We are a small but popular country... 

Tourism to New Zealand has boomed in recent years, mainly due to the popularity of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogies showcasing the country’s natural beauty to the world, but also folks have realised New Zealand offers a safe, friendly holiday destination with tons of fun things to see and do.

With visitor numbers increasing we experience certain seasonal bottlenecks, so to avoid disappointment, reserving parts of your holiday well in advance is strongly recommended.

New Zealand Peak Visitor Times

Our holiday season peak season runs from November through to March, coinciding with summer, with absolute peak being in January and February.

There is a phenomena that occurs ever year in NZ called "silly season" From the day after Christmas (Boxing Day) until four weeks later, most Government workers, doctors, lawyers, bank executives, CEOs, factory workers and production lines stop working! Seriously, the whole country goes on a three week summer holiday. Now, add the influx of international travellers to those popular Kiwi holiday spots and you get a major overload. We are not saying "Do not visit in January," just plan ahead of time. You need to have your plans complete by the end of September to get the accommodation, rental car and activities you want. Otherwise you will get caught with inferior or very expensive left overs. Also in recent years we have had an influx of Chinese Nationals coming over to celebrate ‘Chinese New Year’ in New Zealand, again this puts pressure on key accommodation and activities in February.

To be more specific, we find that holiday parks, coastal accommodation and the higher end properties are under strain especially felt in the popular tourism centres in the South Island, such as Franz Josef and Fox Glacier, Mount Cook Village and Queenstown. During these months we recommend booking rental cars and ferry travel as early as possible.

Busy Queenstown Peak Season

Booking the Great Walks

We all know one of the ultimate reasons to visit New Zealand is for the jaw-dropping scenery. Luckily for you, our Department of Conservation has designated nine New Zealand Great Walks spread throughout the country, each showcasing a different set of iconic New Zealand landscapes, flora and fauna.

But be warned some of these hikes are often booked out a year in advance – especially during summer months and especially for the two most popular walks the Milford and Routeburn tracks.

So we recommend you book these hikes as soon as you know what your start day from Te Anau will be. For any of the remaining seven Great Walks, pre-booking is also recommended, especially if you are planning to walk during the summer months of December, January and February.

Take a look at New Zealand's 9 Great Walks

Milford Track

The Ski Season

In June as the ski season draws to a close in North America and Europe, summer in South East Asia starts to heat up, its time to adventure down to New Zealand and enjoy an exhilarating winter experience. Skiing is very popular in New Zealand, and the snow sport season generally runs from late May to mid-October (weather dependent).

As a ski destination New Zealand is very popular with our Australian neighbours, as well as ski teams in training from both Europe and North America.

If you’re heading to the ski towns of Ohakune, Lake Tekapo, Methven, Queenstown or Wanaka during these months, its best to book accommodation as early as possible especially if you are planning to go to the Queenstown’s winter festival which usually runs in the last week in June or the first week of August.

Take a look at First Light Travel's Winter Tours

Since 2001 we’ve been helping visitors plan their dream New Zealand holiday. We aim to make visiting our beautiful land effortless. Let our expert holiday planners put together an itinerary for you, no obligation FREE of charge, or get some friendly advice on what small group tour would suit - Just follow the link and answer a few brief questions. 

Remarkable Ski Field NZ