Opposite to that of the northern hemisphere, New Zealand’s balmy summer season runs from December to February.

The Coromandel
Hahei, The Coromandel

During summer, New Zealand celebrates. The majority of kiwis take their annual break over the Christmas period and flock to scenic beaches or lakes. Discover our top picks for the ultimate summer vacation in New Zealand.

Temperature & weather

With average high temperatures ranging from 21 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius (77F), summer in New Zealand is hot without being muggy. Sunshine hours are high, and rain is not overly common in most places.

All things sun, sea & sand

Being an island nation, you’re never far from the sea in New Zealand. Make the most of long, hot summer days with beach picnics, kayaking, snorkelling, sailing or swimming – the list is endless! 

During this time of year our native Pohutukawa tree blooms a vibrant red, justifying its name as New Zealand’s ‘Christmas Tree’.

Swim with dolphins, walk coastal trails and feast on delicious seafood – for kiwis, summer is all about indulgence and celebrations.

It’s a great time of year to learn to surf. Places like Raglan, Taranaki and Mount Maunganui are surfing meccas.

Rotorua’s world-famous mountain biking trails, dotted with enormous Redwood Trees, are dappled with shade – the perfect way to stay cool!

Heli hiking on ancient Franz Josef Glacier is a great activity for the hotter months, when there are clear skies and little rain.

Stroll the quaint French-colonial streets of Akaroa, the site of New Zealand’s first and only French colony.

Unique summer destinations

Travel tips for summer

  • Make reservations in advance
    Being high season, booking in advance for accommodation, tours and transport is highly recommended.
  • Take a tour
    Be prepared for busy roads – taking a tour is a great option to allow you to sit back and soak up the sights.
  • Don’t forget the sunscreen
    New Zealand’s sun can be harsher than in other parts of the world. If you’re outside exploring, wearing sunscreen with a high SPF is highly recommended to avoid sunburn.

Popular summer activities