When to Go

November through mid-April is the best time in Central and Eastern North Island. The weather is generally balmy and everything is open. This is also the season for vineyard festivals, so keep an eye on the local calendars. Try to avoid the school holidays (from mid-December to late January), when the roads and hotels get clogged with Kiwi vacationers. To see the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers, you need to go between October and April, when the birds are nesting and raising their young.

Hawke's Bay and Gisborne can be remarkably mild in winter; Rotorua and Taupo, however, can get quite cold and wet. If you want to do some skiing, you can hit the slopes of Tongariro National Park from June through October, but you will be competing with families if you are there during the school break.

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