What is it Like to Travel New Zealand in March?
With the summer crowds beginning to die down mid-March and the days are still long and warm, March is a great time to travel New Zealand. For these reasons, New Zealand in March is a pretty popular season still so we recommend making a few advance bookings for the tourist hot spots. March is also a very happening time for cultural events and festivals in New Zealand.
In this quick guide to travelling New Zealand in March, we will go over the typical weather in March, events in March, what activities are particularly awesome to do in March, as well as some March travel tips.
For more advice on when to travel in New Zealand, take a look at The Best Time to Visit New Zealand.
Travel Tips for New Zealand in March
When travelling New Zealand in March, here are some things you need to know.
- March is a fairly popular time to travel in New Zealand so if you are hitting some of the tourist hotspots, such as Milford Sound or Lake Tekapo, we recommend booking activities and accommodation in these areas well in advance.
- Slap on the sunscreen! Sun exposure in New Zealand can burn in less than seven minutes thanks to the hole in the O-zone layer between Australia and New Zealand. Make sure you always wear a high factor of sunscreen even on a cloudy day.
- Carry some extra layers of clothing with you. March is when the weather starts to get unpredictable so it’s a good idea to have a spare layer or jacket in your day pack.
- If you are on a working holiday visa and are looking for easy seasonal work, March is a great time to find fruit picking jobs.
New Zealand Weather in March
March is the first month of autumn in New Zealand. Temperatures are usually mild from the heat of summer going into autumn. Nevertheless, some areas of New Zealand will still feel like the middle of summer, such as Northland and the Bay of Islands. There may be a few showery days, as the weather is often changing in New Zealand, so be prepared.
North Island Temperatures: Highs of around 23ºC (73ºF) or more, and lows of 10ºC (50ºF).
South Island Temperatures: Highs of around 22ºC (72ºF) and lows of 8ºC (76ºF).
For a packing list to match the weather in March, see Packing List for Autumn or Spring in New Zealand.
March Events in New Zealand
With the weather still good, March is an extremely popular time for events in New Zealand. Some festivals you may even be able to take part in if you are on a working holiday visa, which you can find more about in How to Volunteer at a Festival in New Zealand. Festivals in March in New Zealand tend to be cultural and a great way to immerse yourself in the Maori and Kiwi culture.
Festivals in March
- WOMAD, New Plymouth
- Wildfoods Festival, Hokitika
- Warbirds Over Wanaka
- Balloons Over Waikato, Hamilton
- CubaDupa, Wellington
- Pasifika Festival, Auckland
- Gumboot Day, Taihape
The Activities that are Best Done in March
March is a great time to hit the hiking trails in New Zealand. The weather is usually fine enough to enjoy any of the hikes New Zealand has to offer. Try even a multi-day hike where the nights are still at a comfortable temperature for camping or staying in a backcountry hut.
To get some hiking inspiration, start with these articles:
- 5 Incredible Multi-day Hikes in the Fiordland National Park
- 10 Must-Do Hikes Around Mt Cook
- 6 Hikes You Have to do in Egmont National Park!
If you plan on taking on one of New Zealand’s multi-day hikes or Great Walks, then here are your survival kits:
Typical March Prices
The beginning of March tends to see tourism prices in New Zealand similar to the popular summer season. However, these prices usually lower as it gets toward the end of March. For typical prices, take a look at How Much Does it Cost to Travel New Zealand?
Flights in March
Thankfully, the season does not really influence the price of flights to New Zealand in March. However, getting a cheap flight does rely on a few other factors which you can learn more about in our guide to getting a cheap flight in New Zealand. Plus, wise up on the arrival process in our Airport Arrival Guide.
Vehicle Rental in March
Vehicle rental prices start to lower in March after the busy summer season. However, as this season is still popular, expect budget rental vehicles to be around NZ$50 per day at the cheapest. We have more vehicle rental costs to budget for in this article.
Accommodation in March
While most budget accommodations in New Zealand have the same prices year-round, some hostels and holiday parks will have higher prices during the peak season. In March, you may find that holiday parks are priced anywhere between NZ$20 to NZ$50 per night for a powered site, while hostels tend to stay around the NZ$25-$32 price margin for a bed in a dorm.
Activities in March
On the plus side, most activity operators in New Zealand remain open in March giving you more to choose from. Activity prices often stay the same year-round so this should not affect your budget too much when travelling in March.