New Zealand is located in the Southern Hemisphere, meaning that its summer lasts roughly from the end of December to the end of March. This also means that the North Island is generally warmer than the South Island as it's closer to the equator — in January, Auckland is, on average, 8 °C (24 °F) warmer than Dunedin.
December to March is also the main tourist season for the country. January is especially busy as it is not only the month with the largest number of foreign visitors but is also the school holiday season when many locals take their vacations to travel around the country. Although the weather is at its finest, if you want to avoid the large crowds and perhaps also spend a bit less on accommodation and other things, visiting in November, March, or April can be a good alternative.
Hiking is possible year-round in New Zealand, especially on the North Island, but most visitors consider the spring months — September to November — best for it as the weather is pleasantly warm but not too hot for physical exercise.
New Zealand is famous for its awesome skiing and snowboarding slopes, especially around Queenstown. The ski season coincides with the winter months of June, July, and August. Throughout the rest of the year, Queenstown and other parts of the country are amazing for adventure sports like canoeing, rafting, and skydiving. It is possible to surf year-round in New Zealand, and there are many great spots where to do so, with spring and summer months bringing an especial increase of adventurers hitting the waves off the coast of both islands of the country.
In recent years, there's been an increase of travelers who use New Zealand as a base to join a cruise or a tour to Antarctica or one of the nearer subarctic islands. Needless to say, visiting the coldest part of the world can be very challenging in terms of weather, so most tours take place during summer months, from November to March. It takes about two weeks for a ship to go from New Zealand to Antarctica and back, plus the time spent on the seventh continent itself.
Now that you've decided when to travel to New Zealand, check out our prices for the dates you have chosen!