When should I Backpack in New Zealand?
When is a good time to go backpacking in New Zealand?
This really depends on what you are interested in and want to do, I don’t suppose you will be able to go white water rafting in the winter or would really want to.
You should consider what you would like to do when you get there and try to plan your itinerary to ensure it fits in with your planned route and at that you arrive at the right time for you.
New Zealand has a whole range of activities that span the seasons but there isn’t really a bad time to visit. The country has so much natural beauty, the weather can remain varied up to mid-October and they have a winter ski season too!
The warmest months of the year are from September through to April.
Maximum daytime temperatures can vary from 15 – 30+ degrees (Celcius) in the summer to 10 – 25 degrees in the autumn (& spring) and 5 – 18 degrees in the Winter.
Spring is September to November in New Zealand
Spring time in New Zealand is a great time of the year to visit. The warming climate begins to reveal the ever changing scenery and you can start to see the lush greens, crystal sharp blues and snow-capped mountains as the month’s progress.
The air is fresh and the country feels ready for new adventures.
As you would expect there is a whole range of activities and experiences available to tempt a curious visitor some of which I have listed below:
• The World of WearableArt Awards show in Wellington – An international art and culture event
• Taranaki Rhododendron and Garden Festival
• The traditional blossom festivals in the Hastings and Alexandra regions
• The Kaikoura Seafest – For seafood lovers on the coast of the South island
• Wine lovers are not forgotten, with the acclaimed
• The Toast Martinborough event – brings together top local wineries just outside of the capital
Spring is a great time to get out doors, the rivers are filled with the run off of winter giving you the opportunity to jump in a raft or canoe and hit the white water or try the shotover Jet in Queenstown.
This is also a great time to see some of the wildlife which is plentiful at this time of the year, dust off your hiking boots and get tracking some of the amazing walking trails that are available all over the place.
Skiing in New Zealand also lasts into spring so you have a nice long season but if you can get up the mountains at this time of year you will not be disappointed as the already breath-taking views are further complimented with some fantastic colour contrasts for the budding photographer.
Summer in New Zealand is from December to February
As you can imagine this is a great time to get outdoors as the temperatures rise and sunshine is in abundance.
The days are long and sunny the nights are mild and comfortable. The sunniest areas are considered to be the Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson and Marlborough which receive the most hours of sunshine in a year.
Throw in a sizzling barbecue, salads, sauvignon blanc, swimming at the beach and long lazy days at the beach or crib (Kiwi for a holiday home) and you start to get more of an idea of the summer life in New Zealand.
There are many gorgeous beaches in New Zealand’s which are ideal for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, boating, and water sports during summer.
It really is a great time to get outside and there is no end of things you can do from walking in the bush to skydiving or swimming with dolphins among a variety of other outdoor activities.
Let’s not forget Christmas of course which is generally celebrated in shorts and T-shirt as the bright crimson blooms of the pohutukawa (New Zealand’s native Christmas tree) line the coasts with their festive colour.
Autumn is March to May in New Zealand
Autumn in New Zealand is a slightly cooler season with settled weather.
Landscapes are filled with the vibrant colours (Red, gold and orange) and the various fruits of the harvest.
This is a great time of the year to get out and about, visit the countryside and experience some of New Zealand’s finest cycling and walking tracks.
Harvest season is a great opportunity to get a taster some of the country’s best at the various markets and vineyards the nation has to offer.
Autumn really is the best time to get on cycle, walk or ride a horse along a whole variety of trails for all different levels of expertise.
If you are a cyclist you are in luck as New Zealand’s growing cycle trails network offers everything from a gentle gradient to a more challenging downhill run.
There are as you would expect a number of shows celebrating the autumn some of which are listed below:
- Havelock Mussel Festival – Marlborough
Hokitika Wildfoods Festival
Bluff Oyster & Food Festival
Auckland Arts Festival
Ellerslie International Flower Show – Christchurch Pasifika Festival – Auckland
Dunedin Fringe Festival
Womad – New Plymouth
Balloons over Wairarapa or Waikato
Classic Fighters Omaka air show
Balloons over Waikato
Auckland Cup Week
Ironman New Zealand – Taupo
Queenstown Bike Festival
Te Houtaewa 90 Mile Beach Marathon – Northland
Goldrush Multisport Event – Central Otago
TSB NZ Surf Festival – Taranaki
Drivesouth Rally of Otago
Great Barrier Island Walking Festival – Auckland
Tour of New Zealand – national
Routeburn Classic – Fiordland
Cateye Moonride – Rotorua
Winter in New Zealand is June to August
This is the snowy season in New Zealand and as you would expect there is a wide range of winter activities especially in the mountainous areas.
While it is the snowy season the winter climate can be quite varied, you will find cold crisp days in the high country and southern regions but you may also find mild and moist conditions in the sub-tropical northern along with more temperate conditions in the western coastal regions where rainforests thrive.
Either way there is plenty of opportunity for outdoor activities or you can stay indoors and enjoy some good food and wine.
On both the North and South islands winter is the time to hit the slopes, New Zealand has an alpine playground large enough to more than rival the European alps.
Well if you are interested in hitting the slopes be it on a board or Skis it is worth considering that Coronet Peak, in Queenstown, is New Zealand’s most popular ski field while Mt Hutt, in the Canterbury region, has one of the longest and most consistent seasons in the southern hemisphere.
And so the butt twitching bus rides begin…
If getting on the ski fields is not your thing that’s ok too, there is still plenty of things to do in New Zealand, you can get up and hike the glacier in Frans Joseph, bath in the hot springs and geo thermal pools in Rotorua or get some hiking in among more usual activities.
There are as you would expect lots of winter events you could attend including the annual Queenstown Winter Festival in late June, the Winter Games NZ, F.A.W.C or one of the 50 food event in Wellington held over a 2 week period.