The month of April in New Zealand lies smack-dab in the middle of the autumn season across both the North and South Islands. Gone are the sultry summer breezes that defined the New Year and the following couple of months, the country becomes enveloped in a crisp biting air.
So if the summer heat isn’t for you, then April will be the perfect month to enjoy the beauty of the country without ever having to break out into a sweat.
The beautiful colours of fall light up the country and become especially evident in the South Island. Additionally, April marks the beginning of the shoulder tourist period in New Zealand, meaning that the crowds of summer have also evaporated.
Weather in New Zealand in April
- The weather during April is typical of autumn weather with daytime temperatures being slightly warm and the nighttime temperatures being pleasantly cool.
- Rainfall measurements are higher during the autumn therefore it is highly recommended that you pack a layer of waterproof clothing or a raincoat at the least.
- Warm boots would definitely be appreciated during this time as well. While the month of April is technically in the middle of autumn in New Zealand, the northern regions of the country’s North Island (regions like Auckland, Northland, and the Coromandel Peninsula) may feature temperatures exceeding 20 °C.
- Interestingly, the water in these parts of the country, particularly around the Bay of Islands area, will be especially warm as the water would have been slowly heating up over the past few months. This makes it an ideal time for having a quick dip in the water.
- The increased humidity of the North Island will also make for more regular rainfall in the region as well.
- This is contrasted to the comparatively cooler weather that is experienced in New Zealand’s South Island. Regions like Queenstown, Christchurch, and Wanaka are known for having daily high temperature recordings of 16 °C.
- While not cold enough for the ski slopes to open, the nights especially on the South Island can feel particularly chilly. Generally it is understood that there are higher chances of rain the further north you head in New Zealand.
Where to Go in New Zealand in April
- The Northern regions of the North Island still tend to experience relatively warmer days and nights, and this lends itself to amazing opportunities to go tramping or trekking.
- Tramping around the Te Urewera National Park makes for wonderful getaways and provide the ideal conditions for comfortable trekking. However it is important to check daily weather forecasts to avoid getting caught out in unpleasant weather.
- The cooler weather also makes it more enjoyable to go sightseeing in the North Island cities of Auckland, Wellington, and Dunedin. The plethora of art galleries, museums, and restaurants will make strolling through the city a pleasurable experience for the whole family.
- For a little more high-octane type of break, dolphin and whale-watching cruises are popular during this time of year and are sure to be a source of excitement for everyone!
- The northern tip of the South Island also receives fairly large amounts of sunshine during the year and coastal areas like Nelson, Golden Bay, Marlborough Sounds, and the Abel Tasman National Park are all fantastic tourist destinations to visit made all the more beautiful by being swathed in sunlight.
- One of the often overlooked aspects of visiting New Zealand in April is the sheer beauty of the fall colours that take over the landscape. The Kiwis have even coined a term for the act of looking at the changing colours of tree leaves; leaf-peeping.
- One of the best places to go leaf-peeping is in the historic South Island town of Arrowtown. The Arrowtown Autumn festival celebrates all things autumn and the region is considered to be a thriving hub of activity during this time.
What to Pack for New Zealand in April
Considering that April is one of the most unpredictable months, meteorologically speaking, it is important to ensure that you pack items for all eventualities. The phrase ‘Four Seasons in a Day’ becomes especially true to New Zealand during the autumn months and you have to take special account of things that you pack.
- T-shirts, shorts, and other ubiquitous summer wear will be ideal for experiencing the warmer parts of the day, but be sure to pack along some heftier items of clothing that will keep your warm during the unpredictably chilly Kiwi nights.
- Rain-protective clothing like ponchos or a raincoat will be especially helpful in the more humid parts of the North Island, where fall showers are a regular feature.
- Bug spray and insect repellent would also be a wise thing to pack. While New Zealand may be famous for its lack of predators or most types of creepy-crawlies that can be found, sandflies and bothersome variants are common inhabitants of lakes, rivers, and other water bodies. The repellants will be a very handy addition and will go far in keeping your skin insect-bite free.
- Hiking shoes will be an important addition to your luggage if at all you plan on taking advantage of the beautiful scenery and want to step out for a hike or a multi-day tramp. Ensure that they are waterproof and well-cleaned of all debris underneath as they will be thoroughly checked at customs to make sure you are not bringing foreign contaminants through the border.
- For those that plan on doing a bit of hiking or tramping, woollen wear will be particularly appreciated during the colder nights. Beanies or skullcaps, raincoats with hoods, thick woolen socks and warm gloves will all go a long way in making the difference between a miserable cold night in the bush and a truly terrific one!
- Thermal wear can be bought at most adventure stores and they work terrifically at keeping body heat insulated.
What to Do in New Zealand in April
Easter is easily the biggest event to take place across New Zealand in April. While not religiously observed everywhere in the country, the Auckland Royal Easter Show showcases the best of the region with splendid art exhibitions amongst so much more. The show takes on an almost carnival type atmosphere with sideshows, circuses, and all manner of fairground activities that are sure to please the whole family!
Leaf-peeping, as mentioned above is another favourite of Kiwis and Arrowtown in the Central Otago region is hailed as a Mecca for leaf-peeping and the annual Arrowtown Autumn Festival draws people from across the country to it! If you want to experience the magic of autumn without any of the crowds, surrounding towns like Wanaka and Queenstown, usually packed with people during the tourist peak season, offer a quieter alternative.
Christchurch Food Festival
The foodies are in luck when travelling to New Zealand during April because this is when the Christchurch Food Festival takes place! The Horncastle Arena plays host to the festival which showcases so much great fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, indulgent street food and so much more! Masterclasses and workshops also give you a unique insight into how you can recreate these fabulous gourmet dishes within the comforts of your kitchen.