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New Zealand in January

Tourism NZ

What is it like to Travel New Zealand in January?

Travelling to one of the world’s most stunning countries is not a bad way to begin the new year. January is an extremely popular time to travel in New Zealand thanks to the long sunny days and generally warm weather. The country is in excitement after New Year’s celebrations and the holiday period, so you’ll find New Zealand is bustling with international visitors and locals alike!

In this quick guide to travelling New Zealand in January, we’ll go over the typical weather in January, events in January, awesome activities to do, what prices to expect and some handy January travel tips.

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 January

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

  • Slap on the sunscreen! Sun exposure in New Zealand can burn in less than seven minutes thanks to the hole in the O-zone layer between Australia and New Zealand. Make sure you always wear a high factor of sunscreen even on a cloudy day.
  • Book in advance! Because January is a busy season for tourism in New Zealand, avoid disappointment by making your bookings in advance.
  • Have an extra layer of clothing with you. Although January is generally a warm month, temperatures can change suddenly so always have an extra layer with you.
  • Have insect repellent. Particularly on the West Coast of the South Island, sand flies can bite and leave a nasty itch.
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New Zealand weather in January

January is typically a warm and sunny time to be in New Zealand. January is during the middle of New Zealand’s summer season, which makes it one of the most popular months to travel in New Zealand. Expect long days and consistent weather. However, New Zealand is renowned for having “four seasons in a day” even in summer so don’t be surprised if there is the odd random rainy day.

Average temperatures in January

North Island Temperatures: Highs of around 25°C  and lows of 12°C.

South Island Temperatures: Highs of around 22°C and lows of 10°C.


January Events in New Zealand

Because it is summer, January is a popular time for festivals and outdoor events in New Zealand. It all kicks off with New Year events concluding on either the 1st or 2nd of January. Get inspired for New Year’s events by checking out Where to Spend New Year’s Eve in New Zealand.

New Year’s Festivals in New Zealand
  • Rhythm & Vines, Gisborne
  • Rhythm & Alps, Cardrona Valley
  • New Year’s Eve Queenstown
  • AUM New Year’s Eve Festival
  • Wellington NYE Celebrations
  • Northern Bass, Kaiwaka
  • Highlife NYE, Waiheke Island
  • New Years Eve Christchurch
Summer Festivals

A number of awesome festivals happen during January. Get involved by volunteering by following our tips in How to Volunteer at a Festival in New Zealand. Here are some summer festival highlights:

  • Wellington Summer City – New Zealand’s capital city has around 90 free events throughout summer such as free gigs in the Botanical Gardens
  • World Buskers Festival, Christchurch
  • Auckland Seafood Festival
  • St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Auckland
  • Soundsplash, Raglan


Activities best done in January

January is a great time to make the most of the warm weather. Water activities are best done in January to make jumping in the water more refreshing than a shock to the system as it would be in colder months.

Popular water activities in New Zealand include surfing, white water rafting, scuba diving, snorkelling, swimming and canyoning. Get inspired by these articles:


Typical January Prices

As January is one of the most popular times to travel in New Zealand, it is also one of the most expensive times. For typical prices, take a look at What is the Cost of Backpacking in New Zealand?

Flights in January

Flights at the beginning of January are generally at their highest after the Christmas period, so try to look for travel dates toward the end of January. See here to get more advice on getting a cheaper flight ticket to New Zealand.

Vehicle Rental in January

Vehicle rental prices are also at their highest during the summer season, so consider that in your budget. We have more vehicle rental costs to budget for in this article.

Accommodation in January

While most budget accommodations in New Zealand have the same prices year-round, some hostels and holiday parks will have higher prices during summer. Holiday parks can bump their prices up to NZ$50 per night for a powered site, while hostels tend to stay around the NZ$25-$32 price margin for a bed in a dorm.

Activities in January

On the plus side, most activity operators in New Zealand will be open for summer giving you more to choose from. Activity prices often stay the same year-round so this should not affect your budget too much when travelling in January.

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