Owing to its highly variable weather conditions, the best time to visit New Zealand is one of the most important things every visitor must know. With a range of experiences on offer throughout the year, New Zealand tourism rarely witnesses an off season. It is one of those unique destinations in the world which can be visited anytime of the year. However, the best time to visit New Zealand depends entirely on the kind of traveller you are and what you wish to experience. To make it easier for you to get utmost pleasure from your holiday, following is the classification of tourist seasons in New Zealand:
Peak season 1: December to February
It’s summer during these months in New Zealand and the weather is at its best. The pleasant sunshine turns New Zealand tourism into a gorgeous, cosy, and desirable holiday option. You can enjoy sightseeing, laze around on the beaches, enjoy watersports, and indulge in adventure activities such as hiking, trekking, biking, paragliding, and whatnot! But experiencing New Zealand tourism during summers means dealing with crowds. This is the time when both locals and international tourists visit New Zealand to enjoy pleasant sunny days in this part of the world. Resultantly, the prices are significantly higher than normal and budget accommodation can be quite difficult to find. However, nothing beats celebrating Christmas when the temperature remains between 20-25 °C.
Peak season 2: March to May
It’s autumn season, and with winter still a few months away, this is also another best time to visit New Zealand and cherish the vibrant colours of nature. If you wish to experience the most beautiful side of New Zealand tourism, this is the season. With mercury hovering between 17-23 °C during the day, it is a great time to enjoy the surrounding natural beauty or indulge in adventure activities such as mountain climbing, overnight camping, trekking, and hiking in New Zealand. The best experience however is cycling, or taking a walk through the most iconic parks and gardens of New Zealand tourism that get painted in red and orange by autumn hues.
Shoulder season: June to August
With June comes winter in New Zealand and the inland temperatures of South Island drop to around -10°C. However, the rest of the coastal areas of New Zealand experience mild temperatures. While this may not be the best season to witness the charm of New Zealand tourism, winter sports lovers can have a great time holidaying at this time. With lavish ski fields, it’s an obvious choice for ski enthusiasts which can be best enjoyed at Queenstown, Mount Hutt and Wanaka. Besides, this is the perfect time to enjoy other adventure activities offered by New Zealand tourism like hiking on glaciers, snowboarding, and trekking in snow.
Also, there is little to no traffic on the roads, so if you want to do a New Zealand self drive holiday, June to August is a great time to experience the same. Hotels and homestays are available at economical prices, thereby making it a good deal for budget travellers.
Peak season 3: September to November
Spring is yet another great season to explore the wonders of New Zealand tourism. With the Southern Alps and other mountains still covered with snow, the usual temperatures range between 15°C and 21°C and you can experience the pleasant combination of the warmth of the sun and the cool breeze from the mountains. Spring is also the time for fresh blossoms whose vivid colours add to the magic of New Zealand tourism, and enhance the beauty of this place.
This is the ideal time for sunbathing at the lakes, enjoying snow activities on mountain tops, and indulging in adventure sports such as scuba diving, snorkelling, paragliding, jet skiing and whitewater rafting.
Just like most foreign destinations, New Zealand tourism also requires a valid visa, passport, and various other supporting documents. Citizens of India with valid visitor’s visa can enjoy a holiday in New Zealand for a maximum of nine months. The easiest and fastest ways of applying for a New Zealand tourist visa is online. The visa document you receive remains valid for 18 months from the date of issue. The approximate fees for New Zealand visa is ₹11,350-₹13,100. However, if you happen to hold a passport from the UK, or any other country that falls under the visa-waiver agreement of New Zealand, you do not need a visa to holiday in New Zealand.
Bay of Islands
Located in the North Island, Bay of Islands is one of the best places to visit in New Zealand. If you love fishing, sailing, or watersports, Bay of Islands is the place you should explore. At around three hours’ drive from Auckland, this mesmerising region comprises 144 islands between Purerua Peninsula and Cape Brett. Bay of Islands is famous with tourists for yachting, kayaking along the coast, hiking trails, secluded coves, untouched forests and abundant marine life. Besides experiencing whale and dolphin watching tours in New Zealand tourism, don’t forget to sail right through the famous Hole in the Rock formation in the Bay of Islands.
Sitting peacefully at the southernmost point of the North Island on the Cook Strait, Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, is a small but vibrant city which adorns New Zealand tourism in its own unique ways. This city is home to an iconic waterfront promenade, mesmerising sandy beaches, a busy harbour, colourful timber houses on the hills, bustling markets, lively restaurants and bars, heritage buildings and expansive nature parks, including the Wellington Botanical Gardens.
The Te Papa museum that puts on display the nation’s history, culture, and art, the Mt. Victoria Lookout, and the Carter Observatory are some of the must visit attractions in Wellington and are the highlights of New Zealand tourism.
Built around the two main harbours, the Viaduct Harbour and the Waitemata Harbour, Auckland is the most populous of all New Zealand cities. Lined with bars, restaurants, numerous shops, Auckland is where the nightlife in New Zealand comes to life. The 328-metre tall Sky Tower Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest park, and the Auckland Art Gallery are some of the most prominent tourist attractions in the city. Besides, the Mission Bay Beach and the sumptuous sunset views make it the true highlight of New Zealand tourism.
