March is the beginning of autumn (fall) in New Zealand and it is a lovely month to be in the country. The weather is slightly cooler than the summer months, making it very pleasant for enjoying New Zealand's natural scenery.
March in New Zealand usually has some of the most settled weather of any time of the year. In both the North and South Islands, the days can be warm and dry with daily high temperatures of around 25C. The nights and early mornings can be pleasantly cool. March is also a less humid month, especially in the North Island.
The other noticeable thing about March is the appearance of the autumn leaves on the trees. New Zealand native trees are all evergreen, but there are many deciduous trees that produce a profusion of color. This, combined with the cooler days, gives a softness to the light that makes New Zealand's natural landscapes appear even more spectacular. The best places to see these autumnal colors are in the Hawkes Bay (North Island) and Central Otago (South Island).
Pros of Visiting New Zealand in March
- Weather temperatures: pleasantly warm during the day and pleasantly cool at night
- Uncrowded, especially at the popular tourist spots
- Prices for accommodation and tourist attractions can be lower than in the summer.
- Great weather and temperatures for swimming, hiking, and other outdoor activities.
- Autumn colors, especially in Hawkes Bay and Central Otago.
Cons of Visiting New Zealand in March
- Rain: it does happen and the weather can bring an unexpected but heavy shower or two, especially in Northland and Central Otago.
What's On in March: Festivals and Events
- St Patrick's Day Festival (March 17), nationwide
- Auckland Arts Festival, Auckland
- Beer Festival, Auckland
- Pasifika Festival, Auckland
- Auckland Racing Cup, Auckland
- Snapper Summer Festival, Takapuna, Auckland
- Waiheke Island International Jazz Festival, Auckland
- New Zealand International Arts Festival, Wellington (held every second year; next event scheduled for 2014)
- Chinese New Year Lantern Festival, Christchurch
- Ellerslie Flower Show, Christchurch
- Hokitika Wildfoods Festival, Holitika, West Coast 404
- Waipara Valley Wine and Food Festival, Waipara, North Canterbury
- New Zealand PGA Golf Championship, Queenstown, Otago