When is the best time to visit New Zealand?
One of the questions we get asked most is "When is the best time to go to New Zealand?" You might think the answer would be fairly straight forward, and the best time of year to visit New Zealand may be "the time of year with the best weather"? However for most people this may not necessarily be the correct answer.
To determine when is the best time to visit New Zealand, everyone should really work out exactly what they want to do, where they want to go, and what they want to see. Without that information to is difficult to give an answer.
NZ is one of those great all year round destinations, that make travelling at any time of the year a possibility, depending on what you want to do. Though temperatures in New Zealand are naturally higher in summer (December to February); for many people travelling at this time may not be the best choice, or may not be suitable due to other commitments.
New Zealand seasons and climate are very changeable and extremely mild year round. This means that even in summer, there will always be quite a few cool and wet days. Though it is naturally colder in winter (June to August), winter normally has plenty of sunny days too. If you look at the monthly rainfall, the South Island of New Zealand is generally a little drier and the North Island slightly wetter in winter. The amount of sunshine in winter is less than the rest of the year, though even in winter there are many sunny days. As a generalization, Fiordland and the West Coast of New Zealand have the highest rainfall year round; whilst regions such as Nelson, Marlborough, Hawkes Bay and the Bay of Plenty tend to have the highest amount of sunshine. So as long as you come prepared for the cooler temperatures, travelling outside of the peak summer period can be an option.
Clothing in layers
At all times of year, we recommend dressing in layers. So bringing a good quality waterproof anorak, with a number of warm thinner layers, which you can add to, or take off; allows you to quickly adjust to sudden changes in climate each day. However at all times of year, you should also be prepared for sunny days, so you should always bring a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen - you may need them!
Best Time for Self Drive Holidays
Prices for self drive holidays are always higher over the summer period between December and February. So travelling away from this time and closer to the low season of May to September can often reduce costs can make this the best time to visit New Zealand. This especially applies to Motorhome Rental and Campervan Hire; as rates reduce significantly as you move away from high season. In addition during low season Campervan Rental and Motorhome Hire companies also often give extra specials to encourage travel over this period.