swimming in spring in new zealand

Best time to visit New Zealand

February 2018 | By Jamie Kuek

3 minute read

Get hold of your free New Zealand Trails brochure here

When is the best time to visit New Zealand?

There's never a bad time to visit New Zealand. Each new season brings with it something special, so whenever you come you're in for a treat! If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, our seasons are the opposite way round from yours, so our summer runs from December through February. These are the busiest months on the trails and in the country in general, but we get great weather in the spring and autumn too, when the mountains and trees are shrouded in colour and there aren't as many people around.

If you’re planning a hiking or adventure trip to make the most of the outdoors, we recommend travelling outside our mid-winter months when the snow on the mountains makes our best hikes (and sometimes roads) impassable and the conditions only suitable for those with technical winter mountaineering equipment and knowledge.  

At New Zealand Trails we run trips run from October to April, which is our Spring through to Autumn; this means we're walking, kayaking and riding through the warmest months of the year with the best weather. The trails are open and well-groomed, the mountain trails are passable, the roads are clear of snow, and our guides are eager to get outdoors with you! Arriving outside of this period means you'll be navigating our winter roads on your own, and risking the trails being closed due to snow or inclement weather.

Join one of our trips and we'll take care of the logistics. To see which trips are still available at your preferred time of the year, have a look at our availability page.

Visiting New Zealand in Spring

Our Spring months are in September, October, November.

Spring temperatures and weather in New Zealand


Heaps of crisp, sunny days, blossoms on the trees, wildflowers everywhere, waterfalls at their peak flow and guides fresh from hibernation.


Weather can be a bit ‘four seasons in one day’ so layered clothing is recommended, especially for chilly mornings and evenings. Trails may be muddy and high mountain tracks may occasionally be impassable due to snow.

Visiting New Zealand in Summer

Our Summer months are December, January, February.

Summer temperatures and weather in New Zealand


Generally warm, settled weather and plenty of sunshine so sunscreen is essential. Early December is a great time to visit if you can get away before the holidays.


Trips selling out early – these tend to be our most popular months, so book ahead. Expect more people around, and busier trails – but there’s still heaps of room for everyone.

Visiting New Zealand in Autumn

Our Autumn months are March, April, May.

Autumn temperatures and weather in New Zealand


The dazzling autumn leaves in Central Otago are a photographer’s dream! The trails are quieter and long, sunny days often linger on with cooler temperatures perfect for walking.


Chilly nights once the sun goes down so warm layers are essential. The odd rainy day is likely and a early snow may dust the tops of the mountains.

Visiting New Zealand in Winter

Our Winter months are June, July, August.

Winter temperatures and weather in New Zealand


Picture-perfect, snow-capped mountains and the ski resorts are open! Low-level walking trails are still accessible and deserted. The scenery is spectacular.


Cold weather; very warm clothes are essential. Snow falls can block higher mountain roads including access to tourist areas such as Milford Sound. The Great Walks are closed to novices.

New Zealand Trails run guided adventure trips from October through to April, with a focus on making the most of the New Zealand outdoors with two friendly local guides, excellent meals and accommodation and well-planned days. 


Check our trip schedules and availability on our availability page. To work out which trip suits you best, check out Which Trip is Right For Me.

Request your FREE NEW ZEALAND TRAILS brochure now for articles, stories and information on our 5 guided trip options. 


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