What is the Weather Like in New Zealand in September?
September is a fantastic time to travel in New Zealand. As it’s early spring in New Zealand during September, you’ll experience the country at one of it’s quietest tourist seasons (and feel like you have the whole place to yourself). Nevertheless, the weather can be unpredictable but you can prepare for the famous “four seasons in a day” that September is known for easily by packing the right gear. We’ll point you in the right direction with this guide to the New Zealand weather in September.
Unlike the Northern Hemisphere, New Zealand experiences spring in September, October and November. Summer is in December, January and February. Autumn is experienced in March, April and May. Finally, winter is in June, July and August. For more information, see our guide to The New Zealand Seasons and Climate.
5 Tips for Visiting New Zealand in September
Here are a few handy tips to make travelling New Zealand in September a breeze!
- It may only be early spring in September but we fully recommend applying high factor sunscreen even on cloudy days. The UV rays are pretty intense in New Zealand due to a hole in the Ozone layer just above the country
- September is considered a “shoulder” season in New Zealand meaning that prices are a little cheaper than in summer. What’s more, it means you don’t need to worry about booking transport, accommodation and activities way too far in advance. More spontaneous or “last-minute” bookings usually work out well in September
- Be aware that some walks may be closed during September for the lambing season. Take a look at your chosen walk on the Department of Conservation website for updates
- If you’re on a working holiday visa, September is a great time to find WWOOF opportunities to get free accommodation and food
- The birdlife becomes a lot more lively throughout September. Take forest walks slowly and keep looking behind you to increase your chances of seeing New Zealand birdlife.
For more tips, see the 10 Essential New Zealand Travel Tips.
Typical Temperatures in September
Because New Zealand experiences slightly different climates across the country, you’ll really feel the difference between the north of the North Island and the south of the South Island. Here are some average temperatures experience in different areas of New Zealand throughout September so you can prepare for the different locations you are visiting.
Northern New Zealand (Northland, Auckland and Tauranga) – 13ºC (56ºF)
Central North Island (Hamilton, Taupo and Rotorua) – 10ºC (50ºF)
South-West North Island (New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Wellington) – 11ºC (52ºF)
Eastern North Island (Gisborne, Napier and Wairarapa) – 12ºC (54ºF)
Northern South Island (Blenheim and Nelson) – 11ºC (52ºF)
Western South Island (Westport, Hokitika and Milford Sound) – 10ºC (50ºF)
Eastern South Island (Kaikoura, Christchurch and Timaru) – 10ºC (50ºF)
Inland South Island (Lake Tekapo, Queenstown and Alexandra) – 8ºC (46ºF)
Southern New Zealand (Dunedin and Invercargill) – 9ºC (48ºF)
Other Weather Patterns in September
September is the first month of spring in New Zealand so expect the days to get a little longer and the sun a little stronger. You’ll most likely get a mixed bag of weather including mild clear days to rainy days. September is really when famous New Zealand saying “Four Seasons in a Day” comes to life.
Rainfall in September
While September doesn’t experience as much rainfall as other months in New Zealand, there are definitely parts of the country with a more rainy climate. Take a look at the destinations you are visiting in the list below to see their average rainfall in September.
Northern New Zealand (Northland, Auckland and Tauranga) – 130mm (5″)
Central North Island (Hamilton, Taupo and Rotorua) – 90mm (3.5″)
South-West North Island (New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Wellington) – 100mm (4″)
Eastern North Island (Gisborne, Napier and Wairarapa) – 60mm (2″)
Northern South Island (Blenheim and Nelson) – 70mm (3″)
Western South Island (Westport, Hokitika and Milford Sound) – 250mm-530mm (10″-21″)
Eastern South Island (Kaikoura, Christchurch and Timaru) – 50mm (2″)
Inland South Island (Lake Tekapo, Queenstown and Alexandra) – 30mm-50mm (1″-2″)
Southern New Zealand (Dunedin and Invercargill) – 50mm (2″)
The Best Places to Visit in September
Springtime in New Zealand means more events, the snow on the mountains starts to melt creating awesome white water rafting rivers, yet there’s still snow on the North Island volcanoes for spring ski… There’s so much going on in spring in New Zealand but here are some of the highlights and best places to visit during September.
Tongariro National Park – The spring ski season goes well into October on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu.
Wellington – Enjoy the World of Wearable Art (WOW) show in September as well as more awesome city life in the Capital of New Zealand.
Hamilton – Go to the Tulip Festival and see the Hamilton Gardens in bloom!
Queenstown – Get your adrenaline fix especially with white water rafting making use of that spring snowmelt!
Kaikoura – There’s never a bad time to go to Kaikoura with its year-round wildlife viewings!
For more events in September, see New Zealand in September.
September Packing List
Here are a few added extras you should pack for New Zealand for visiting in September.
- Thermal layers
- High factor sunscreen (even on a cloudy day the New Zealand sun can be harsh on the skin)
- Rain jacket
- Waterproof hiking shoes (here’s some advice on finding a good cheap pair)
- Swimwear (for water sports activities and hot pools)
- Sunglasses (essential for driving when the sun is low and for spring ski)
For more packing inspiration, see the Packing List for Autumn or Spring in New Zealand and New Zealand Packing List: What to Pack for New Zealand.