Learn when it is summer in New Zealand, what the weather in summer is like, and where you can go during the summer months in New Zealand.
General information about summer in New Zealand
The summer months in New Zealand are December, January, and February.
Summer is the warmest time of the year in New Zealand, but also the busiest season for the following reasons:
- Most tourists prefer to visit New Zealand in summer.
- Businesses go through a shut-down period in December, so workers take time off from work.
- Children and students have their school holidays in December and January.
You can read more about and decide what is the best time to visit New Zealand for yourself.
Temperatures and summer weather in New Zealand
During summer in New Zealand, the sun is more south than north, so high in the sky, because New Zealand is on the Southern Hemisphere.
This also means that the temperatures are higher in summer than they are in any other season in New Zealand.
Temperatures between the North Island and the South Island do not differ that much, but summer nights tend to be colder on the South Island than they are on the North Island, and daytime temperatures tend to be higher on the South Island than on the North Island.
However, the latter is not always the case. Places like Napier and Gisborne on the East Coast of the North Island can experience record-breaking daytime temperatures sometimes.
Temperatures on the North Island can be as low as 8 degrees Celsius (46 degrees Fahrenheit) at night and as high as 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day.
Some places are more humid than others, so the heat might not always be pleasant, especially at night.
Temperatures on the South Island can be as low as 2 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit) at night and as high as 33 degrees Celsius (91 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day. Central Otago can experience cold nights and extremely hot days sometimes.
The average daytime temperature is a pleasant 18 – 25 degrees Celsius (64 – 77 degrees Fahrenheit) with the warmest month being January, the wettest month December, and the driest month February.
Temperatures start to decline in February, and the amount of daylight hours start to decline by the end of December.
December brings approximately 15 hours of daylight, January 14 hours, and February 13 hours.
So all in all, summer weather in New Zealand allows for spending a lot of pleasant time outdoors.
Where to go in summer in New Zealand
You can go almost anywhere in summer in New Zealand, because almost everything and everywhere is open, except for the ski fields and except for businesses on Christmas Day.
But the main summer attractions for both tourists and locals are hiking trails, beaches, lakes, or anything else that has to do with water.
Summer rain over Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown
Good places on the North Island to visit during summer would be:
- The beaches of Northland at the top of the North Island, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, and Napier.
- Mount Egmont National Park and Tongariro National Park for hiking.
- Auckland, Wellington, or Napier for city walks.
Good places on the South Island to visit during summer would be:
- The beaches of Abel Tasman National Park. You can also go there for kayaking or hiking.
- The West Coast of the South Island. Drive along it or stop here and there to hike to waterfalls, lakes, or along the coast.
- Wanaka and Queenstown for hiking (for example, up Mt. Roy, around Diamond Lake, or up Queenstown Hill), skydiving, or paragliding. You can also bungy-jump near Queenstown.
- Central Otago for picking fruit and scenic drives.
- Mount Cook National Park and Lake Tekapo for hiking (for example, to the top of Mount John or on the Hooker Valley Track to get up close to Mount Cook).
- The Catlins for waterfalls and coastal scenery south of Dunedin.
The possibilities are endless really. You just need to know where your interests lie and then pick out a couple of places to visit and activities to do.
This article falls under Travel Guide.
Note: This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm all details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.