December in New Zealand

Weather and What to See and Do in New Zealand During December

Auckland Ferry Building, Auckland City
Image Courtesy of Malene Holm

December Weather

December is the beginning of summer in New Zealand. The weather is usually warm (although not as warm as January or February). Some parts of the country experience windy conditions (especially Auckland and north Canterbury in the South Island) although in general December is sunny and settled.

Be aware of the humidity in the summer months in New Zealand. Being a maritime environment, surrounded by the sea, wet weather can bring humidity, although never unpleasantly so. The other thing to watch out for is the sun. New Zealand has some of the highest UV levels in the world. It's always advisable to cover up with a hat and a high-strength sunscreen (factor 30+).

Pros of Visiting New Zealand in December

  • Warm weather. It's starting to get warm enough for swimming at the beaches (the later in the month the better). It is also an excellent time for hiking and walking and enjoying the outdoors in general.
  • Christmas. Christmas is a great time to be in New Zealand, although a very different experience to the northern hemisphere. Learn more about Christmas in New Zealand.
  • Flowering pohutukawa trees. The pohutukawa is known as the "New Zealand Christmas Tree" because of its profusion of red and crimson flowers which appear around Christmas time. It is one of the most beautiful features of coastal regions of the North Island during December.
  • There are more tourists about, but accommodation and attractions are still easy to come by.

Cons of Visiting New Zealand

  • The weather can be a little unsettled, particularly in Auckland, Northland and parts of the South Island.
  • The harsh sun. Make sure you cover up with sunscreen and appropriate clothing. Many a visitor has had their holiday spirits dampened by sunburn.

What's On in December: Festivals and Events

Christmas: Christmas is completely different to the northern hemisphere as it occurs in the opposite season (summer rather than winter). Nevertheless, it is still an important holiday in New Zealand.

Other Festivals and Events:

North Island

South Island