early October • nature

White and pink colours prevail in spring floral parades throughout the South Island


March–June • food

The juicy seeds-filled feijoa flesh is excellent when raw, but also good in puddings, pies and jams

Summer Tube Rides

late December–February • activity

If you miss winter tubes, summer has prepared another seasonal tubing trail for you