Summer in New Zealand equals sizzling barbeques, long lazy days at the beach and Christmas in T-shirt style. From December to February, New Zealand, the cities seem deserted and everyone heads to the beach , campgrounds or resort holidays or take road trips in the country.
Prices for independent travelers are definitely higher now, so avoiding summer will save some money. A good alternative is to travel between May and September. This applies mostly if you plan to rent a home for a longer period or need a campervan for your stay.
Weather and Temperatures
The weather is very changeable , regardless of the season and is very mild year-round. Even during summer, there will be some colder and wet days, therefore dressing in layers is the best option. Bring a good quality waterproof light jacket and wear thinner layers under it.
Here is a list of some of the most popular destinations and what to expect here during summer:
Auckland avg high 22C / avg low 16C
Christchurch avg high 21C / avg low 12C
Hamilton avg high 23C/ avg low 11C
Queenstown avg high 21C / avg low 9C
Wellington avg high 19C/ avg low 14C
Auckland avg high 22C/ avg low 16C
Christchurch avg high 20C / avg low 12C
Hamilton avg high 25C /avg low 12C
Queenstown avg high 21C/avg low 10C
Wellington avg high 19C / avg low 13C
>>read more about Weather in New Zealand
Where to go & what to do
Summer in New Zealand is all about spending time in the outdoors and there are plenty of interesting things to do for all budgets.
This is when the food and wine events take place. The Wine Marlborough Festival is a dream come true for anyone passionate about wines.
February 6 marks Waitangi Day, the national holiday in New Zealand. If you are in Wellington, head to the Waitangi Park on the waterfront and enjoy the mix of arts, crafts, food and entertainment offered by the different cultures.
It is also the time for cultural events. During summer, the iconic Kiwi bands travel the country and you can listen to their music in coastal towns or on lakeside villages. The Te Matatini, the national kapa haka traditional Maori performance competitions, is one of the most important cultural events of the year.
If you are after an adventure, this is the time to come to New Zealand. Whether you want to spend time on the land, sea or sky, there is something to do, from total relaxation to extreme sports. Scuba diving is at its best now. It’s also a good time to go hiking in one of the many National Parks.
Finding cheap flights to New Zealand during summer
There are several low-cost carriers which offer direct connections from near-by countries to New Zealand. However, don’t expect the prices to be very low, especially during summer. Book your ticket in advance and , as much as possible, check the flights offered by low-cost carriers, even though those might be connecting flights. Also, consider flying into a different New Zealand airport rather than the closest to your destination, and travel the rest of the distance overland.
Sample fares for the summer of 2011/2012:
Sydney – Auckland – Sydney: Dec 14 / Dec 20 NZ$409 (Air New Zealand)
New York – Auckland – New York: Dec 14 / Dec 20 NZ2834 (1 stop on Air New Zealand)
London – Auckland – London : Dec 14 / Dec 20 NZ$2412 (1 stop on Korean Air)
Sydney – Auckland – Sydney: Jan 10 / Jan 16 NZ$409 (Air New Zealand)
Canberra – Auckland – Canberra: Jan 10 / Jan 16 NZ$794 (Virgin Australia)
Sydney – Auckland – Sydney: Feb 10 / Feb 16 NZ$347 (Virgin Australia / Jet Star)
Melbourne – Auckland – Melbourne: Feb 10 / Feb 16 NZ$348 (JetStar)
Finding cheap accommodation in New Zealand during summer
Should you want to drive across the country, rent a campervan once you get to New Zealand. Rent a tent, as well, as you’ll need it during your road trip.
In Auckland, in mid-December 2011, expect to pay from NZ$94.22 per night for a twin room (with bathroom) in a 2-star hotel. In Wellington, for the same period, expect to pay from NZ$47 for a standard double room in a 2-star hotel.