New Zealand comprises two large landmasses called North Island and South Island. Both islands bask in mild temperatures, moderate climate, and moderately high rainfall. Most regions receive ample amounts of sunshine, particularly in Hawke’s Bay, Bay of Plenty, Marlborough, and Nelson. The mountains and the sea dictate New Zealand’s climate.

In general, spring, summer, and autumn are pleasant times of the year to visit New Zealand. Sweltering temperatures in the country can be felt during the summer months of December, January, and February, with an average temperature range of 20–30°C (60–80°F). The winter season beckons with its pleasant 10–15°C (50–60°F) temperature. South Island’s inland alpine regions experience biting cold weather averaging below 10°C (50 °F).

Don’t forget to bring an umbrella, as the average rainfall in New Zealand registers within 640 to 1,500 millimeters, which is experienced throughout the year.

The beauty of traveling to New Zealand is that it can be done any time of the year. Travelers escaping bleak winters in the northern hemisphere will find a sunny refuge in Kiwi land, as all seasons here are the complete opposite of those in Europe or North America.

New Zealand’s annual festivals may also enhance your visit as you get acquainted with the people and culture.

January
• Hawke’s Bay Wine & Food Festival is held every January and invites everyone to sample the best of the region’s wines, spirit, and gourmet treats.

February
• Architectural buffs will love Napier Art Deco Weekend, as the small town of Napier in Hawke’s Bay shows off its historic buildings in a fun heritage festival.

March
• Masterton, an hour north of Wellington, hosts the Golden Shears International Competition, where the quickest hands in shearing and wool handling are feted.
• Savor the most exotic dishes and concoctions or gourmet bush tucker, as they are called in the West Coast, in an event called Hokitika Wildfoods Festival.
• Hagley Park Christchurch becomes abloom with the best of New Zealand’s horticultural highlights in Ellerslie International Flower Show, the largest flower and garden show in the southern hemisphere.
• Balloons Over Waikato is a gathering of hot air balloons flying on the edge of the central city lake in Hamilton.

May
• Bluff Oyster & Southland Seafood Festival is a toast to Southland’s unique bluff oysters and other succulent delights from the sea.

June
• Maori New Year or Matariki is rich with tradition and is also associated with the end of harvest. Traditional rites, cultural shows, and family gatherings mark this festival.

October
• Kaikoura Seafest showcases the abundance of the marine life in this seaside settlement found north of Christchurch. Visitors feast on Kaikoura’s specialty, crayfish, and other seafood.

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