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Best time to visit the South Island of New Zealand

Our verdict

The best time to visit NZ's South Island is March-May

NZ's South Island is a place lots of people visit almost all year round, but if you’re looking for the best time to go, March-May is definitely the time you should visit. This is based on a number of factors such as the weather, cost of flights and accommodation, peak travel periods and more.

In summer, the daytime temperatures in central Christchurch, NZ's South Island can reach a top of 24℃ (76℉). The temperature at night in the winter can drop to as low as 3℃ (37℉), although this can differ at other destinations across NZ's South Island depending on the geography.

The days are longest in NZ's South Island in December, so if you want to see the sights during the day when the sun is up for the longest time, it’s best to visit around that time of year. To stay dry, avoid travelling to NZ's South Island in October – It’s the wettest month of the year.

Keep reading to read all the info you need (and none of the stuff you don’t) about the best times to go to NZ's South Island. By the time you get to the bottom, you’ll have found out all there is to know about when to go, and you’ll be ready to start booking your flights! Who knows, we might even have some surprises waiting for you when you get there!

Warmest month

January

Least rainfall

September

Most daylight

December

NZ's South Island seasons

Before you plan your trip, it’s important to know when the seasons are as they may be different to yours depending on where you’re travelling from. NZ's South Island is in the Southern hemisphere, so the seasons fall on:

SeasonMonths
Summer December to February
Autumn/fall March to May
Winter June to August
Spring September to November

Best time to visit the top destinations in NZ's South Island

We’ve put together a breakdown of the average minimum and maximum temperatures by month, as well as the best times to visit for each. To learn more about these destinations including detailed climate breakdowns and much more, click or tap the city/destination name below.

CityBest time to visitJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
ChristchurchMarch-April
21℃
12℃
21℃
12℃
19℃
10℃
16℃
8℃
14℃
6℃
11℃
5℃
10℃
4℃
12℃
4℃
13℃
5℃
15℃
6℃
17℃
8℃
20℃
10℃
QueenstownMarch-May
17℃
6℃
17℃
6℃
15℃
5℃
11℃
3℃
8℃
1℃
4℃
-2℃
4℃
-3℃
5℃
-2℃
7℃
-1℃
10℃
1℃
13℃
3℃
16℃
5℃
DunedinApril
16℃
12℃
16℃
12℃
15℃
11℃
13℃
10℃
12℃
9℃
10℃
7℃
9℃
6℃
10℃
7℃
10℃
7℃
12℃
8℃
13℃
9℃
15℃
11℃
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Top FAQs

NZ's South Island is in Oceania.
You can check out the full list of awesome destinations and hidden gems to explore in NZ's South Island here.
The warmest month of the year in Christchurch, one of the most popular places to visit in NZ's South Island, is January.
The driest month of the year in Christchurch, NZ's South Island, is usually around September each year.

NZ's South Island map