Things to Do & See in Summer

23 Jan 2021

With endless stretches of gorgeous beach, fresh seafood and marine life encounters happening in summer, it won’t take long to understand why Kiwi's have such an affinity for the water.

Summer in New Zealand falls between December and February and is famous for sunny days with high temperatures. 

The great weather encourages a steady flock of visitors to the country’s beautiful beaches to swim, surf or just relax. Celebrate Christmas like a true Kiwi – with a beach barbecue. It’s a popular time for travel in New Zealand, both for local families and international visitors. Remember to book your excursions and accommodation well in advance to avoid disappointment.


Spot Pohutakawa

During this time of year, our native pohutukawa tree blooms a vibrant red, justifying its name as New Zealand’s ‘Christmas Tree’. Lining coastlines, they are an emblem of the warm weather and the relaxed atmosphere of summer. 

If you take a summer road trip, you're guaranteed to see pohutukawa in full bloom. 

Embrace Island Life

Being an island nation, you’re never far from the sea in New Zealand. Make the most of long, hot summer days with aquatic activities such as kayaking, snorkelling, sailing or swimming.

It’s also a great time of year to learn to surf. Places like Raglan, Taranaki and Mount Maunganui are surfing meccas. 

Go Cycling or Mountain Biking 

Rotorua’s world-famous mountain biking trails, dotted with enormous redwood trees, are dappled with shade – the perfect way to stay cool!

Around the country, cycle trails give you the chance to see some of the best scenery in the country. 

Go on a Glacier Hike

Heli hiking on ancient Franz Josef Glacier is a great activity for the hotter months when there are clear skies and little rain.


Top Summer Destinations

The Coromandel is a classic summer destination, only two hours drive from Auckland. 

Head to Northland to find secluded beaches away from the crowds, or road trip around Tairawhiti on the east coast to see sunrise from the lighthouse positioned on the easternmost point of the country.

Abel Tasman National Park is another popular place to visit in summer. The turquoise coves and golden beaches are best enjoyed in the sunshine. 



Travel Tips for Summer 

Get the most out of your summer holiday with these great tips.

Make Reservations in Advance

Being high season, booking in advance for accommodation, tours and transport is highly recommended. Public holidays, such as Christmas, Waitangi Day and regional anniversary days, are particularly busy.

Don't Forget the Sunscreen

New Zealand’s sun can be harsher than in other parts of the world. If you’re outside exploring, wearing sunscreen with a high SPF(opens in new window) is highly recommended to avoid sunburn.

Stay Safe in the Water

You'll probably spend a lot of time at the beach or at swimming holes over summer. Stay safe and make sure you pay attention to the advice of local lifeguards and watch out for rips or other hazards. 


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