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Four Seasons


Four Seasons

Since Maori - the indigenous people of New Zealand - named these islands as Aotearoa or 'the land of the long white cloud', the seasons have played a defining role in the lives of all New Zealanders.

New Zealand's varied geography changes as each season casts its own interpretation on the landscape, revealing spectacular adventure playgrounds for every recreational pursuit.


View more downloadable images of the different seasons in Tourism New Zealand's Image Library.

Seasons in New Zealand

Since Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, named these islands Aotearoa or 'land of the long white cloud', the seasons have been of paramount importance to New Zealanders, many of whom make their living on or from the land and sea.

New Zealand has mild temperatures, moderately high rainfall and high sunshine hours throughout most of the country.

The climate is dominated by two main geographical features, the mountains and the sea. It is subject to influences from east, west, south and north, and varies from day to day - it's not unusual to experience 'four seasons in a day' so visitors should be prepared for some variances.

The changing seasons create a series of adventure playgrounds in the landscape for a vast range of leisure and sporting activities.

Spring in New Zealand

Spring in New Zealand officially occupies the months of September, October, and November.

After winter, spring brings a season of milder temperatures and a burst of growth as orchards and gardens blossom. It's a good time to get out and about, and experience New Zealand's prolific wildlife as the forest fills with birdsong and colonies of marine life - such as penguins and seals - come ashore to nurture their young.

Summer in New Zealand

Summer in New Zealand takes over the months of December, January, and February.

New Zealand's Christmas season is illuminated by the brilliant red blooms of the native 'Christmas tree' - the pohutukawa is a flowering coastal tree loved by birds and beach goers looking for a shady spot.

Summer is the traditional time for holidays which many Kiwis spend relaxing at the family 'bach' or 'crib' - the local name for a holiday house. It's a time for outdoor pursuits, watersports and barbeques, and a long calendar of festivals from food and wine to music or sporting events.

Autumn in New Zealand

Autumn in New Zealand stretches from March through to April and May.

New Zealand most often experiences good weather during autumn as the countryside explodes into vibrant colours - gold, red and orange. With settled weather and cooler days, it’s the perfect time for experiencing New Zealand’s many cycling or walking tracks.

Autumn is harvest time, and the opportunity to taste some of New Zealand's finest flavours at farmers' markets and vineyards throughout the regions.

Winter in New Zealand

Winter in New Zealand kicks off in June, and runs through July and August.

This is the time to hit the slopes as winter brings snow to the mountains of the North Island's Central Plateau and the great Southern Alps of the South Island - an alpine playground that's bigger than the European Alps.

Elsewhere, in coastal areas, visitors can still expect to find milder temperatures and pleasant conditions for many other outdoor activities.

More about seasons in New Zealand


Ashburton Domain in spring

Ashburton Domain - in Canterbury - is picture perfect in spring with this natural floral archway of blossoming cherry trees. This beautiful garden park is also planted with roses, azaleas, rhododendrons, lilacs, maples, magnolias and conifers.

Onetahuti Beach in summer

Onetahuti Beach - on the Nelson Tasman coastline - is a camping spot on the Abel Tasman Coastal Track. The wide, golden beach has glow worm caves and a small estuary where visitors can watch wading sea birds in the water.

Hawke's Bay vineyard in autumn

Autumn colours take over this vineyard near Havelock North. In Hawke's Bay, the fertile Heretaunga plains and sunny climate combine to produce some of New Zealand's top red wines, fruit and a vast range of artisan foods.

Winter snow on Tekapo

A memorial to local pioneers, the Church of the Good Shepherd rests on the shores of Lake Tekapo, in the Aoraki Mackenzie region. The church is sited so the altar window frames a magnificent view of the Southern Alps.