What do you do when you can’t take the hyperactive city life, be it in your own country or in New Zealand? Well, you generally seek peace and take refuge in the lap of Mother Nature. And perhaps, that’s why we would recommend visiting Rotorua, for it’s one such gem for tourists and a blessing for New Zealand tourism. Located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, Rotorua not only welcomes you with its eye-catching landscape that comprises a number of volcanic craters but also gives you a chance to treat yourself to natural spa at the mineral-rich geothermal pools. Besides, you can enjoy trout fishing, mountain biking, trekking, luging, sky diving and more.
Just about 30 minutes from Auckland city by boat is Waiheke Island, located in the middle of Hauraki Gulf. Apart from the picture-perfect views that you witness on your way to the island, it is also a great place to be for wine lovers; something that New Zealand tourism takes great pride in.
Fiordland National Park
It is, undoubtedly, the most beautiful landscape in New Zealand which promises to leave you awed by its incredible natural beauty. With deep blue lakes, imposing mountains, dense forests, and several cascading falls, Fiordland National Park is one of the biggest reasons why New Zealand tourism continues to attract visitors from all over the world. So whether you are planning to kayak in the fjords of Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound, or walk along a hiking trail, be ready to get mesmerised every time you turn your head.
It’ll sound like a cliche, but Queenstown is the country’s adventure capital. And why not? Bungee jumping, skydiving, white-water rafting, rock climbing, jet boating, paragliding, hiking, skiing, mountain biking; there’s a whole list of adrenaline-filled activities that are on offer in Queenstown. The snow-clad peaks of Remarkables Range just give it the trademark natural beauty that New Zealand tourism quite rightfully boasts of.
Christchurch, also known as the ‘Garden City’, is yet another gem in New Zealand tourism. Situated on the east coast of the South Island, Christchurch is famous for its expansive botanic gardens and impressive English heritage. International Antarctic Centre, Christchurch Botanic Gardens, North Hagley Park, and Willowbank Wildlife Reserve are some of the must visit places in Christchurch.
Tongariro National Park
Packed with many active volcanoes, undisturbed forests, turquoise lakes, desolate plateaus, hot springs, and lush meadows, Tongariro National Park is not only one of the oldest national parks in the world but also the most beautiful in New Zealand. The places of attraction such as Lake Taupo, Mount Tongariro, Mount Ruapehu, Mount Ngauruhoe add to its melodramatic scenery. It is that one place in New Zealand tourism which will actually make you realise how naturally gifted this country is.
Gateway to the Southern Alps' Mount Aspiring National Park, Wanaka is a resort town located on the southern bank of the spectacular Lake Wanaka in the South Island and one of the best places in New Zealand. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and the wilderness of glaciers, this gorgeous resort town is also home to the famous Treble Cone and Cardrona ski resorts.
Franz Josef Glacier
Considered as the most accessible of all glaciers in the world, Franz Josef and Fox glaciers are easily the most desirable attractions of New Zealand tourism. Despite the harsh cold, these frozen landscapes of ice are thronged by adventurers who enjoy taking a walk through on the glaciers or even a heli ride.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
What do you picture when you hear or read the word ‘caves’? Well, if the answer is dark and intimidating tunnels with random flights of bats all over, then Waitomo Glowworm Caves are definitely an exception. Located in North Island, Waitomo Caves are naturally illuminated by hundreds of thousands of glowworms, and make for one of the most visited places in New Zealand tourism. This experience, instead of terrifying you, will leave you astounded. You can enjoy a guided boat ride into the caves which is one of the most unique things to see in New Zealand.
Muriwai Beach is another bewitching tourist destination in New Zealand located just around 40 minutes from downtown Auckland. This picture-perfect beach offers you stunning views of the vast Pacific Ocean and the killer sunsets. Definitely a place to be if you’re expecting a lesser-known beach from New Zealand tourism. As you visit this beach, do not miss out on exploring the Gannet Colony that overlooks two beautiful bays and offers a great chance to enjoy photography. This is also the place where you will witness thousands of birds flying over you.
Abel Tasman National Park
Are you a hiker wanting to get the best of New Zealand tourism? Abel Tasman National Park is where you should be heading. It’s wilderness combined with unique rock formations that beautify the environs of this national park. The Tasman Coast Trek is like an icing on the cake for adventure lovers who can’t get enough of natural wonders. And who would miss the land of such clean beaches where snorkelling and other water sports are always on offer. To add to the charisma of New Zealand tourism, you can also witness rare birds such as blue penguins, wekas, wood pigeons and oystercatchers.
Visit Hobbiton movie set
If you happen to be a ‘Lord of the Rings’ fan, the Hobbiton Movie Set, has to be your top priority. It is one of the most famous attractions in North Island and has been a major reason why New Zealand tourism shot to such fame. After all, where else can you actually walk into a movie set? Take a walk around the shire, the real movie set featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
If you are in New Zealand, you just can’t have the best experience unless you go shopping. Whether it’s for local items or fancy international stuff, New Zealand tourism has a lot in store for all kinds of travellers. Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, and Queenstown are some of the biggest shopping hubs in New Zealand.
