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Born in the Southwest, raised in the Northwest, I have called the South Pacific home for over 30 years. I founded J2 Travels in the late 1990s to share our knowledge with other like minded travelers – remembering always, that the joy is in the journey. I currently live on Maui, I'm endorsed by IATA, and am a member of the Fiji, Tahiti and New Zealand Tourism Boards.

Best Time of Year to Visit New Zealand

Explore > Travel Planning Articles > Best Time of Year to Visit New Zealand

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The best time of year to visit New Zealand depends on what you're going for. If you're a skier, ski season starts in early June and runs through late October. If you're looking to enjoy hiking, camping, swimming, etc., their summer runs from December through February.

Lake Hawea, South Island of New Zealand, from the mountains between Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka

TRAVEL SPECIAL: Quay West Suites Auckland

Quay West Suites Auckland 5 nights from 750 per person
Quay West Suites AucklandOur Auckland Hotel is an exclusive 5 star apartment hotel featuring very spacious 1, 2 and 3 bedroom suites.

Distinctive hotel facilities and guest services include a relaxing indoor heated pool with a star filled ceiling. All apartments offer large private individual balconies with views of the Waitemata Harbour or Auckland's cityscape.
Learn more about Quay West Suites Auckland

29 smoke-free apartments
Daily housekeeping
Self parking
Coffee shop/cafe
UNESCO Sustainable Property
24-hour front desk
Front-desk safe
Laundry service
Self-serve laundry
Luggage storage
Newspapers in lobby (surcharge)

New Zealand's latitude ranges from about -37 degrees to -47 degrees, roughly equivalent to the area from San Francisco to Seattle in the northern hemisphere.

However, because most of the country is relatively close to the ocean, you don't find quite as much of a temperature range in general.

The weather can change pretty quickly, though, as cold fronts or tropical cyclones move across the region.

The southern island has a climate similar to that of Oregon, whereas the northern island is more sub-tropical. Rainfall levels are high, ranging from about 25 inches/year to 60 inches/year.

  Thick fog at Auckland Airport early one winter (June) morning
Thick fog at Auckland Airport early one June morning.

To compare all resorts in New Zealand, click here.

See our complete list of travel specials for New Zealand.

TRAVEL SPECIAL: Bay Plaza Hotel Wellington

Bay Plaza Hotel Wellington 5 nights from 430 per person
Bay Plaza Hotel WellingtonA warm welcome to one of Wellington's best-loved hotels in New Zealand's exciting harbour capital. Bay Plaza Hotel 40-44 Oriental Parade, Wellington.
Can there be a better quality yet affordable place to experience Wellington's wonders?

Just a short drive to the airport, rail and ferry terminals – and a very short walk to explore the vibrant waterfront, city bays and beaches, the incredible national museum Te Papa, top shops, weekend gourmet food market and the entertainment zone filled with the city's best bars, restaurants and cafes. Working in the central business district? Be there in minutes by taxi, bus or a delightful walk along the waterfront.

Love the look out
Views from every window of the city, harbour or historic homes of Mt Victoria will wow you. On the inside, you'll equally love our beautiful décor, smart clean rooms and the professional, friendly service that means we get many return guests.

Have a sustainable stay
We look after you and the planet. The Bay Plaza Hotel has long been dedicated to sustainable tourism, with recycling, water-wise and beach clean-up initiatives that have proudly earned us Earthcheck benchmarking, a Qualmark 3 Star Plus rating and Qualmark Enviro-Silver.

Our restaurant serves market-fresh, creative New Zealand cuisine for you to enjoy. Choose from the wide range of options on our menus, which feature delicious meals designed to please every palate. With first-floor windows looking out to Wellington Harbour, this is a very special spot to meet friends or family, dine alone, host a business lunch, or take a date.

Take some time out and relax over drinks in our friendly house bar. Enjoy a range of food and beverages including cocktails, fine wines and premium beers, served with a smile day or night. You can continue at the famous bars and clubs in Courtenay Place just a short walk away – known as not only the best place to party in Wellington, but also New Zealand.
Learn more about Bay Plaza Hotel Wellington

Daily housekeeping
Near the beach
Restaurant and bar/lounge
Breakfast available
Self parking
24-hour room service
24-hour business center
Business center
2 meeting rooms
24-hour front desk
Front-desk safe

Typical airfares from LAX

Airfares vary by season, but also day of week, and are definitely affected by holidays. The chart above shows the typical minimum and maximum fares for a economy class ticket from Los Angeles (LAX) to Auckland, NZ (AKL), by month.

TRAVEL SPECIAL: Crowne Plaza Queenstown

Crowne Plaza Queenstown 5 nights from 700 per person
Crowne Plaza QueenstownUnquestionably the best lakeside location in Queenstown, Crowne Plaza Queenstown has the resort township at its doorsteps.

The stylish and contemporary lakeview rooms give you full view of the awe-inspiring Remarkables mountain range and invigorating Lake Wakatipu. With the best of Queenstown's attractions so close and accessible, Crowne Plaza Queenstown is the best place to stay, play and meet whilst soaking up the scenery and atmosphere, and feeling utterly at home in luxurious and comfortable surroundings.

