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When is the best time to cruise New Zealand?

Figure out the best time to visit beautiful New Zealand based on weather conditions, peak season and prices.

Updated

Fact checked

Take to the waters around New Zealand for one of the best ways to see the incredible coastline’s beaches and fjords.

Best time to cruise New Zealand

November to March.

Why?

Being summer, November through March are the warmest months in New Zealand, meaning it is best for those nature-based shore excursions. Cruise options are also much more limited during the winter months.


Overview

New Zealand is a popular cruise destination due to its beautiful scenery and the summer months are usually the busiest and most expensive.

It can be a good idea to travel in the shoulder months of October–November and March–April, to make your trip a little less expensive and not as crowded.


Weather and prices

Best time to visit New Zealand, weather-wise: December through to March is the best time to visit New Zealand for a cruise, as they are the warmer months.

Cheapest time to cruise New Zealand: October, November and April are good options to cruise New Zealand on a budget, as they are out of the peak season but the weather will still be relatively warm. If you're concerned about poor weather affecting your cruise but are tempted by the bargains that can be had during the off season, cruise travel insurance can help compensate you for changes to your itinerary and give you peace of mind for your sailing.


Best time to take shore excursions in New Zealand to...

  • Fiordland: December to February will be the warmest time to be on the water in New Zealand’s far south, and will be the most pleasant to experience the World Heritage Sites – Milford and Doubtful Sounds – as this destination is amazing for trekking and kayaking. Many cruises in the area will sail right into these fjords.
  • Rotorua (from Tauranga): November to May are the warmest and driest months to see the area’s hot thermal springs, bubbling mud and the famous Pohutu Geyser.
  • Auckland: December to April should grant you days at 20 degrees or more and are the drier months to visit New Zealand’s largest city.
  • Hobbiton (from Tauranga): November to May are the warmest and driest months to take an excursion to Hobbiton, which is mostly outdoors.
  • Marlborough: While any time of year is ideal for visiting the area’s famed cellar doors, summer in Marlborough brings long, sunny days and perfect weather for exploring the area’s walking tracks and waterways.

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