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The best time to travel in New Zealand

Even though it's possible to travel to New Zealand throughout the year, the summer is preferred - which means the period between December and March. It's also possible to ski for good proportion of the year as well - but the recommended period is between June and August.

At a glance

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Go and explore Maori culture in the land of rugby. The best period to travel to New Zealand ranges from December to April. Effectively, it's the period when the weather is warmest. That's what makes it the best time to discover this magnificent country and to enjoy the many extreme sports on offer. During the winter, it's not just a question of lower temperatures, but also the strong winds that blow. (On the other hand, this is the best period for winter sports).

The northern part of South Island

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The climate of South Island is both cooler and wetter than that of North Island: this means that it's even more worthwhile to travel during the period between December and April to discover the region. Visit the very pleasant town of Nelson, and above all, enjoy the many sporting activities that are on offer in this part of the country, including kayaking, surfing, climbing or horseback riding: the only thing to worry about is being spoiled for choice. Of course, you should also explore the Marlborough region, its wine, and its beaches.

Auckland and northern North Island

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The average temperature in Auckland is 23 degrees. The summers are hot, which means that the preferred period for visiting this part of the country with good weather (while avoiding the rain) is between December and April - unless you want to go skiing, in which case you should choose June, July, or August. Don't miss out on a visit to the Auckland Museum to discover Maori culture; you should also take advantage of the city's lively nightlife. In the surrounding area, you'll climb Mount Eden or One Tree Hill, and explore the famous Bay of Islands. The beaches are the best part of northern North Island.

New Zealand Outlying Islands

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The Outlying Islands of New Zealand are made up of nine archipelagos. The Chatham Islands and the Solander Islands are politically linked to South Island, while the others are not linked with any territorial authority. The Chatham Islands are the only ones that are inhabited; if you have a thirst for adventure, they are the ideal destination. Wherever possible, travel during the period from December to April to explore these wild, rugged islands.

Southern South Island

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If you like skiing, head to Queenstown, one of New Zealand's top skiing destinations. Discover this wonderful town against a backdrop of lakes and mountains. The best time to travel is between December and April if you want to visit the area or go hiking, and the months of June, July, and August for the ski season. You'll also explore the Fiordland National Park, which consists of forests, waterways, and mountains, before enjoying the nightlife in Dunedin. You can also enjoy different extreme sports in Wanaka.

Christchurch and central South Island

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Christchurch is an essential destination for any traveler to New Zealand. You will enjoy the city's lively nature just as much as its surroundings. You'll explore the region on foot or by bike, not forgetting the spa resort of Hanmer Springs and the glaciers in the area. You'll swim with dolphins in Akaroa and climb Mount Cook or the famous glaciers, Franz-Joseph and Fox. The period from December to April is the best time to discover this fabulous region, while the months of June, July, and August are best for skiers.

Wellington and the southern part of North Island

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Head to the lively city of Wellington, which is home to pubs, cafés, and concert halls that are always full of life. In the surrounding area, you can explore the country's oldest national park, Tongariro National Park, which is a hikers' paradise. In Taupo, you can enjoy extreme sports such as bungee jumping or free fall parachuting, before moving on to discover the vineyards of Hawke's Bay. Travel during the warmer weather, between December and April, if you can - or go skiing in June, July, and August,
Tiphaine Leblanc
78 contributions
Updated 26 October 2018
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