Amenities include leisure concierge, valet car parking, business centre, 24-hour room service, stunning lakeview meeting spaces, secure ski storage room, sauna and excellent bar and restaurant facilities. The layout of the hotel allows each room to maximise the privacy and use of its own individual balcony or direct access to the sunny courtyard.
Learn more about Crowne Plaza Queenstown

Daily housekeeping
Near the beach
Restaurant and bar/lounge
Breakfast available
Internet in the lobby
Ski storage
Fitness center
Valet parking
24-hour room service
24-hour business center
Business center

Rainbow over Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown
Rainbow over Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown harbor.

Most of New Zealand averages over 2000 hours of sunshine a year.

This, plus the fact that there's very little air pollution, means that the UV rays are quite strong in the summer months.

Seasons in New Zealand

Spring September to November
Summer December to February
Fall March to May
Winter July to August

TRAVEL SPECIAL: Stamford Plaza Auckland

Stamford Plaza Auckland 5 nights from 860 per person
Stamford Plaza Auckland
Learn more about Stamford Plaza Auckland

Housekeeping (on request)
Restaurant and bar/lounge
Indoor pool
Breakfast available
24-hour fitness center
Valet parking
Spa tub
24-hour room service
Business center
8 meeting rooms
24-hour front desk


Ski Season in New Zealand

Ski season in New Zealand starts in early June and runs through late October.

The best-known ski areas are near Queenstown and the incredible Remarkables mountains and Lake Wanaka.

This area is noted for spectacular scenery, a wide variety of terrain and types of trails, and popular resorts.

On the North Island, there's the Whakapapa and Turoa ski areas, perched on the active volcano of Mt Ruapehu.

  Helicopter against the backdrop of the Remarkables, near Queenstown
Helicopter against the backdrop of the Remarkables, near Queenstown.


Bay of Coves 5 nights from 2,245 per person
Bay of CovesDiscover a new kind of five star luxury lodge in the Marlborough Sounds …
It’s surprisingly easy to find yourself a world away.

And, even arriving becomes part of the destination. Enjoy the all-too-brief journey from the ‘mainland’, by water or air, through some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet.

Our luxurious retreat is a sanctuary in every sense, surrounded by the timeless beauty of Nature herself in the Marlborough Sounds. A place to relax, escape the everyday and discover the exceptional.

Immerse yourself in our pristine natural setting, with bush that extends down to the very water’s edge of our secluded bay. Internationally-renowned walking tracks and adventure cruises await you on our doorstep. And, with our world-class chefs close at hand, we are dedicated to a unique experience that is unforgettably yours.
Learn more about Bay of Coves

Hair Dryer
Safety Deposit Box (In Room)
In-room Internet Access
Ensuite Bathroom
Coffee & Tea Making Facilities
Ensuite Bathroom with Separate Shower
Iron and Ironing board

Looking down on Queenstown from the top of the Skyline gondola
Looking down on Queenstown from the top of the Skyline gondola.

New Zealand Wine-Tasting

The country has become very well-known for its wines, especially its sauvignon blancs and pinot noirs.

Wine tastings are available in tourist areas throughout the year.

Harvest time for the vineyards typically starts in February, with some late-harvest types being picked as late as June in the Otago area.

Queenstown Wine Trail offers sight-seeing and wine-tasting year-round, visiting many of the premier vineyards and wineries in the Otago/Queenstown region.

Hunting and Hiking in New Zealand

Really, the weather extremes are not so extreme--it's a pleasant place to hike and explore the outdoors year-round.

Hunting is popular, especially for the incredible red stag--one of 7 types of deer introduced to New Zealand about 150 years ago by European settlers (who failed to consider the fact that New Zealand has no predators other than a small hawk).

Deer hunting season is officially from February through September, however, the rut (when the biggest stags are available) is during the rut, from late March through late April.

  Stalking red stag at Glen Dene Station, on the shores of Lake Hawea, South Island
Stalking red stag at Glen Dene Station, on the shores of Lake Hawea, South Island.

TRAVEL SPECIAL: Glenorchy Lake House

Glenorchy Lake House 5 nights from 2,185 per person
Glenorchy Lake HouseWelcome to The Glenorchy Lake House, a luxury bed and breakfast in the heart of Glenorchy. Amazing views, comfortable beds and tasteful decor, a therapeutic massaging spa, and a hearty wholesome breakfast will have you ready to enjoy all the area has to offer.
Learn more about Glenorchy Lake House

Free parking
Free WiFi
Lounge area
Shared kitchen


How we work with you to plan the perfect trip:

  • We'll talk with you to find out what you're looking for, what you like/don't like, etc.
  • We'll use our first-hand knowledge of the destination to pick out a handful of resorts we think you'd like
  • We'll create a custom mini website for you, with photos, videos, maps, etc. of the resorts we are recommending
  • We'll follow up with you to help you make your decision
  • We'll go to work with our suppliers to get you the best deal available on what you've decided on.

Map of Hotels and Resorts in New Zealand


About the author, Michael Cottam

Founder of Visual Itineraries, Michael lives in Bend, Oregon. He's an avid traveler, scuba diver, photographer, and a private pilot, and also the founder of Bright Yonder. He's been a Rotarian for 20 years, currently on the board of the Greater Bend Rotary Club. Follow Michael on LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter.