Spring and Fall might be the perfect seasons to travel to New Zealand. The seasons in New Zealand are the exact opposite of North America, and the climate is still temperate in the fall and spring. The “shoulder” seasons offer great value and fewer crowds. This enchanting 268,021 square kilometre nation is the perfect place to relax and enjoy incredible sweeping landscapes, inspired cuisine, fun adventure sports, and top-notch attractions. It’s the perfect destination to visit on its own or during a stopover en-route to the South Pacific islands.
There are no extreme temperatures in New Zealand, and weather throughout the country is generally mild throughout the year – both on the North Island and South Island – allowing for glorious days! In March, however, after the peak summer seasons of January and February have wound down, thinner crowds make hotel rooms and great restaurants cheaper and more accessible.
Baby Lambs & Blooming Fruit Trees
New Zealand’s Spring comes in September, October, and November, and is a gorgeous time to visit! The countryside is lush and green, the fruit trees are in bloom, and adorable baby lambs bounce around the pastures. In Christchurch, bluebells and daffodils spring up, and Dunedin is coloured with vibrant rhododendrons. The days are warmer and daylight hours are longer.
Autumn spans March, April, and May. Some people think that this is the best time of year to enjoy a New Zealand vacation. The temperatures are pleasant (it’s still hot in February in most parts), and even in April people are wearing summer clothes on the upper North Island. The most spectacular autumn colours can be found in Queenstown, Central Otago, and Christchurch. While Easter and April school holidays can get busy in some areas, the fall can be a lovely time to see dramatic fjords, spectacular glaciers, rugged mountains, and vast plains. After a day of exploration, you can spend the long evenings sipping Kiwi wines and craft beers.
Perfect for Hiking
If you want to escape the busiest season on the trails, then the spring and fall months are great for hiking. It’s a little cooler, a little quieter, and you’re in for a treat because you will have most of the hiking trails to yourself. Choose from countless hiking trails around the eco-diverse nation and immerse yourself in its incredibly pristine wilderness.
Epic Whale Watching
Sail the sparkling waters of the Hauraki Gulf, near Auckland, and get up close and personal with dolphins and whales. Let on-board marine science researchers give you the inside scoop on these incredible sea mammals. Orca (Killer Whales) are often seen right in front of Auckland City, and playful wild dolphins love surfing the bow-wave of the boat!
Suggested Half-Day Tour:
Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari
Live Like A Local
New Zealand is an amazing country to explore by self-drive. Roads are in great condition, and the North and South Islands are bursting with gorgeous scenery. Auckland is a great place to kick off a self-driving New Zealand tour. You can then make your way to Rotorua via Waitomo Caves, known for their beautiful glow worms, or Hobbiton, the film set used in the film, Lord of the Rings. Rotorua itself is a fascinating geothermal laboratory of bubbling mud pools, spouting geysers, and Maori heritage. Explore Napier, where 70 odd vineyards cover the surrounding hills and stop in Wellington, the country’s capital and home to its finest museums and a flourishing artistic scene. On the South Island, visit vibrant Queenstown and magnificent Lake Wakatipu. Take a trip to incredible Milford Sound, once described by Rudyard Kipling as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”
New Zealand Self-Drive Itineraries
In Spring and Fall, prices are cheaper throughout New Zealand. Motorhome rentals cost a lot less, hotels offer discounts and value adds, coach tours are the best price of the year, and airfares are on sale. The famous Kiwi hospitality is on in full force, and lineups are shorter. Spring and Fall are also great times to stopover in the South Pacific, with great weather in Fiji, the Cook Islands, and Tahiti!
Get the latest travel trends & hear about the best deals on vacations around the world.
If you’re a Globetrotter, these are the newsletters for you!