An introduction to New Zealand's seasons

New Zealand’s seasons are opposite to the Northern Hemisphere. The colder months of winter offer excellent skiing, while summer is all about the beach.

We’ve put together a guide to help you decide which season best suits your New Zealand vacation. Read on to discover the festivals, characteristics and weather of New Zealand’s distinctly different seasons.


September, October, November

Spring time in New Zealand means optimism everywhere you go. The chilly days of winter are over, and locals embrace the crisp, clear days of spring and the colourful flowers that bloom everywhere. Spring can mean unsettled weather, but the lush green of new growth can be seen everywhere and longer daylight hours mean more time for exploring. Average high temperatures sit between 15 and 18 degrees C (59 – 64 F) throughout the country. 

Enjoying the lively Whitianga Scallop Festival during September is a must for lovers of succulent, fresh seafood. Or, Wellington’s World of Wearable Arts festival – which also takes place in spring -  brings a touch of drama, theatre and world-class fashion design to your New Zealand vacation.


December, January, February

Kiwis have a spring in their step come December; thoughts of the BBQ’s, sunshine and public holidays inject an air of excitement. Summer means long stretches of settled, fine weather and daylight that lasts till 9 or 10 pm at night. It’s a great time of year to enjoy the water – sailing, surfing, kayaking or swimming are perfect summer activities. Needless to say, wetsuits are not required!

New Zealand’s largest and most colourful sporting event occurs in the form of the Wellington Sevens every year in February. Fans party it up in the nation’s capital, dressed to the nines in crazy fancy dress. The Hawke’s Bay Art Deco Festival also takes place during summer, transporting the city of Napier back to the glitz and elegance of the 1930’s.

Autumn (Fall)

March, April, May

Cooler nights and the golden hues of orange and yellow characterise New Zealand’s autumn months, bringing settled weather and the start of the Feijoa season. This tangy, green fruit is best eaten freshly picked off the tree or in a hearty Feijoa crumble. Beaches and lakes are still warm enough to swim; you’ll avoid the high season crowds of summer and you may even have them all to yourself. Average highs sit around 17 C (63 F).

Indulge in the food and beer festivals that the autumn months bring. The Hokitika Wildfood Festival entices intrepid foodies, where wacky dishes like beetle grubs, fried wetas or seagull eggs abound. Lovers of craft beer should head to the country’s craft beer brewing capital, Nelson, for a celebration of the hops growing season known as MarchFest.


June, July, August

You may be surprised by New Zealand’s winter days; beautiful crisp, clear days are often the norm. Visitors take this opportunity to rug up warm and hit the ski slopes around Queenstown, Wanaka and Christchurch; enjoying the spectacular alpine landscapes and great powder. During winter, you’ll be able to sample a hearty, kiwi roast meal; lamb or beef, it’s a quintessentially New Zealand culinary experience. High temperatures sit around 12 C (54 F).

If you’re planning a winter visit to New Zealand and you’re after some winter sports action, head to the Queenstown Winter Festival – New Zealand’s biggest winter party. For something more relaxed, the Maori New Year is celebrated during June all over the country and offers interesting cultural performances.

Visit New Zealand in any season with First Light Travel

At First Light Travel, we believe New Zealand is a great place to visit in any season – the friendly, engaging locals, fun kiwi culture and delicious food & wine will be a mainstay of your visit, no matter the time of year. Find out more on our website, or contact us now.

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