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Best month to visit for a first timer

Jakarta, Indonesia
Level Contributor
47 posts
31 reviews
37 helpful votes
Best month to visit for a first timer

Hi,

I plan to travel to Queenstown with my mom and we are wondering which month is the best.

We prefer to still see views of snow capped mountains (we are not going skiing or hiking), but trying the avoid the weather being too cold for exploring the city.

Understand that June to Aug is the official winter season, and Sept/ Oct might be rainy? Also note that I am also quite a nervous flyer, so avoiding rainy season is preferrable.

Appreciate your advice!

9 replies to this topic
Lower Hutt, New...
Level Contributor
78 posts
2 reviews
1. Re: Best month to visit for a first timer

We just visited in mid April. No snow, but the autumn colours were breathtaking and more than made up for the lack of snow. In the week we were there it only rained once. We’re returning at the start of October in the hopes of seeing some snow, but we will definitely return in the autumn period too.

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Christchurch, South Island, Akaroa
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51,461 posts
577 reviews
231 helpful votes
2. Re: Best month to visit for a first timer

Are you only visiting Queenstown? (not Aoraki Mt Cook or the glaciers)? Outside of winter, the only way to get close to snow is by helicopter up onto the glaciers. If a distant view of snow-capped peaks is enough, then the mountains in & around Aoraki NP are always snow-capped.

For someone from a hot climate, Feb & March would definitely Italy be the warmest & driest months to visit. October & November are the prettiest, but can also be wet, because the rain makes the grass green & the flowers grow!!

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island, Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand, Tonga
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24,725 posts
749 reviews
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3. Re: Best month to visit for a first timer

mid march to mid april is a great time to visit with the autumn colours and the prettiest time at arrowtown, still good weather and less crowds.

february/march generally the warmest and most settled weather.

Jakarta, Indonesia
Level Contributor
47 posts
31 reviews
37 helpful votes
4. Re: Best month to visit for a first timer

Thank you for the replies!

Many of you mentioned April, will look into that for sure. Noted on Sept/ Oct probably be a wet season. What about May? Will the autumn leaves still be there? Just wondering if May is closer to winter and any chance of seeing snow the capped mountains from a distance?

Btw if let's say I am to visit Mount Cook, is there like a direct bus to get there?

Thanks a bunch!

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island, Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand, Tonga
Level Contributor
24,725 posts
749 reviews
511 helpful votes
5. Re: Best month to visit for a first timer

#4 the trouble with may is the days are getting much shorter and colder. you can expect the first frosts and snow could distrupt travel. many tourist activities wind down, or shut for the winter.

i would suggest march april - keeping in mind that easter and school holidays are around this time - which are busy travel times.

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Christchurch, South Island, Akaroa
Level Contributor
51,461 posts
577 reviews
231 helpful votes
6. Re: Best month to visit for a first timer

The trouble with April & early May, before the snow comes, is that the mountains look awfully bare. This year we have have just had a massive dump of snow in the central SI, to the delight of many visitors to Aoraki Mt Cook & Lake Tekapo, but that also brings road closures & icy roads. Several cars have rolled or gone off the highway in the icy conditions. For this reason I much prefer spring.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island, Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand, Tonga
Level Contributor
24,725 posts
749 reviews
511 helpful votes
7. Re: Best month to visit for a first timer

november and early december are also good times to visit nz as well. we tend to travel in nz for 6 weeks at a time around november, and again around march/april.

Edited: 20 May 2024, 10:53
Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Christchurch, South Island, Akaroa
Level Contributor
51,461 posts
577 reviews
231 helpful votes
8. Re: Best month to visit for a first timer

You asked about a bus to Aoraki Mt Cook - Try Intercity, Great Sights & Crazy Kiwi.

Arrowtown, New...
Level Contributor
8,303 posts
68 reviews
65 helpful votes
9. Re: Best month to visit for a first timer

From December to late April you will have little to no snow on the mountaintops around Queenstown.

May/ June there are often a couple of weeks of bitterly cold weather - nighttimes well below zero, first snowfalls (sometimes a good dumping), black ice, and towards Central Otago - hoar frosts. Parts of Frankton Road (Queenstown) can have frost/ ice on the hillsides for days.

Late October/ November/ early December - Spring - tends to have a little more rain, and can be windy. This is a time of year when it's not uncommon for planes to take several attempts to land, or divert back to where they came from!

I think that September is a good time to visit Queenstown. While mornings and evenings may be frosty and cold - winter days can be sunny, dry, calm and relatively warm (in the sunshine!). There will be snow on the mountaintops. Roaring fires and knee blankets outdoors at restaurants, hot mulled wine, and settled weather.

If you can forgo Queesntown snow, then April is a great time to visit the region for the autumn foliage colours.

Feb/ March are good for warm days, sunshine and Lake swims (I prefer Lake Wānaka to Lake Whakatipu for a swim!).

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