5 Tips for travelling New Zealand in December
Here are a few handy tips so you’re ready to travel New Zealand in December!
- Apply high factor sunscreen! New Zealand gets a hammering from UV rays due to the hole in the O-zone layer just between Australia and New Zealand so applying plenty of high-factor sunscreen is no joke
- Insect repellent is a must, especially when travelling the South Island in December
- Book your transport, accommodation and activities as soon as possible during this busy tourist season
- Expect many shops and services to be closed on the 24th, 25th and 26th of December due to the Christmas holidays
- It is illegal to drink in public places in urban areas so keep that in mind during the festive period and New Year’s Eve. Keep it in the bar!
For more tips, see 10 Essential New Zealand Travel Tips.
Typical Temperatures in December
New Zealand experiences slightly different climates around the country. Take a look at the typical temperatures across the areas you will be visiting to get a more accurate idea of the typical temperatures in December in New Zealand.Northern New Zealand (Northland, Auckland and Tauranga) – 18C / 64FCentral North Island (Hamilton, Taupo and Rotorua) – 15C / 59FSouth-West North Island (New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Wellington) – 15C / 59FEastern North Island (Gisborne, Napier and Wairarapa) – 18C / 64FNorthern South Island (Blenheim and Nelson) – 17C / 62FWestern South Island (Westport, Hokitika and Milford Sound) – 15C / 59FEastern South Island (Kaikoura, Christchurch and Timaru) – 16C / 60FInland South Island (Lake Tekapo, Queenstown and Alexandra) – 14C / 57FSouthern New Zealand (Dunedin and Invercargill) – 14C / 57F
Other weather patterns in December
While New Zealand experiences more frequent clearer days in December, it also experiences more strong hot northwesterly winds.
Rainfall in December
New Zealand experiences less rain than the rest of the year. However, some areas experience far more rainfall than others. Here are the average rainfall numbers for New Zealand in December.Northern New Zealand (Northland, Auckland and Tauranga) – 90mmCentral North Island (Hamilton, Taupo and Rotorua) – 110mmSouth-West North Island (New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Wellington) – 90mmEastern North Island (Gisborne, Napier and Wairarapa) – 50mmNorthern South Island (Blenheim and Nelson) – 70mmWestern South Island (Westport, Hokitika and Milford Sound) – 200-650mmEastern South Island (Kaikoura, Christchurch and Timaru) – 50mmInland South Island (Lake Tekapo, Queenstown and Alexandra) – 40-80mmSouthern New Zealand (Dunedin and Invercargill) – 100mm
Best Places to visit in December
For all your sun-lovers, these are the best destinations to experience summer activities.Abel Tasman National Park – this national park is famous for its pristine golden sand beaches.Nelson – soak up the sun in the sunniest city in New ZealandBlenheim – go on a wine tour and see why the long sunshine hours makes the wine taste do great hereBay of Islands – hop on one of the many boat tours and explore the bayBay of Plenty – Relax on the beaches lined with colourful pohutukawa trees (New Zealand Christmas trees)For more places to visit and December events, see New Zealand in December.
December Packing list
Add these items to your December packing list for New Zealand!
- Light tops
- Light hiking pants (full length to protect you from sandflies)
- Light long-sleeve tops (again to protect from sandflies)
- Rain jacket
- High factor sunscreen
- Thermals (extra layers for day hikes or if you’re camping)
- Walking shoes
For more ideas on what to pack, see The Ultimate Packing List for an Extended Trip in New Zealand.