New Zealand in
July

If you fancy a summer holiday with a real difference, then visiting New Zealand in July might be right up your street. Experience the beautiful country’s dramatic scenery as it is covered in snow, enjoy the numerous winter sports opportunities on both islands and experience a side of New Zealand that you rarely see advertised. It’s a popular time of year to visit for a reason, so why not come and find out why?

Reasons to visit New Zealand in July

New Zealand Coast
  • It’s the best month of the year to enjoy the country’s ski season, with ideal conditions on both the North and South Island
  • Tourism in the more urban areas of the country is quite low in July, so if you’re after a cheaper city break then now is the time to book one!
  • The Māori New Year festival often falls in July and is a brilliant time to experience a unique part of New Zealand’s culture

Weather in New Zealand in July

July occurs in mid-winter in New Zealand, so be prepared for much colder weather than you’d usually expect from a traditional summer holiday! The South Island tends to experience lower temperatures at this time of year, whereas the North Island sees more rainfall but feels slightly warmer.

Temperature

The average high temperature on both islands during the day is around 13°C, so you’ll need to pack a thick coat and other warm clothing if you’re going to be spending time outside. On the North Island the average low temperature is 2°C overnight, and on the South Island the temperature can drop to -3°C. 

Clouds and Rainfall

There is a fair chance of rain when visiting New Zealand in July, particularly in the city of Auckland which usually experiences 16 days of rainfall during the month. The North Island tends to see more rainfall than the South, with the city of Queenstown being the exception of the whole country as it experiences the least amount of rain all year in July. 

Sunshine Hours

July sees some of the lowest amounts of sunshine in New Zealand all year, with only 3 or 4 hours of sunshine expected most days across the country. There are only around 9  hours of daylight in July, with the sun rising just before 8 am and setting around 5 pm. 

Where to go in New Zealand in July

Auckland

If you want something different from the usual ski holiday that many choose for a trip to New Zealand in July, Auckland offers you both beautiful beaches and a buzzing city centre. Tourism in this part of the country has dropped off by this point of the year, so you’ll find a lot of the popular attractions to be quite quiet which is ideal if you’re wanting a more relaxing travelling experience.

Auckland has two huge harbours and the famous Sky Tower in its centre, and is a vibrant centre of cosmopolitan culture. You can enjoy the rugged, rural landscape that surrounds the city or stick to the middle and visit Auckland’s museums, shops, galleries and brilliant restaurants. Food and drink in the city are known for being of a high standard, so it’s a great place for foodies in particular. 

Queenstown

If you’re looking for snow in July and a low chance of rain then your best bet is to visit Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island, which is one of the country’s most popular cities. It’s not a massive urban area like Auckland but is an ideal place if you’ve come to New Zealand for the ski season or are wanting to explore a lot of the country’s landscape. 

Adrenaline junkies will be interested to know that Queenstown is the bungee-jumping capital of the country, and there are numerous opportunities to try this and other extreme sports in the area. With multiple ski slopes and a range of lakes and mountains that make ideal locations for hiking excursions, it’s one of the best places in the country if you’re looking for a more active holiday. 

Things to do in New Zealand in July

Go Skiing

Skiing and snowboarding opportunities are what New Zealand in July is the most famous for which makes the resorts and slopes relatively busy at this time of year, but the opportunities are so brilliant that we thought it was worth recommending. Whether you’re new to the sport or have been skiing for years, there is a wide range of different resorts and terrains to explore with incredible scenery surrounding you at every turn. 

New Zealand’s South Island has the largest range of skiing locations, from private clubs to commercial resorts, and is ideal for those who want to ski across miles of open terrain. The North Island is home to several ski locations on the active volcano Mount Ruapehu that provides steeper and more rugged conditions. The country’s most popular spot for skiing, Whakapapa, is located here, and provides a snowsport experience like no other!

Take a Road Trip

Driving around New Zealand is one of the most popular ways for travellers to explore the country, and a road trip in July offers the chance to see the dramatic landscapes covered with snow. Conditions can be a bit precarious so it’s worth hiring a sturdy vehicle and checking the forecast before you travel, but there’s no better way to see both North and South Islands and explore the area under your own steam. 

The west coast of the country is the most popular area for a road trip, with many different recommended routes that involve stops in historic and scenic locations, suitable for a range of interests. The good news about taking a road trip in July is that car hire tends to be relatively cheap at this time of year, meaning you can enjoy good value for money with your tour and hopefully travel for longer. 

Crowds & costs

Despite that fact that July falls in New Zealand’s winter season, it is still quite a popular time to come to the country because many school holidays begin during the month. The ski slopes in the country will be very busy and accommodation here will be expensive, but more urban parts of the country will still be reasonably priced. Flights to New Zealand from most parts of the world are known for being very expensive, so make sure you book these well in advance. 

July festivals & events

Maori Warrior

The Matariki Festival

Māori culture is a huge part of life in New Zealand, and the Māori New Year often falls in July and is celebrated with the Matariki Festival. The name ‘Matariki’ comes from a group of stars named by the Māori people who used their position in the sky to determine when a new year was beginning. 

As with many New Year celebrations, the festival is a time when communities come together and reflect on the past year, celebrating with different cultural traditions. Now the festival features numerous events across the country with food, music and entertainment, so if you’re visiting New Zealand during the festival then you’re bound to find a way to take part. 

New Zealand International Film Festival

This annual event is a big favourite for film lovers, and with New Zealand being a popular filming location for movies and television shows it’s a great place to celebrate the art form. The main element of the festival is not competitive, and instead aims to bring films to the country that may not otherwise have been shown, and celebrate new trends and advances in film-making. 

The festival begins in Auckland in July and then travels around the rest of the country to other towns and sites to screen the films. If you’re in Auckland at the launch then it’s certainly worth going to see a film or two, as the atmosphere is always great and many of the works shown are of very high quality.  

Frequently asked questions about New Zealand in July

What season is it in July in New Zealand?

July falls in the middle of winter in New Zealand, meaning that the weather will be very cold and you may encounter snow as you travel around the country. It’s still a really popular time to visit however, and will be quite busy with people on holiday. 

How cold is it in New Zealand in July?

The average temperature during the day in New Zealand in July ranges between 8°C and 12°C. There is also a good chance of rain in some parts of the country, so you’ll need to pack cold and wet weather clothing if you’re planning on being out and about. 

Summary

If you’re looking for sunshine in July then New Zealand is not for you, but if you’re after an adventure to one of the most beautiful and dramatic countries in the world then there’s no better place to visit. Wrap up warm and head out on the slopes, across the hills or around the lakes, and discover what it is that makes New Zealand so special.

Want to find out more about the top destinations in Asia and Oceania to visit in July? Read our guides to Singapore and Indonesia, or take a look at our rundown of Where to Go in July.

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