What is the Weather Like in New Zealand in March?
Considering travelling New Zealand in March? It’s an excellent time to travel the country while the weather still has the warm temperatures of summer yet fewer tourists. However, to be fully prepared for your trip you’re going to want to know about the New Zealand weather in March. You’ll find out all about that and more in this guide to New Zealand in March!
March is the first season of autumn in New Zealand. After April and May comes the winter season in June, July and August. Spring is during September, October and November. Summer is in December, January and February. For more information, check out our guide to The New Zealand Seasons and Climate, as well as What is the Weather Like in New Zealand?
Travel Tips for Visiting New Zealand in March
Here are some handy tips to make travelling in March in New Zealand a breeze.
- March is the month straight after the busy summer season, so we recommend making bookings on accommodation, transport and activities a little bit in advance. For busy tourist areas like Lake Tekapo and Milford Sound with limited accommodation, make sure you book as far in advance as possible
- Speaking of the end of summer, the sun is still intense at this time of year. Make sure to slap on some high-factor sunscreen regularly
- Take a day pack with you when you’re out and about. As the weather starts to get more unpredictable throughout the month, you’ll be happy to have a rain jacket or extra-warm layer with you
- On a working holiday visa? March is a good time to start finding fruit picking jobs for the harvest season
- Considering doing a multi-day hiking trail or a Great Walk? March is a great time to do it outside of the busy hiking season but at a comfortable temperature.
For more tips, check out the 10 Essential New Zealand Travel Tips.
Typical Temperatures in March
With summer only just over, the autumn month of March experiences mild temperatures. Nevertheless, you’re still likely to get a few days of cold blasts from the South Pole letting you know that winter is on its way.
Because New Zealand has slightly different climates across the country, here’s a list of average temperatures in March in each area of New Zealand.
Northern New Zealand (Northland, Auckland and Tauranga) – 18ºC (64ºF)
Central North Island (Hamilton, Taupo and Rotorua) – 16ºC (61ºF)
South-West North Island (New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Wellington) – 15ºC (59ºF)
Eastern North Island (Gisborne, Napier and Wairarapa) – 18ºC (64ºF)
Northern South Island (Blenheim and Nelson) – 16ºC (61ºF)
Western South Island (Westport, Hokitika and Milford Sound) – 14ºC (57ºF)
Eastern South Island (Kaikoura, Christchurch and Timaru) – 15ºC (59ºF)
Inland South Island (Lake Tekapo, Queenstown and Alexandra) – 13-16ºC (55-61ºF)
Southern New Zealand (Dunedin and Invercargill) – 14ºC (57ºF)
Other Weather Patterns in March
While mild and sunny weather usually prevails in March, you’re still likely to experience the odd rainy or colder day as the country gets into the autumn season.
Rainfall in March
March is not considered a particularly “wet” month in comparison to other months of the year with the exception of the West Coast of the South Island that experiences more rain than usual. To cover all the different areas of New Zealand, here’s a list of the average rainfall in March across New Zealand.
Northern New Zealand (Northland, Auckland and Tauranga) – 140mm (5.5″)
Central North Island (Hamilton, Taupo and Rotorua) – 80mm (3″)
South-West North Island (New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Wellington) – 90mm (3.5″)
Eastern North Island (Gisborne, Napier and Wairarapa) – 90mm (3.5″)
Northern South Island (Blenheim and Nelson) – 80mm (3″)
Western South Island (Westport, Hokitika and Milford Sound) – 250-650mm (10-25.5″)
Eastern South Island (Kaikoura, Christchurch and Timaru) – 60mm (2.4″)
Inland South Island (Lake Tekapo, Queenstown and Alexandra) – 50mm (2″)
Southern New Zealand (Dunedin and Invercargill) – 80mm (3″)
The Best Places to Visit in March
Add these New Zealand destinations to your itinerary for March!
Marlborough – with usually good weather in March, Marlborough is a great place to experience hiking in New Zealand on the Queen Charlotte Track.
Central Otago – Queenstown, Cromwell, Alexandra… the Central Otago towns are fantastic to visit this time of year with the autumn colours starting to appear, plus, generally good weather for hiking and mountain biking.
Hawke’s Bay – the east coast region on the North Island is blessed with a warm climate year-round so even in March it’s a great time to hit the bike trails, check out the art deco architecture of Napier city, and hit the beach trail all the way to the stunning Cape Kidnappers.
Abel Tasman National Park – Hit one of the most popular Great Walks in one of the warmest regions on the Abel Tasman Coast Track. The track is uncrowded this time of year.
Auckland – Hike on volcanic islands, wildlife sanctuary islands and vineyard islands in the Hauraki Gulf, all accessible from the city centre ferry terminal. Not only that but can enjoy all the city sights and museums on those bad weather days.
For events to check out in March, head on over to our New Zealand in March.
March Packing List
Get yourself prepared for March in New Zealand with these items to add to your packing list!
- Warm mid-layers
- Waterproof hiking shoes
- High factor sunscreen (even in March you can still get sunburn)
- Fast-dry hiking pants
- Wool socks
- Casual wear for exploring cities and doing indoor activities
For more things to consider packing, check out the Packing List for Autumn or Spring in New Zealand and 15 Essentials to Pack for New Zealand. Most important of all, check out our complete New Zealand Packing List.