man jumping in a cave in new zealand

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Summer in New Zealand means wild swimming in crystal clear rivers, basking in sunshine on golden beaches, and evenings eating barbecued sausages as mozzies eat you. Winter in New Zealand means taking skis or snowboards to the slopes of some of the most impressive mountains in the world. But what about autumn and spring? What happens in New Zealand during the months when it's not quite hot enough or not quite cold enough?

Don't worry, New Zealand is awesome all year round. We've got six great reasons why you should visit New Zealand in the off-peak seasons. 

1. No queues

Autumn and spring are the perfect time to visit New Zealand, as there are far fewer people. It's quieter, you can take your time and visit attractions and activities on a whim. You won't need to wait in long lines or show up early to avoid the crowds. If you're visiting New Zealand to discover our Great Walks, the quieter months are awesome as there are fewer people you have to share the tracks with! Fewer people makes visiting Insta-famous places such as Roy's Peak a lot easier, and you'll get better photos as well. 

2. It's still beautiful

New Zealand is beautiful at any time of year. The North Island doesn't have distinct seasons, but in the South Island autumn brings golden trees and tawny hillsides. Spring brings bursts of colour in bright yellow daffodils and fresh green leaves, plus new spring lambs are born between September and October. Some places, such as Milford Sound, actually look better with moody clouds and a dose of rain!

woman with two dogs hiking in south island new zealand

3. More bang for your buck

The shoulder seasons are the best time to visit New Zealand because prices are down! When travelling in the low season, typically you can find some great deals on accommodation, rental vehicles, and activities. Travelling New Zealand in summer can be eye-wateringly expensive - travelling New Zealand in spring or autumn is much easier on your wallet. 

4. you can take your time

As there are fewer travellers around, generally people aren't in as much of a rush and you can enjoy the journey on the road. In the height of summer, the roads are busy with travellers and locals heading to the beach or up the mountains in winter! A road trip in spring or autumn means you'll be able to appreciate the journey, the views and take your time. The roads will still be a little bit busy of course, but you won't have to contend with angry faces. On this topic, here's a reminder that New Zealand drives to the left, if it's your first time driving in New Zealand.

beach in new zealand

5. It's Not too hot, not too cold

Goldilocks would love New Zealand in the shoulder seasons. Our autumn and spring aren't that bad (temperatures average 7-21 degrees Celsius), which means it's usually not too hot or too cold. If you can't stand either the cold or the heat, off-peak seasons are the prime time of the year to visit New Zealand! Don't forget to bring a brolly (umbrella) with you on your travels though, as you never know when you'll get caught out in a sunshower. 

6. You don't always need to book in advance

Spring and autumn are quiet time on the Kiwi travel scene, which is good news for backpackers who like to fly by the seat of their pants. Hostels and hotels usually have beds available even at the last minute, and you can often organise activities for the same day. If you prefer free-wheeling adventure over planning, this is the best time of year to visit New Zealand!