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Gap Year New Zealand :: essentials :: when to go

When to go to New Zealand

If you are reading this article then you may well be heading to New Zealand for a year-long trip. Lucky you! You’ll get to see the country change through all the glorious seasons.

For those of us with less time, the following guide will help you get what you want from your time in the country, be it scorching beaches or snow-capped peaks. Although it is located in the South Pacific, New Zealand’s weather can be extremely variable! Remember, you’re going to the other side of the world so the seasons won’t be the same as in the UK.

The North Island has a sub-tropical climate and experiences a lot of warm humid weather. The South Island, however, can be more prone to cold weather at certain times of the year due to its proximity to the Antarctic. This diversity in climate has created a beautiful range of scenery in the country, from golden beaches and tropical rainforests to snowy mountains and alpine ranges.

:: Spring: September to November
Average temperatures
Auckland (North Island): 14º C
Dunedin (South Island): 10º C

The weather will be getting warmer and tourist companies will just be opening after their winter closures. Things are still relatively quiet so it’s the perfect time to turn up if you’re going to be looking for a job, getting your bearings or prefer travelling outside of high season.

This is a great time for seeing the beautiful nature of the country with everything beginning to blossom. Try white-water rafting at this time of year to feel the exhilaration of battling the strong waters fed by melting snow.

:: Summer: December to February
Average temperatures
Auckland (North Island): 19º C
Dunedin (South Island): 14º C

The peak summer season; things are really hotting up! Hostels and activity companies will be busy with the demand of thousands of travellers so make sure that you book ahead. If you arrive before Christmas, there will still be time to pick up a temporary seasonal job to earn some cash for the busy season ahead! Remember that if you do plan to get a job, you must have a Working Holiday Visa.

This is definitely the sunniest time of the year in all parts of the country and a great time to visit the country’s gorgeous beaches. The days are long and warm, nights are mild. Don’t forget: New Zealand has one of the highest UV ratings in the world so wear a hat, sunglasses and sun-cream, even on a cloudy day!

:: Autumn: March to May
Average temperatures
Auckland (North Island): 16º C
Dunedin (South Island): 11º C

While the weather is getting cooler, it’s still warm enough visit the beaches in some areas. Enjoy the beauty of the changing scenery; Central Otago and Hawke’s Bay are famous for their splendour at this time of year.

This period leading up to the ski season, which starts in May, is the best time to arrive for those looking for a job and accommodation in the ski resorts. You’re advised to arrive early as many Kiwis and Ozzies come and live in the ski-centres for the whole season; you’ve got competition!

:: Winter: June to August
Average temperatures
Auckland (North Island): 11º C
Dunedin (South Island): 5º C

This is both the rainiest and snowiest time of the year, however, you won’t be forced indoors by downpours that last for days, they tend to be for short periods of time! Some of the best snow-falls happen on South Island, where temperatures can reach -10ºC. This is where the majority of ski resorts are found. If skiing not for you, take a visit to the stunning glaciers and mountain ranges for an unforgettable time.





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