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Visiting New Zealand in February

View of the mountains from the Lindis Pass in New Zealand

A trip to New Zealand in February falls nicely between Christmas and Easter, giving you the time to relax and enjoy all of the cultural heritage and sights that make NZ a firm favourite among British holidaymakers.

Travelling to New Zealand in February you will be pleasantly greeted by the kind of weather that we enjoy sporadically here in the UK over Summer, without the unpredictability. February is their August and you can expect temperatures of between 20°C and 30°C, pleasant but not unbearable.

With incredible mountain scenery and immense stretches of unspoilt interior to investigate, it is perhaps unsurprising that dozens of major Hollywood producers have flocked to the land of the Kiwi to shoot their movies.

Most of us are aware that the famous ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy was filmed in NZ. Waikato District, a lush region south of Auckland was the location for Middle Earth. At the other end of North Island, the tranquil, idyllic Kaitoke National Park was the location for the Elf paradise of Rivendell, as well as various additional scenes throughout the Tolkien-inspired movie franchise. ‘King Kong: Skull Island’, was filmed in nearby Lyall Bay, a popular destination for surfers.

What you may not realise is that many other epic movies, including ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’, ‘The Piano’ and the all-action Tom Cruise film, ‘The Last Sumarai’, were also filmed on location in New Zealand. In ‘The Last Samurai’, Mount Taranaki was a body-double for Mount Fuji in Japan. Located near Queenstown on South Island, Mt Taranki’s shape is incredibly similar to the famous Japanese volcano. In ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’, Flock Hill, near Christchurch on South Island provided the rugged rocky setting for the final climactic battle between the forces of Aslan and The White Witch.

Visiting sites of film locations is a popular tourism pastime and can be combined with hiking, climbing and even extreme sports such as mountain climbing. In fact, ‘Vertical Limit’, the 90’s thriller about extreme ice climbing is set in Aoraki, Mount Cook, South Island. Surrounded by the magical Hooker Glacier Lake, Mount Cook is the tallest mountain in New Zealand and offers grand vistas for cycling, flightseeing or boating.

What is the Weather Like in New Zealand In February?

Being at the exact opposite side of the globe from the UK, the Kiwi Summer starts in December and extends through to February. Travelling to New Zealand in February, you will be greeted by a warm temperate climate with highs of 25°C typical on North Island with temperatures 2 or 3 degrees cooler on South Island. Lows can be expected to sit at approximately 12°C on North Island with temperatures of 10°C in the South.

Whilst these are typical temperatures for the time of year, due to the proximity of South Island to the Antarctic Circle, it may be significantly cooler in the very south and in mountainous regions on either island.

In comparison to the unpredictable British Summer though, once Summer sets in Down Under, it remains warm for a good couple of months. With temperatures of up to 30°C, the weather is always pleasant without being horribly stifling.

What to Pack for Visiting New Zealand in February

Presumably, if you’re going to going to fly all the way to New Zealand, you’re not going to be there for just a few days. You’ll want to pack for the various climates you could expect to encounter.

As already mentioned, on North Island, you can visit warm beaches in locations such as Lyall Bay, a popular destination for surfing. So, make sure you pack your beach wear.

  • swimming shorts/costume
  • sunglasses
  • trainers/walking shoes

Inland, there are many remote fells and mountains which are likely to be somewhat cooler. With this in mind, even if you’re not planning on doing any bungee jumping or ice climbing it would be wise to pack some basic essentials. Here’s a handy check list of some items to pack to keep out the chill:

  • a base layer e.g. technical t shirt/technical leggings – maintains your core body temperature
  • thick sweater and/or fleece
  • waterproof jacket with taped seams – keep out the stiff southerly winds
  • action trousers, with zip-off legs if it gets warmer
  • a good strong pair of walking shoes

Unlike the rigid boots of the past, many outdoors specialists also stock walking shoes made of lighter materials such as Gore-tex® which remain waterproof but are breathable and lighter to wear and are therefore as suitable for general sightseeing as for the more rugged hikes.

What to Do in New Zealand in February?

Christchurch, South Island

If you’re the sort of person who would never dream of packing a case without putting in your running shoes, make sure you check out the Christchurch 10km Series, held annually on the first Sunday in Feb, the 10k Series is a great way to shake off the cobwebs and take in the pretty sights of Christchurch old town.

To sign up ahead of landing simply click here.

However, if the thought of lycra and sweat brings you out in a rash, why not try the Shabby Chic Market Day? Held on the first Sunday of the month in Rochester Villa, Christchurch, the market is the perfect way to unwind, relax and find some truly unique trinkets and souvenirs for the folks back home or to adorn your mantlepiece.

Alternatively, you could book a 7-hour boat trip from Akaroa Wharf to see why this most picturesque town is called New Zealand’s English Rose. With prices starting from $45 NZ, a boat trip is the perfect way to see ‘The Garden City’. Alight for three hours free time to take in the attractions These include the Botanical Gardens, Canterbury Museum and the National Earthquake Memorial Wall, as well as an art gallery and the Central Christchurch shopping precinct for some much-needed retail therapy.

Auckland, North Island

If you like open water swimming, the Bean Rock Lighthouse Swim, held annually in Mission Bay, takes place on the second Saturday in February. With races of both 1600m and 3200m swim, the event is open to all ages of competent recreational, pool swimmers and triathletes.

However, if you’d rather not get your feet wet, the event itself is incredibly entertaining to watch from the beach being the premier open water event on North island and will be accompanied by entertainment for spectators.

For something altogether different, why not check out the Voxnova Gypsy Jazz Concert? Held every Monday night from 9-11 at the Caretaker Bar, Auckland. Combining a natural fusion of Irish folk and modern acoustic sounds, Voxnova hold a free weekly residency in the Britnova Bar, within Caretaker Bar. Rumoured to be the hardest cocktail bar to find in Auckland, are you up for the challenge of finding this popular nugget of gypsy chic gold?

There is so much to see, hear and to experience in New Zealand in February. The haka is calling you to head down under and be stunned and moved by the Māori tribes with their fierce chanting, the sumptuous white beaches, pounded by the roaring azure waves of the mighty Pacific Ocean and the endless miles of simply spectacular unspoilt wilderness. Life is busy and can be stressful. NZ in February gives you the opportunity to find true tranquillity. Discover New Zealand and find within yourself the deep certainty of solitude.

Looking for more information about when to visit New Zealand? Read our guide to visiting New Zealand in January for more travel tips

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