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The Best Time to Visit the North Island

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When to Visit the North Island

Are the volcanic landscapes, vibrant cities and rich culture of the North Island calling your name? Then you’re going to want to start planning your trip to the North Island of New Zealand with a savvy approach! The North Island has four distinct seasons with ranging climates much different from the South Island. With that in mind, we’ve put this guide together on the best time to visit the North Island.

3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Time to Visit the North Island

1. The Weather & Season

Some people want to chase a certain activity, which is more likely to be closed or cancelled during winter, while others just prefer summer to winter. So if you care about the weather, consider the seasons when picking a time to travel around the North Island.

2. The Crowds

The North Island certainly has its busier seasons, so if you would rather avoid the crowds, consider when the school holidays are and when the tourist high season is.

3. The Cost

Finally, there are definitely some more expensive times to travel to and around the North Island in terms of car rentals, hotel rates and even flights. If you’re on a budget, you might want to stick to the tourist low season.

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North Island Summer

Months: December, January and February
Tourist Season: High Season

North Island Weather in Summer

Temperature: 20-24⁰C (68-75⁰F)
Rainfall: 60-100mm

Find out about the weather in each month in:

About the North Island Summer

Summer is by far the most popular time to visit the North Island of New Zealand. The weather is generally the best it’s going to be for the whole year for enjoying outdoor activities. However, this also makes the North Island the most crowded time of the year to travel around, where it’s important for travellers to book accommodation in advance to avoid disappointment. Not only is this a popular time for international travellers to visit the North Island, but you’ll find that this is when many New Zealanders travel the country too, due to the mix of school holidays and generally good weather. Check out the school holiday dates on the New Zealand Ministry of Education website. Be also aware that summer is the most expensive time of year to visit the North Island in terms of car rentals, flights and hotel rates.

Best Places to Visit on the North Island in Summer
  • Bay of Islands
  • New Plymouth
  • Gisborne
  • Mt Maunganui
  • Waiheke Island

Find out why you should visit these places in summer with our 5 Places to Visit in Summer in New Zealand.

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North Island Autumn

Months: March, April and May
Tourist Season: High to Shoulder Season

North Island Weather in Autumn

Temperature: 17-22⁰C (62-71⁰F)
Rainfall: 90-130mm

Find out about the weather in each month in:

About The North Island Autumn

If you’re looking for a quieter time to travel around the North Island, while still experiencing decent weather, then autumn is a good time to do it. The North Island still feels a little busy in March, but April and May are when things start to quieten down along with the prices of car rentals, flights and hotels. The days might be getting a little cooler, especially in the Central North Island, but it’s still comfortable enough to enjoy outdoor experiences, ensuring you have an extra layer and some wet weather gear. Toward April and May, you may also get the chance to see the brown and orange autumn colours in various parks and vineyards around the North Island.

Best Places on the North Island to Visit in Autumn
  • Hawke’s Bay
  • Taranaki
  • Gisborne
  • Wellington
  • Northland

Find more places to visit at this time of the year in the 5 Places to Visit in Autumn in New Zealand.

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North Island Winter

Months: June, July and August
Tourist Season: Low Season

Auckland Weather in Winter

North Island Temperature: 11-15⁰C (51-59⁰F)
North Island Rainfall: 120-150mm

Find out about the weather in each month in:

About the North Island Winter

Cool and crisp in the North Island’s drier regions and wet and mild in the more coastal areas: that just about sums up the weather in winter. The weather can also be a little unpredictable, so it’s not always ideal for some of the outdoor activities you’ve inevitably come to experience on the North Island. Nevertheless, many travellers don’t tend to mind, especially with the country being so uncrowded during winter! All you need to do is wrap up warm and have a good rain jacket and you can still enjoy the uncrowded walking trails and small-group tours! Winter is also one of the best seasons to see snow on the Central North Island volcanoes and go skiing. Prices for car rentals, hotels and flights are also usually at their lowest during in winter.

Best Places on the North Island to Visit in Winter
  • Rotorua
  • Ohakune
  • Bay of Islands
  • Lake Taupo
  • Auckland

Find out why these places are so good, as well as some ideas for the South Island too, in the 5 Places to Visit in Winter in New Zealand.

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North Island SPring

Months: September, October and November
Tourist Season: Low to Shoulder Season

North Island Weather in Spring

North Island Temperature: 16-20⁰C (60-68⁰F)
North Island Rainfall: 90-120mm

Find out about the weather in each month in:

About The North Island Spring

Spring is always a refreshing time on the North Island when the clocks go forward, the sun starts to warm everything up again, and the days get longer. In early spring, you can make the most of the last of the winter sports on Mt Ruapehu and still see snow on the mountains. October is when spring really starts to get into full swing, with the chance to see lambs in the fields (although this means that some walking trails may be closed, so be sure to check). The island still feels uncrowded until mid-November, so make the most of the more popular attractions and hiking trails before then! Prices for hotels, car rentals and flights are also reasonably priced until mid-November.

Best Places on the North Island to Visit in Spring
  • Tongariro
  • Rotorua
  • Hamilton
  • Wellington
  • Raglan

Find out why we love these places in spring in our 5 Places to Visit in Spring in New Zealand.

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