Leisure walking is one thing you can always enjoy the most in New Zealand tourism, thanks to its nature parks and sparsely populated towns and cities. Wellington Botanic Garden, Auckland Botanic Garden, and Christchurch Botanic Garden are some of many places where you can simply enjoy walking.
Bungee jumping in Queenstown
Not for nothing is Queenstown known as the adventure capital of New Zealand. Here, you can enjoy bungee jumping from three different sites, which promises to be the most thrillful experience you will get from New Zealand tourism.
Hiking and trekking
New Zealand tourism makes sure that the visitors get the best of hiking and trekking that the country offers, which is why a number of trails in various national parks and forested areas have been marked. From beginners to professional hikers and trekkers, there are ample opportunities on offer for each kind of adventurer in New Zealand. Franz Josef Glacier, Mount Cook National Park, and Coromandel Peninsula are some of the best places to enjoy hiking and trekking in New Zealand.
TranzAlpine train journey
Are you someone who loves train journeys? If yes, then hop on the TranzAlpine rail that plies between Greymouth and Christchurch and be witness to some unbelievably beautiful landscapes of New Zealand tourism from behind the train window while sipping a cup of piping-hot coffee.
Boating and kayaking
They say if you don’t go boating in New Zealand, you are bound to miss out on a lot of experiences. We must say, it’s true to a great extent. And that’s why we would recommend you go kayaking, yachting, or sailing to get up-close with the wonders of New Zealand tourism. Lake Wanaka, Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, Bay of Islands, and Abel Tasman Marine Reserve are some of the best places to enjoy boating in New Zealand.
Sample fine wines
If you love wine, you must take a wine tasting tour. New Zealand tourism helps you sample some of its finest wines by taking a wine tour of the popular vineyards. You can even stay over to understand how wine is actually made.
Immerse yourself in Māori culture
After you think you are done with almost everything you wanted to in New Zealand, do take some time out and immerse yourself in Maori culture, New Zealand’s indigenous culture. Spend a night at a local Maori house, witnessing the energetic haka dance performance by the Maoris, or learn about Māori heritage at Te Papa. It’s one experience that will help you decode the charm of New Zealand tourism.
New Zealand tourism is always more than eager to leave you amazed with its delicious local cuisines. Whether it is served at a local street side stall or inside a fancy restaurant, the flavours of New Zealand cuisines will stay with you forever. So, here are some of the must-try local dishes in New Zealand and some of the best places to enjoy such dishes:
This is a traditional Maori dish which comprises meat and vegetables cooked slowly in an underground oven. This used to be the common cooking method for thousands of years in New Zealand. Nowadays, hangi is served only at special occasions like weddings and other ceremonies. This dish, even though an old-style, still manages to be at the top of the best dishes in New Zealand tourism.
People of New Zealand have special love for their seafood which is quite contagious. And therefore, we’ll just name another famous local dish, kina. This is actually the name for a kind of sea urchin that has a spiky outer covering and soft fleshy insides. Such is its taste that it has been regarded as one of the best New Zealand delicacies for centuries.
No, they didn’t really kill a kiwi to prepare it. It’s just some beetroots and a fried egg that go into the preparation of a kiwi burger. It’s a must-have for those experiencing New Zealand tourism for the first time.
New Zealand meat pies
You better compliment the cook after you have a New Zealand pie because New Zealanders take their pies quite seriously. Guess what, there’s even an annual competition for best pies! The customary flavours of New Zealand pie include minced steak and cheese, eggs, potato toppings and bacon. And you’ll definitely not have a hard time finding it wherever you go in New Zealand.
Cheese and wine
Wine and cheese tasting tours have always been very important in New Zealand tourism. So, how can we not mention these two when it’s about what to eat and have in New Zealand! Don’t forget to try the best cheese from Kapiti, Whitestone, and Puhoi Valley. For wine lovers, visit any local winery and you’re more than likely to find a wide variety of sauvignon and merlot options.
Best Places to Eat in New Zealand:
The Shed te Motu
76 Onetangi Rd, Onetangi, Auckland
Wine, Local food
₹1,000-1,700 for two
192 Cuba St, Te Aro, Wellington
Authentic local food
₹2,000-6,500 for two
Christchurch Tramway Restaurant
109 Worcester St, Christchurch Central, Christchurch
₹4,500-7,000 for two
193 Symonds St, Eden Terrace, Auckland
Local, Japanese, Continental
₹3,400-6,500 for two
The Taj Indian Kitchen
75 Beach Street, Queenstown
₹500-3,800 for two
178 Fairy Springs Rd Skyline Rotorua, Rotorua
Italian, Indian, Seafood
For Budget Travellers: ₹3,500 - ₹4,500 a day
For Mid-range Travellers: ₹5,000-₹8,000 a day
For Luxury Travellers: ₹10,500 and upwards a day