New Zealand in November: A Complete Guide

November lies in the middle of the spring season in New Zealand and is typified by warm and pleasant weather throughout the country. With November approaching, spring enters into its final month and the warm summer months beckon.

November also signals the final month of the shoulder tourist season, and international tourism begins to pick up as tourists from around the world seek to escape the winter cold and migrate to New Zealand’s summer Christmas. 

Auckland
Auckland

While rainfall is never out of the question on either of New Zealand’s islands, November is particularly drier than most other months and this would be amongst the best times to go leisurely sightseeing at locations before the summer crowds set in. By the time November rolls around, all the ski slopes on both islands would have been closed for the season so summer is well and truly on its way. 

Weather in New Zealand in November 

The winter’s chill has come to a close, the water from glaciers has begun to melt into the rivers, the average temperatures begin to soar from the high teens to the early twenties. Summer is on its way and the excitement is almost palpable.

  • New Zealand’s North Island starts to experience warm weather and day time temperatures show highs of 22°C and lows of 8°C. 

  • While rainfall may be less frequent during November than during other months on the North Island, the high humidity in areas around Northland and Auckland ensure that a chance rainy day is never out of the question. 

  • The South Island experiences slightly cooler weather and temperatures tend to swing between highs of close to 20°C and dip to 5°C. The relative lack of humidity also means that the South Island sees far less rainfall than its more northern sibling. 

    White Water Rafting in the Kaituna River
    White Water Rafting at the Kaituna River

  • The weather also makes it great to indulge in more summer-centric adventure sports like white water rafting and bungee jumping. White water rafting becomes particularly enjoyable as the rivers become filled with water that was melted from the glaciers over the last two months, creating frothy and exciting water to raft through!

  • The springtime weather is also the ideal time to see the famous lavender lupins come into bloom. 

Where to Go New Zealand in November

The great weather and the increasing temperatures across the country makes it ideal to indulge in summer activities even though it is still technically springtime. The lack of the dreaded summer crowds and the almost-perfect weather makes November a wonderful time to travel to any part of New Zealand. 

Waipo Beach
Waipo Beach
  • For those travellers that are seeking warmer and subtropical climates, the regions around Northland and Auckland in the North Island make for ideal spring vacation destinations. The waters around the North Island may still be cooler than the land temperatures after the long winter months but on especially warm days, the water should be perfect for taking a dip in!

  • The beaches on the east coast of the country are generally better suited for swimming because the west coast beaches tend to have strong currents that make for difficult and dangerous swimming.

  • The Bay of Islands is also a huge favourite amongst locals travelling and for good reason. The stunning golden beaches of the Bay of Islands, coupled with their great restaurants and cafe culture are the place to go when the weather is great!

  • New Zealand’s ‘Sunniest City’ Nelson, is also a favourite amongst those that want to take advantage of the great weather. Nelson, along with the rest of the ‘Top of the South’ regions, make for a great springtime destination.

Hole in the Rock, Bay of Islands
Hole in Rock, Bay of Islands
  • The diverse landscape comprising fantastic beaches, majestic mountains, the stunning Marlborough Sounds, and the Nelson Lakes and Abel Tasman National Park are all within an hour’s drive from Nelson. Lower altitude treks and tramps including New Zealand’s Great Walks are perfect activities to do while the sun is out and the weather is great. 

  • Road conditions will be almost ideal for driving, notwithstanding the occasional rain showers. Mountain passes around the South Island will yield great views of the Southern Alps and November is as good a time as any to go on such trips. 
Lewis Pass
Lewis Pass
  • Lake Tekapo also becomes a favourite weekend destination for domestic travellers over the months of November. The famous purple lupins of the region come into full bloom during this time around Lake Tekapo and the Canterbury region and they only bloom for a short period so be sure to check it out to get that perfect Instagrammable moment! 

Events in New Zealand in November 

With the warmer weather comes more festivals around the country and regional festivals that showcase their unique and locally sourced and grown products become a feature.

  • The Toast Martinborough Festival becomes the perfect platform to display the beautiful wines and food products of the famous wine-producing town of Martinborough on the North Island. November is also notable for being the beginning of the lambing season in New Zealand, a country where sheep outnumber people in a ratio of 10:1. 
Martinborough Toast Festival
Toast Martinborough Festival

  • Agricultural fairs, similar to state fairs in the United States, are regular occurrences across the country and the Canterbury Agricultural Show in Christchurch is the biggest of its kind. Complete with carnival rides, live music shows, and the New Zealand Cup, the nation’s oldest thoroughbred race, the Canterbury Agricultural Show is one of the region’s most anticipated events. 

  • Hawke’s Bay during this time of year also becomes drenched in sunlight and the region becomes one of the most stunning parts of the country during November. The region also plays host to one of the most important food and wine festivals in the country, the Hawke’s Bay Food and Wine Classic. 

  • One of the most highly anticipated culinary showcases of the year, the Hawke’s Bay Food and Wine Classic is a celebration of all things food and wine around the Hawke’s Bay region. Set across various gorgeous locations around Napier, Hastings, and other Hawke’s Bay towns, this biannual event has become the hallmark for the thriving culinary scene in New Zealand. 

Hawke's Bay Food and Wine Classic
Hawke's Bay Food and Wine Classic

What to Pack for New Zealand in November

November features some of the best weather of the year and travellers can get away with wearing just t-shirts and summer wear for the duration of your stay. However, knowing how fickle Kiwi weather can be, it would be prudent to pack a few waterproof hoodies or raincoats.  

  • The early days of the month still feature plenty of cold weather and cool breezes, so it is essential to pack warm, waterproof, and protective clothing as an important part of your luggage. 

  • Woollen beanies, socks, and sweaters will be especially appreciated during the cold winter nights on the South Island especially.

  • While November sees much lower rainfall totals than during the rest of the year, the unpredictable rainfall patterns around the country ensure that carrying a raincoat will always be recommended, no matter what time of year it is. 

    • The ozone layer above the atmosphere in New Zealand is especially thin and as a result there are high levels of UV radiation exposure from sunlight, therefore it is imperative that people use strong (SPF 30 +) sunscreen, even during cloudy days. Skin will burn quicker here than in other parts of the world and New Zealand also has the highest rates of skin cancer from sunlight radiation in the world, so applying sunscreen liberally is vital! 

This post was published by Ken Chiramel

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