New Zealand in March! Autumn in New Zealand

By March in New Zealand, the summer is well and truly over and the nation begins gradually moving from the warm summer breezes towards a more chilly autumn brisk. March in New Zealandalso witnesses the dwindling of crowds as the peak tourist season draws to a close. 

March is also a fantastic month to visit New Zealand for those travellers that have an especially keen interest in cultural experiences, as a number of important festivals take place during this time of the month.

March begins to experience more chilly breezes than December, January, or February so most destinations in New Zealand start getting a little chilly around this time of year. 

Weather in New Zealand in March

  • While the weather is still undeniably pleasant during March in New Zealand, it becomes noticeably colder around the country. This chill becomes even more pronounced the further South people travel to in New Zealand.

  • Generally considered to be the first month of autumn, with temperatures around most of the country averaging highs of around 22 °C and lows falling to 8 °C, so be sure to pack a few articles of warm clothing.

  • Nights also tend to be far more chilly on the South Island, while days tend to be warmer so keep that in mind while packing for your trip.

Where to Go in New Zealand in March

Since the temperatures haven’t changed vastly from those of the summer season, many of the places that prove to be ideal destinations during the summer still pose plenty of opportunity for tourism during March too! 

South Island

Hagley Park in Autumn
Hagley Park during Fall
  • The beautiful autumnal colours come alive in the South Island and the crisp air make this month a favourite amongst those that enjoy tramping. Aoraki National Park sees an uptick in trampers during this month so be sure to phone the Department of Conservation in advance if you want to avail bookings of the lodges along the trails. 

North Island

Te Urewara National Park
Te Urewara National Park
  • The fact that there are still sunny days mean that coastal regions like Gisborne and Napier are also thriving and would make for great destinations too. Day treks through the Te Urewera National Park, on New Zealand’s North Island is a perfect activity as during the sunnier days, visitors can choose to head for the beaches! 

What to Pack for New Zealand in March

The transition period going from the summer season in New Zealand to its autumn makes the fickle nature of Kiwi weather even more unpredictable. Polar blasts or flares, exceptionally strong gusts of wind from the South Pole lead to unexpected shifts in daily weather patterns during this month. So read on to know what essentials to pack for a trip to New Zealand in March: 

  • 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. 

What to Do in New Zealand in March

North Island

Gisborne
Gisborne
  • While the weather patterns are generally similar on both the North Island and the South Island, there are noticeable differences that might mean some activities might be better suited than others.

  • The temperatures in the North Island will be a little bit warmer than in the South and makes it perfect for visiting the coastal areas of Gisborne and Napier, particularly. 

  • The warm waters surrounding the Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula area make for perfect swimming waters, and offer visitors the opportunity to indulge in some late-season water sport.

  • The regions around the Marlborough Sounds and Golden Bay will also be perfect for some leisurely sightseeing as you take in the scenic natural beauty.

South Island

  • However, if you are in search of brisk winter mornings and a crisp bite to the air in March, New Zealand’s South Island will serve you well.

  • While the snow-capped peaks around the Southern Alps won’t have enough snow on them to facilitate ski and snow sports, the scene is ripe for outdoor mountain activities like trekking and mountain biking. 

Events in New Zealand in March

  • As a result of the great weather opportunities, there are plenty of events that take place across New Zealand during the month of March. March is still within the prime festival season for New Zealand and this is evidenced by the WOMAD Festival taking place in New Plymouth that features local and international music, arts, and dance forms. 

    Ellerslie Floral Exhibit
    Ellerslie Flower Festival


  • The Wildfoods Festival that takes place in Hokitika is another crowd-puller that people from across New Zealand and the world come to indulge in. Featuring spine-tingling foods such as deep-fried bull testicles and insects on a stick is definitely one of the attractions of the Wildfoods Festival. However, if these exotic snacks don’t whet your appetite, worry not! There’s plenty of scrumptious ‘normal’ food served along with delectable wine pairings that are sure to please even the most ardent of picky eaters. 

This post was published by Ken Chiramel

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