If someone were to ask me what my favourite season to spend in New Zealand (which no one ever has), I’d say spring. Why is New Zealand great in spring? The summer crowds are absent, the mountains are still covered in snow and the weather can be summer-like (although a little more temperamental than other seasons). Thinking of visiting New Zealand in spring? I’ll give you some tips and let you know some of the best places to go.
When is spring in New Zealand?
September 1st is the date of the start of spring in New Zealand, although apparently it should be (there’s debate around it) somewhere around the 21st of September. I, and most other people in New Zealand, see September 1st as the start of spring, ending on December 1.
What’s the Weather Like?
Springtime in New Zealand is one of the most unstable weather periods, so you’ll likely see a few rainy days and some snow, especially in early spring. We were around Mount Cook in mid-October and had heaps of snow – just like a winter wonderland but a couple of days later it was warm!
What About the Crowds?
It’s probably the best season to travel in terms of crowds. Especially in early spring (September and early October) there shouldn’t be too many people clogging up the sights. Compare that to the summer period (especially around Christmas) and it’s a very different experience. If you’re planning a road trip around New Zealand I reckon it’s the perfect time.
One big thing to consider when road-tripping around New Zealand in Spring is that a lot of tracks are closed for lambing. Lots of hiking trails in New Zealand go through private farmland, and during lambing season they close them. Roys Peak, probably New Zealand’s most iconic mountain hike, is affected, as are heaps of other less popular ones. The good news is that there’s so many tracks to hike in New Zealand, that you can easily just find another one!
The blossom season in New Zealand generally starts around mid-September (it varies from area to area slightly though). You can see them in quite a few places, but our favourites are Central Otago and Dunedin. Check out Otago University for a classic “spring” in New Zealand photo!
Where to Go?
Spring is a great time to travel to most parts of New Zealand, so this section could simply say “Go Wherever”, but I’ll suggest a few places anyway.
First up, I’d definitely visit the West Coast of the South Island. Spring is a good time to visit as there’s heaps of snow on the mountains, making for some awesome views. It’s pretty cold and miserable in winter (although you’ll still get some nice days), but in spring you’ll get the snow-capped mountain scenery as well as warm enough weather to enjoy the beaches etc.
Next up I’d consider a trip down to Stewart Island, especially later on in Spring. We visited on the first day of winter and were incredibly lucky with the weather, but you’d probably be better off in September or October, as the days are a little longer and it should be warmer. It gets a bit grey and rainy down there in any season, but I’d avoid summer as most accommodation gets booked out early.
Popular Beach Towns
Popular beach towns in New Zealand get booked up (or at least get expensive) during the summer months, but head there a few months earlier and it’ll be different. Crowds will be fewer and room rates will be more affordable. We explored the Coromandel Peninsula in October and the weather was great (and the crowds weren’t an issue), and places like Kaiteriteri are great places to be on summer spring days.
Spring can be a good time to do a great walk. It’ll be easier to get a booking than in the peak summer months and again, the snow-factor can’t be ignored on the mountain tracks. It can get really cold in the mountains in spring though so you’ll obviously have to prepare!
New Zealand in Spring
Hopefully I’ve convinced you to explore New Zealand in spring. Every season has its charms, and you’ll get a slightly different experience in each one, but I reckon spring, especially October and November, are the ideal months for a trip around New Zealand.
Are you planning a road trip around New Zealand? Let me know in the comments below!
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