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New Zealand in August

Julian Apse on Tourism NZ

What is it like to travel New Zealand in August?

Mountains covered in snow, far away from the peak season tourist crowds and uninterrupted scenery: August is really a magical time to be travelling New Zealand. Needless to say that you will need to wrap up warm for this winter month in New Zealand, but with the right clothing, August in New Zealand can be enjoyed just as much than any other time of the year.

In this quick and simple guide to New Zealand in August, we’ll go over what the weather is like in August, August events, activities best done in August, and typical prices during August. We’ll also go over some travel tips for August.

For more advice on when to travel in New Zealand, take a look at When is the Best Time to Go Backpacking in New Zealand?

Travel Tips for New Zealand in August

When travelling New Zealand in August, here are some things you need to know.

  • Make sure you pack some wool or polypropylene layers, as well as a rain jacket to protect you from the elements.
  • Because August is one of the low seasons in New Zealand, you will not need to worry too much about making advance bookings with the exception of towns around ski fields. August allows you to travel more flexibly. However, booking the ferry crossing between the North and South Island is a good idea to get a cheaper deal.
  • If you’re hitting the slopes on a sunny day during August, slap on some high factor sunscreen. The intense UV rays in New Zealand are further intensified by the reflection of the snow.
  • If you are doing any weather-dependent activities, such as skydiving or taking a helicopter, plan a few days in these destinations in case your activity is cancelled one day.
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New Zealand weather in August

As the last month of winter in New Zealand, August is cold so wrap up warm. Nevertheless, it’s usually milder than the other winter months as it turns into spring. Mountainous regions will have the most changeable weather so be prepared for that. Regions such as Auckland and Northland may experience a lot of rain during August.

North Island Temperatures: Highs of around 15°C or more, and lows of 5°C.

South Island Temperatures: Highs of around 13°C and lows of -1°C.


August Events in New Zealand

Most of the happenings will be occurring on the New Zealand ski fields during August with loads of competitions and events. Nevertheless, New Zealand’s capital city always has something going on. Wellington on a Plate is a two-week-long festival of food-tastic events happening during mid-August. Attend some cooking workshops or treat your taste buds to some Kiwi cuisine.

August is also a good time to check out a famous Kiwi Sunday market which is always a big event in every New Zealand community with good food, free samples and usually some live entertainment.

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Activities best done in August

August is arguably the best month to hit the slopes in New Zealand. By being the last month of winter, the ski fields are usually fully open, every run has had plenty of snow, and there’s still room for more powder days. Additionally, August is outside of the New Zealand school holidays, meaning the slopes are less crowded. Learn more about skiing in New Zealand with our guide to the ski season in New Zealand.

However, if you prefer to take it easy during your trip to New Zealand, why not take advantage of the huge amount of hot pools the country has to offer. Treat yourself to some thermal mineral pools or go hunting for some of the free natural hot pools. We’ll help you out with this list of 7 Free Natural Hot Springs in New Zealand.

On the subject of geothermal activity, the geothermal parks around Rotorua, Taupo and White Island are particularly impressive in winter with the steam intensified by the change in temperature. Check out these 5 Insane Geothermal Parks in New Zealand You Won’t Believe Exist.


Typical Prices in August

August is considered one of the low seasons in New Zealand, meaning that the country is quieter of tourists and the prices are lower than other times of the year. This is with the exception of ski field areas, such as Queenstown and Mt Ruapehu, which experiences a high season at this time. Take a look at 11 Reasons to Travel in the Shoulder and Off-Season in New Zealand for more benefits to travelling in August.

Flights in August

August tends to be a relatively affordable time to fly to New Zealand, however, if you are making any stopovers in the Northern Hemisphere, which is during the summer season in August, then you may experience higher prices during this time. Other factors influence the price of your flight such as the route you take and how far in advance you book. For some money-saving hacks on flights to New Zealand, check out How to Book a Cheap Flight to New Zealand.

Vehicle rental in August

August is the perfect time to rent a car or campervan in New Zealand if you want to save money. Because it is the low season, you will see vehicle rentals are at their lowest prices, such as NZ$20 per day for a small hatchback. See this article for more costs to include in your rental budget.

Accommodation in August

With the exception of accommodation around ski fields, accommodation in New Zealand is usually at its cheapest during August. Expect to pay around NZ$21-$32 per dorm bed in a hostel or around NZ$10-$20 for a powered site in a holiday park.

Activities in August

Again, thanks to the low season some activities will have special promotions on during August. You don’t have to worry too much about booking in advance, however, giving an activity provider a heads up a couple of days before will be appreciated to make sure that the tour is still running on your desired date. Commercial ski fields in New Zealand cost around NZ$95 for a day lift pass excluding rentals and transport.

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