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Traveling to New Zealand February 2024

I've been told that the temperatures there are not as hot as they tend to be here in our Mid Atlantic summers. My traveling partner mentioned to me that the temps over there can get quite cool and is taking a light weight packable puffer jacket which she plans to wear on the plane. I'm thinking that perhaps I too should take something similar. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

Posted by
2806 posts

Exactly where in the country do you plan to go? NZ is approximately the size of the state of California so temps can vary greatly depending on where you are. The northern part of the north island is more tropical while the southern part of the south island is below 40 deg. of latitude, so it can be pretty chilly in the mornings ... especially in and around the mountains - near Queenstown for example.

Posted by
4809 posts

I agree with Robert. We were there a few years ago and found the north island was quite warm, but the further south on the south island we got, to cooler it got.

Posted by
2708 posts

I would take it. It can be in the 40s in the early morning hours in the South Island in February. I was there in early-mid March and wore my down jacket during the day.

Posted by
126 posts

We don't have a stable climate due to being an island, so the weather is changeable. Simplisticaly:

Upper NI = warm, humid, sub tropical, more prone to rain and showers, less variability in temperature - 22-25C
Lower and Eastern NI and Eastern SI = windier, dryer, hotter when it's hot, colder when it's cold
Upper SI - sunnier, dryer and hotter to the east (although wetter to the west)
Eastern SI - Generally sunny, dry, windy, not humid, more variability in temperature - 15-28C (it's 25C at my place today)
Central SI - Can be sunny and dry and hot, but cold in mountain areas (people holiday by the lakes for the long sunny days, but you'd want to be prepared (and check the forecast) if going walking in the mountains).

I would not wear a puffer in February, and would be more likely to use a lightweight rain jacket as a rain/wind layer .. If I was spending a lot of time walking in the mountains, then maybe a puffer vest for layering. If I was doing serious hiking, then I would do some serious research to be properly prepared.

We have shops as well that sell all the usual stuff.

Posted by
52 posts

Thank you all so much for your help. A little more detail about our trip. We will be there for 2 weeks on a tour covering the North and South Islands. Some of our tour highlights include Christchurch, Mt Cook National Park, Tasman Valley, Queenstown, Marlborough Region, Rotorua, and Auckland.

Has anyone else done a similar tour? Any tips they can offer?

While I am looking forward to this trip, I'm dreading the flight to get there from the US East Coast.

Posted by
13 posts

Kia ora mtbaerden! Great to hear that you are coming to New Zealand. I think the question on temperatures has been answered for you. We are on a purple of long skinny islands that run almost directly up and down the line of latitudes so great variation from the Far North to the Deep South.

I always recommend jacket with them. It is especially useful in the evening when the sun goes down, and the chill picks up in the air. On the other extreme, also be very careful with the sun. We have some of the most damaging UV rays on the planet. A good sunhat, factor 50 sunblock, and a light long sleeved top are also advisable.

Your tour itinerary is a little different to ours (www.mondumo.com) but you’re hitting some really great spots.
A few tips, if they are not already covered by the tour.
* Christchurch - visit Canterbury Museum.
* Abel Tasman National Park - go sea kayaking.
* Queenstown - eat a Fergburger. Join the line early (11:50am).
* Marlborough - drink sav and eat oysters!
* Rotorua - treetops walk.
* Auckland - Giapo Ice Cream!

Have a wonderful time in Aotearoa New Zealand!

  • Colin Mairs (Rick Steves guide in Scotland, adopted kiwi and creator of Mondumo Tours in NZ and Australia)
Posted by
52 posts

Thank you Colin for all your great guidance. I will certainly follow them all.

Posted by
126 posts

FYI Canterbury museum is currently closed for refurb/redevelopment. If museums are your thing then I’d recommend the Arts centre as an alternative. https://www.artscentre.org.nz/ They have great guided tours.

And re the flight…it’s honestly not as bad as you are anticipating. You just get on with it. Also you’re changing seasons, lots of natural light when you arrive will help. They feed you, the lights go down and then it’s just dozing and resting as much as you can (totally normal to recline your seat at this point) , until the lights come up and they give you breakfast prior to landing. Most US flights arrive early, and it will help if you can push through that first day.

Posted by
13 posts

You’re welcome mtbaerden !
I just re-read my message. In case the typo wasn’t obvious, we’re not on a purple of long skinny islands, but we are on a couple of long skinny islands.

I agree with Kiwi’s comments about the long flight too. It’s not that bad really. Once you’re in the plane you’re in the zone and you’re already on vacation. Relax and enjoy all the good things that the plane has to offer and don’t look at the time during the whole flight.
Watched clocks move slower ; )

Posted by
64 posts

Welcome to New Zealand mtbaerden.

January and February are the hottest months in NZ, though as previously mentioned we don’t have a stable climate as such. Certainly Auckland is very hot and humid in February. However last February it rained most days and was cooler than previous years. Bring a raincoat, definitely a sun hat, and sunblock!! Generally its very light clothes for the North Island in February.

We find the fights grueling. We head to Europe every year and always book somewhere on arrival for two nights to catch up on sleep. We're seniors and it gets harder as we age. We try to make the flight fun, and once on-board you can’t get off. I think it’s more the thought of the flight, once that plane talks off you are in holiday mode and the excitement sets in..

I hope you enjoy NZ

Posted by
33 posts

Good advice above. I never travel without a warm layer and a rain coat. But you can always buy something if needed and you are travelling light. Long flights are just something we put up with to travel.

Posted by
2115 posts

Hi mt, you’ve received some great info from the New Zealanders! We did a cruise to NZ in March 2020. We flew to Auckland a few days early and did a wonderful day trip to Hobbiton and the glowworm caves with Auckland Scenic Tours. It was one of the highlights of our trip.

We very much enjoyed the time we spent in NZ. We were sailing to Tasmania and Australia when Covid hit. They closed the borders and we returned home early. It is a long flight. Hope you enjoy your trip!

Posted by
222 posts

We spent a month last year (Feb-early March) in New Zealand and Australia. First in NZ and it was very nice weather. A couple of days rain in Rotorua and we found it could be windy. We are in Alabama and it is not as hot there as at home. I carried a variety of clothes - long quick dry pants, capris, long sleeved shirts, short sleeved shirt, light down vest and the all important rain jacket. We had so many different weather systems and activities that we encountered. Swimsuit for a day of snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef inAustralia. We still managed to pack in a 21" roll on and a small backpack. You will be able to purchase items you may need. NZ was wonderful and I hope you enjoy the trip!!

Posted by
52 posts

Thanks to all of you who offered advice, it was helpful. We had a fabulous 14 days on our New Zealand tour and came away wishing we could move there. We saw and did too much to list here, but, should anyone have any questions of our experience fell free to ask.