While New Zealand during February is not technically still the summer, most regions around the country still experience summer-like weather to some degree. This means that for beach lovers, this is still the ideal time to hit the pristine beaches of the North Island and do all the water sports like kayaking around the tip of the Whanganui Cape or indulge in water sports around the Bay of Islands region.
New Zealand is famous for its backcountry, or bush, as it is locally known. February is an ideal time to take advantage of the still-great weather, while escaping the most harsh elements of the sun.
What to Do in New Zealand in February
- As mentioned above, February is one of the perfect times to go hit the warm sandy beaches of the North Island, and you will find most popular beaches populated with people catching the waves, swimming, or other water sports.
- The Bay of Islands is famous for its water sport scene, and visitors can go snorkelling, diving, sailing, or simply just get on a boat and enjoy the waters.
- The Bay of Islands is one of the best regions to experience the truest form of a Kiwi summer.
- The regions are Whangarei are also popular destinations for stand up paddleboarding and scuba diving, while also being home to Mt Manaia, a popular day trek to its summit being a favourite activity amongst locals.
- The Coromandel Peninsula is among the favourite holiday destinations in New Zealand and the diverse landscape around the areas of Nelson particularly has some ideal swimming-friendly beaches.
- The effects of the summer are slightly less prominent in the South Island, where the alpine conditions also have a little bit of an effect. The regions are Aoraki National Park are some of the few places in New Zealand that can have snow found there year-round. But the warm tail of the summer also means that the days in the region are the perfect temperatures to go on hikes, glacier heli-hikes, and more.
- The region of Hawke’s Bay comes alive during the month of February and the city of Napier becomes host of the Art Deco Festival, which is a celebration of the city’s unique and striking architectural heritage. The great weather also makes it a hub for wine cultivation and mountain biking too, ensuring that there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
- Stewart Island, located further south off the South Island mainly comprises the Rakiura National Park and the ideal time to be exploring the national park which covers over 80% of the island would be during February.
Events in New Zealand in February
- Waitangi Day - New Zealand’s National Day, Waitangi Day is celebrated each year on the 6th of February. This marks the day that New Zealand as a nation came into being with foundational signing of the Waitangi Treaty between the European settlers and the Maori tribespeople. The day is celebrated around the country by displays of the famous tribal war-cry, the Haka. This would be an amazing opportunity for travellers to learn about the deep and rich traditions that bind New Zealand together.
- Chinese New Year - Chinese New Year decorations and celebration and displays of the Lion Dance, iconic scenes of the Chinese New Year reflect their importance and significance to Kiwi culture. These elaborate decorations and firework displays can be most evidently seen around the regions of Auckland and Wellington during the second week of February.
- Napier Art Deco Festival - The Napier Art Deco Festival occurs in the third week of February. This festival serves to showcase the beautifully elegant and symmetrical geometry of the style of architecture that has come to define Napier, and tells of the tragic earthquake that caused it so much ruin. The food, the wine, the vintage cars rolling up and down the streets, set amidst a backdrop that is so evocative of the 1930s will truly leave you spellbound and transport you back to another eon altogether, and is an experience not to be missed!
What to Pack for New Zealand in February
As a result of the thin layer of ozone that is above New Zealand, a relatively high percentage of UV rays seep through the atmosphere. Therefore it is important to constantly be applying and reapplying sun-screen to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays so be sure to pack along plenty of sunscreen.
- 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.
- A warm pullover, a waterproof rain jacket or poncho, will serve you especially well in the more humid parts of the North Island, where summer 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.