New Zealand in September: A Guide to New Zealand during the Spring

September in New Zealand marks the end of the winter and the beginning of the warmer spring time season. New Zealand in September is characterized by seasonally warmer temperatures and yet wintry cool breezes are still a regular feature.

Temperatures can soar to the high teens and early twenties and swing back as equally drastically to below zero within the same day. Since September marks the advent of the spring season, the weather tends to be particularly unpredictable during this time of year. 

Weather in New Zealand in September

  • September marks the dawn of spring in New Zealand and with this comes the much-awaited warmer temperatures! The temperatures around the North Island fluctuate from lows of around 6°C to highs of 17°C while the South Island experiences temperatures ranging from highs of 17°C while lows, during the nights become much colder and can reach 1°C. 

  • While the winter season may have officially drawn to a close in September, and the mountains start shedding itself of skiers and snowboarders, New Zealand turns over a new leaf during this month.

  • Signs of spring make themselves known as flowers begin to bloom and the ice begins to thaw as temperatures around the country inch up the thermometer. 
Hagley Park in Spring
Hagley Park in Spring
  • As is the case throughout the year, the weather tends to be colder and drier the further South you head from the North Island. While Rotorua and Wellington experience relatively warmer highs temperatures of 20 and 15°C respectively, Queenstown’s September temperatures rarely ever exceed 13°C. 

  • Regions around Lake Tekapo and Nelson will bloom with life and the bright lilacs and purples of wildflowers around the region will surely make for incredible sights and even more captivating Instagram pictures.

  • With the warming temperatures, most of the activities that would have been closed during the winter months will have opened up over the month of September. This is the perfect month for wildlife enthusiasts, as parks and sanctuaries begin to open up.  
Lupins in bloom
Lupins in bloom during springtime
  • The rainfall during September also tends to be considerably less heavier than it was in July and August as well. The days also grow longer as winter draws to a close, making it more convenient for tourism and is more conducive to sightseeing activities. 

Where to Go in New Zealand in September

Skiing

  • While the winter season may have ended, the ski fields around Tongariro National Park around the North Island still remain open through the month and offer great skiing. The ski slopes in the South Island, around Queenstown and Wanaka also remain open, offering the perfect chance for snowboarders and skiers to get in some late-season, spring skiing done! Ensure that you head to the mountains of the South Island early on in September because the ski resorts tend to shut by the end of the month.

Christchurch

Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
  • Christchurch in particular comes alive with the bright and vibrant colours of spring. Hagley Park, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, or the Wellington Botanic Garden all would become ideal hotspots for getting the perfect floral Instagram picture! The Garden City truly lives up to its name and bursts into life during September. 

Queenstown 

  • Queenstown and Wanaka also begin to earn their reputation for being the Mecca for adventure sports as temperatures warm up. More activities like jet boating and bungy jumping becomes more commonplace as the weather becomes more accommodating. White water rafting becomes a particularly enjoyable activity to do as the melted water from the glaciers begin to fill up the rivers with frothy water that is perfect for rafting.

Wildlife Sanctuaries

  • New Zealand’s unique and endemic wildlife, marine mammals, and bird species become most active during springtime, so a visit to any of New Zealand’s wildlife sanctuaries is sure to be a hugely rewarding experience! 

Hamilton

Hamilton Gardens
Hamilton Gardens in Spring
  • Hamilton is another New Zealand town that is famous for its gardens and September is the ideal time to watch the flowers come into their own! Botanic gardens around the country become magnets for spectacular floral arrangements and the most famous ones can be found at Christchurch, Hamilton, Auckland, and Wellington. 

Events in New Zealand in September 

September heralds the beginning of the spring season in New Zealand and nothing gets the Kiwis more excited than springtime. The number of festivals across the country that celebrate the dawning of spring does not go unnoticed and offers travellers that have grown weary of the cold a much-needed respite with splashes of floral colour and springtime mirth.

Spring Festivals

  • Festivals that celebrate the coming of spring like the Alexandra Blossom Festival and Nelson’s Cherry Blossom Festival are proof of this! September is also popular for the array of comedy festivals and pop-ups that occur at bars and comedy clubs in Auckland and Wellington especially, known for the distinctive brand of Kiwi comedy on show for those looking for a few laughs.

Auckland on Water Boat Show

Auckland on Water Boat Show
Auckland on Water Boat Show
  • Auckland Harbour also plays host to one of the country’s best boat shows, the Auckland on Water Boat Show. The Auckland Harbor comes alive with boats of all kinds ranging from simple dinghies to lavish, multi-million dollar yachts and everything in between. 

What to Pack for New Zealand in September

While spring may have well and truly arrived by September, 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 can contain summer-y tees or shirts, alongside loungewear as the temperatures continue to warm up. 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, and while rainfall is less in September, Auckland still faces considerable rainfall, so be sure to pack accordingly.

  • September is particularly known for how unpredictable the weather is, so be sure to prepare for all eventualities!

This post was published by Ken Chiramel

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