New Zealand sits directly in the 'roaring forties' latitude, which means a dominant and recurrent wind blows over the country from the west to the east; this can vary from a calm breeze in the summer to a pounding, roof-stripping wind in the winter. The North and South Island have two distinct patterns of rainfall for example, in the South Island, the Southern Alps act as a barrier for the moisture-laden winds from the Tasman Sea. This creates a wet climate to the west of the mountains and a dry climate to the east. The North Island's precipitation is spread evenly, without a geological feature such as the Alps. Temperatures are normally a few degrees chillier in the South Island, and both islands obtain snow in the winter. Winter falls in the months of June through August and summer from December through February. It is imperative to remember that New Zealand's climate is maritime, instead of continental; this means the weather can change with astonishing quickness and consequence. The busy traveler season lands in the warmer months between November and April, though ski resorts, such as Queenstown, are filled with tourists during winter.
Follow the links below to get the best time to travel in selected cities within the country.
- Best Time to Travel to Auckland
- Best Time to Travel to Christchurch
- Best Time to Travel to Mount Cook
- Best Time to Travel to Queenstown
- Best Time to Travel to Treble Cone
- Best Time to Travel to Wellington
- Best Time to Travel to Whakapapa
January - New Year's Day1
January - Day after New Year's Day1
February - New Zealand & Waitangi Day
March - Children's Day
March - Good Friday - Easter Monday
April - ANZAC Day
May - Labour Day
May - Mother's Day
June - Queen's Birthday
November - All Soul's Day
December - Christmas Day1
December 26 Boxing Day1
1 New Year's Day and the day after are moved to the Monday (and Tuesday) following if they occur on a weekend. If Saturday or Sunday is New Year's Day, then Monday and Tuesday are holidays. If Friday is New Year's Day, then Monday is given in lieu of the 2nd day holiday.
The same rule applies to Christmas and Boxing Day.
Weekend: Saturday, Sunday