For a lot of people trip to New Zealand is one in a lifetime and they want to make the most of it! Planning it correctly makes a big difference. Everyone prefers different type of travels and depending on that you might want to come in a different time of the year as well. So what is the best time to travel New Zealand?
We have been living in New Zealand for almost ten years now. We came as tourists, traveled the whole country, settled in Queenstown, had kids. Having children is not stopping us from traveling – it’s actually the other way round. We love New Zealand and its nature. And we want our children to see all the beauty too!
We have done lot of different ways of traveling around the country! First year low-cost backpacking, later on usually shorter trips since we had full time jobs. In a rented motor home with parents and our latest trip was in a caravan we bought. And in this post we are going to share with you what is the best time to travel New Zealand according to the way of traveling you choose.
Coming as a backpacker for a low-cost traveling
If your budget is tight you should definitely skip the high-peak season over Christmas and New Years. Probably even couple months right after that.
Christmas is usually the start of Summer season and with that you see prices of everything tourism related skyrocketing! Queenstown is a unique place. It’s even more extreme than other places but just to give you an example, the price for accommodation in Queenstown can be 10x higher in the peak season than in a low season.
Not only accommodation is much more expensive but also prices for different activities you might want to do. Huts on different tracks are cheaper out of season as well.
October is a good time to come. Spring is beautiful all around the country when everything is in bloom, you see lot of lambs and other baby animals around which is super cute. It’s still off-season so activities and accommodation is cheaper, not too many tourists around, places like Hobbiton should still have some spaces available even if you don’t book in advance.
Caravanning around New Zealand
When you plan on coming to New Zealand and buy or rent a motor home or caravan and travel all around the country, then I think it does not really matter what time of the year you choose. I suppose it really depends on what you prefer. I would not do a trip like that in the winter but that’s only because I don’t really like winter.
Caravans and motor homes are usually easy to heat up so there is no problem with cold. Holiday parks where you can park and plug-in your home on the wheels are pretty much everywhere as well. Prices will vary according to the time of the year as well – as mentioned above Christmas and New Years will be the most expensive and you will have to plan this a bit in advance as lot of them will be booked out.
We have done a caravanning trip over Christmas and New Years last year. We have chosen that time of the year purely because that’s the time when Jan has time off work. And my parents, who have also arrived and joined us on this trip, have time off work too. We didn’t have any parks booked in advance but whenever we were driving somewhere we tried to find a place with vacancy prior to our arrival. Sometimes we had to drive shorter or longer distances as there was no free space available for us anymore wherever we wanted to go. But if you are flexible like that than it shouldn’t be a big problem.
If you have a set schedule and a plan to what you wanna see and do then I would recommend to either book everything in advance if you wanna come in the peak season or come in spring or end of summer/autumn.
North or South Island of New Zealand
New Zealand is approximately 1600km long from north to south which means that the weather will be absolutely different in the very north to the very south.
Depending on what you want to see and where you want to travel there might be different times when it is the best to come to New Zealand as well.
South of South Island is in general much colder than north of North island. Northland area can have around 15 degrees over the winter months (July, August) when in Queenstown for example it will be freezing in the same time. This can be good point for taking into consideration when you plan your holiday.
Summer in the north can be a bit tropical, when it rains it can keep raining for weeks. But it’s warmer. In the south we don’t have that many rains, mainly in autumn. Winters are cold but usually very sunny. Snow is mostly only up on the mountains. Summers are warm but don’t forget to take some warmer layers with you as well because when the sun is down it can get quite cold sometimes too!
Anytime is good!
I guess anytime is good to visit New Zealand. Because it is so large, you can find here everything. And then it depends on what you want to see and do here.
If you want to come for skiing, then winter is the best time of course. If you want to travel all around but are not interested in bumping into other tourists on every corner then I’d recommend spring probably. Summer is great but it can be super busy on different places.
Autumn can be a bit rainy, but there is nothing more beautiful than Central Otago in Autumn. You can read my post about that here 🙂
If you are planning a trip to New Zealand and are not sure about anything please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be more than happy to give you any answers!