You’d be hard pressed to pick a bad season to travel in New Zealand, or “godzone” as Kiwis call this little beauty of a country. Summer means beaches and wine tastings, in winter you can hit the ski fields and autumn is one of the best times to go hiking. But no one ever talks about spring - which is a shame really, because it’s possibly one of the best times of the year to plan a trip around this pristine nation. What’s so special about spring? Where to begin…
1. There are less tourists
New Zealand’s springtime is still a bit of a hidden gem, so most tourists will plan their Kiwi holiday for summer (December - February) or winter (June - August) depending on what kind of vacation they’re after. All the better for you - fewer crowds, less traffic and (often) lower accommodation prices await the springtime traveller. Some parts of the country can get pretty hectic during the height of summer - by going a little earlier it’s much easier to enjoy all the most popular spots. All you have to worry about is not telling too many people how great it is, just in case people start to realize…
2. The ski season isn’t over
Just because it’s not winter anymore doesn’t mean that snow has disappeared from the mountains. In fact in some parts of the country, Queenstown being a perfect example, this can actually be the best time of the year to hit the slopes. It always pays to check with the ski field ahead of time to ask them about the conditions on the mountain, but there’s no reason a spring ski trip shouldn’t be on the cards. Don’t leave it too late though; September is going to be a lot more promising for snowbunnies than November.
3. The weather’s warming up
In spite of the fact that some ski fields are still in full swing, the weather definitely takes a mild turn as spring emerges. Some people might ask, why not wait for summer weather? Well, summer in New Zealand is great, but visitors who set out on a springtime adventure will notice a certain crispness in the morning air and long warm afternoons that carry a hint of delicate freshness - subtleties that are burned away by the heat of summer. While rain and wind may strike, for the most part there’s a beautiful balance to springtime weather that you can’t find in any other season.
4. White water rafting
It’s true that New Zealand is the perfect place to relax, unwind and adjust your life to a slower pace - but it is also an adrenaline junkie’s dream playground. There’s no shortage of things to throw yourself off, plunge down or zoom across - and one of the most popular occupations for thrill seekers in this country is white water rafting. Melting snows mean that spring is prime time for this extreme activity - there are many locations around the country where you can careen downriver in an inflatable craft so check your options to see if you can tie in a few more adventurous pursuits in the same day.
5. Spring festivals
Summer fests tend to steal the spotlight, but there are some absolutely unmissable festival experiences between September and November. Nowhere is the season’s new bloom more evident than in Taranaki Powerco Garden Spectacular, a vibrant showcase of the region’s best public and private gardens. If you’d rather be filling your stomach than gazing at flowers, Metro Taste of Auckland is your best bet: masterclasses, live demonstrations, artisan foods and beverages of all varieties will appeal to both casual gourmand and diehard foodie. For a taste of New Zealand’s motherland, Whangamata’s Brits at the Beach is a celebration of all things English, with a traditional village fete, classic British cars, a yacht racing competition and much more!
So the real question is not whether you’ll visit New Zealand in the spring, but how will you get around and experience all that the season has to offer. Motorhome travel has seen a sharp rise in interest over the last few years, with the built in flexibility and freedom appealing to many visitors. It’s easy enough to find a great deal on a motorhome rental, so all you really need to concern yourself with is what you’ll do first!