New Zealand in October: A Complete Guide

Springtime has well and truly arrived and travellers only have to take a look at the full bloom of flowers at any of the botanic gardens across New Zealand if they aren’t sure! Bright and sunny days have replaced the grey and gloomy ones of the winter days gone by.

October marks the beginning of a period of warmer weather and Kiwis love taking advantage of warm weather conditions by going tramping or trekking through the country’s stunning national parks during this time. October is also when holidays for schools in New Zealand so domestic tourism around New Zealand is considerably more prevalent during October. 


Weather in New Zealand in October 

The weather in New Zealand during the month of October is characterized largely by springtime weather. However, it is not at all uncommon for polar blasts from the South Pole to bring in frigid winds from Antarctica that are sure to make a chill run down your spine. Most of the ski slopes around the country would have closed by now, but as a result of the snowfall that still happens on some mountains, the ski season has not completely come to a close. 

  • Temperatures across the country continue to rise from September and the days get longer and warmer still. The temperatures across the North Island vacillate between 5°C and 25°C and the warmest temperatures being recorded on the island’s East Coast.

  • The South Island is considerably cooler and some regions of the island record temperatures that go as low as -2°C with daytime highs reaching 25°C. 

  • October sees smaller amounts of rainfall across the country as compared to September, with Queenstown being a notable exception as it sees increased rainfall during the springtime months.

  • As the weather continues to get better as the month draws on, festivals and pop-up events around the country become more commonplace, regardless of where in New Zealand you find yourself in. 
    Hookey Valley Track
    Hooker Valley Track

  • The weather lends itself fantastically for the more adventurous travellers that want to go on long tramps and treks. Expect a sizable domestic crowd at the more popular and well-known walking tracks like the Tongariro Crossing or the Hooker Valley Track or Abel Tasman Coast Track.

  • While October is firmly in the middle of the spring season in New Zealand, it is still a considerably rainy month, so be prepared for some surprise showers well into the season of spring. 

Where to Go in New Zealand in October

While most of the snow would have cleared from the mountains by the beginning of October, a handful of ski fields may remain open around the South Island. As a result of school holidays occurring from October onwards, domestic tourism will have picked up in a large way.

Tongariro National Park
Tongariro National Park
  • One of the favourite activities that Kiwis love engaging in is by going on long tramps and walks along the beautiful walking trails of New Zealand’s National Parks. 

  • As the weather continues to get better throughout the country, traditional hiking destinations like the Tongariro National Park become ideal places to go tramping. In fact, it might be a good idea to head to the national parks during the first half of the month to take advantage of the great weather and the lack of crowds as New Zealand schools break for holidays during the second half of October.
  • Heading to the Abel Tasman National Park to do the Abel Tasman Coast Track or the Mount Cook National Park to complete the Hooker Valley or Sealy Tarns Track before the crowds come in is sure to be a treat for everyone! 

Mount Cook National Park
Mount Cook National Park
  • October’s great weather also makes it a treat to visit the country’s beautiful botanic gardens to see all their flowers and blossoms in full bloom! The gardens of Christchurch Botanic Gardens and Hagley Park, and the ones of Hamilton are well known for their colorful displays of cherry blossom blooms during October. 

  • The regions around Northland and Auckland, home to plenty of New Zealand’s best beaches, are also ideal destinations to head to if you’re looking to catch some sun and take a dip in the warm waters surrounding the North Island. The lack of rain over here makes it ever more conducive to explore the majestic and ancient kauri forests that the region has also become famous for.

  • Other activities that are best done under the cover of a sunny sky are ones like jet boating, white water rafting, bungy jumping, whale watching and dolphin cruises are all sure to be best experienced during October’s springtime weather. 

Whale Watching
Whale Watching
  • Birds are also famously most active during the springtime so a visit to a native bird sanctuary or simply a quick trek into the woods to listen to the diverse array of bird calls that permeate the forests should delight any avid bird watcher. 
  • Going sightseeing along the ‘Top of the South’ during October is sure to be an incredible experience and going on a boat cruise around the Marlborough Sounds in the sun is one of New zealand’s most famous attractions.

  • Towns such as Napier and Hastings, along Hawke’s Bay, are also beautiful under October’s sunny skies. Be sure to revel in the great food and drink options that New Zealand’s Art Deco capital has to offer! 

Marlborough Sounds Boat Cruise
Marlborough Sounds Boat Cruise

Events in New Zealand in October 

As temperatures continue to soar into their high teens and early twenties, pop-up events become more common across the country.

  • The Kaikoura SeaFest happens every year from the 30th of September to the 1st of October and showcases the very best of the wine and seafood that Kaikoura has to offer! A dream for foodies and wine lovers everywhere, the Kaikoura SeaFest features the best wines and seafood from around Kaikoura and the Canterbury regions. 

  • As the skiing season draws to a close, some ski fields may offer reduced or discounted lift passes, so be on the lookout for some super deals. Nelson is regularly touted as being New Zealand’s sunniest city and the Nelson Arts Festival turns this sun-drenched coastal city into a thriving hub of art, music, culture, and comedy and is the perfect excuse to drive yourself down! 

Nelson Lakes National Park
Nelson Lakes National Park
  • The Akaroa FrenchFest which celebrates all aspects of the distinct amalgam of French, German and Maori influences that together make up the unique culture of Akaroa. The festival kicks off with a street party on Friday night and the merriment continues through the weekend, with workshops, food stalls, pop-up art galleries and kiosks all lining the streets of Akaroa for the weekend!

  • October is also known for the variety of festivals that take place across the country and this includes ones like the Auckland Heritage Festival douse the streets of Auckland with splashes of colour and life as the city showcases its own unique character and culture. 

What to Pack for New Zealand in October

While spring may have well and truly arrived by October, 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. Your suitcases will naturally contain more summer-y tees or shirts, alongside loungewear as the temperatures continue to warm up across the country. 

  • Woollen beanies, socks, and sweaters will be especially appreciated during the cold winter nights on the South Island especially. Waterproof clothing can be especially important in Auckland in particular as the city experiences most of the year’s rainfall during this time.

  • While rainfall is less in October, Auckland still faces considerable rainfall, so be sure to pack accordingly. 

  • Occasional polar blasts from the South Pole will make their way up to New Zealand and this will result in some days recording temperatures that resemble winter time readings, so be sure to pack warmly and for all eventualities. In a country that is populated by high mountains such as New Zealand, weather is hardly ever predictable and even during predictably warm months, one should expect rains and chilly winds too! 

This post was published by Ken Chiramel

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