New Zealand's biggest and most cosmopolitan city is a year-round destination, with a regular schedule of cultural and culinary events providing interest to both visitors and residents.

Plenty of the city's attractions are free to experience, but accommodation prices are often linked to school holidays, so plan a trip outside of those times to alleviate the higher overall costs associated with the country also known as Aotearoa.

High Season: January to April

Best time to go for warm weather and summer festivals

Warmer and (usually) drier, summer is one of the best times to visit Auckland. Popular annual festivals feature arts, music and dance, often reflecting the city's role as the unofficial cultural capital of Polynesia. Anniversary Day Regatta takes place in January – head up to the top of the Sky Tower for the best views of the event. Accommodation prices soften slightly in February and March, after the summer school holidays; Easter can again be more expensive.

Low Season: May to August

Best time to go for New Zealand's Māori New Year and food, wine and beer festivals

Indoor festivals provide shelter from cooler winter weather. The city-fringe neighborhoods of Ponsonby, Parnell and Mt Eden offer good-value accommodation, making ideal bases for venturing to downtown and nearby venues for food, wine and beer festivals. This is also a good time to visit New Zealand for celebrations of literature and comedy, and the annual New Year festival of Matariki.

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Shoulder Season: September to December

Best time to go for walking and learning about the city's history

Spring in the southern hemisphere is also a good time to visit. Mild weather is ideal for walking atop the city's dormant volcanic field, and the occasional rain shower cools things down. High above the surf beaches of Auckland's west coast, walking trails lead to clifftop views of a gannet colony – the city's favorite avians – beginning in December.

People can seen exploring and relaxing around Piha beach, on Auckland's west coast
In January, look forward to perfect weather for visiting Auckland's rugged west coast beaches © gracethang2 / Shutterstock


Look forward to perfect weather for visiting Auckland's rugged west coast beaches and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf. The Anniversary Day Regatta colorfully reinforces why Auckland is dubbed the City of Sails, while three months of free council-sponsored entertainment begins with the popular Music in Parks and Films in Parks programs.
Key events: Auckland Anniversary Day, Auckland International Buskers Festival


It's sunny and warm for the music, dance and cultural extravaganza of Splore, and for Pride, the inclusive celebration of the LGBTIQ+ community. The Auckland Blues and Moana Pasifika Super Rugby teams kick off their seasons late in the month.
Key events: Splore, Auckland Pride Festival

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A costumed dance group representing the Cook Islands waits to go on stage during the Pasifika festival
The Pasifika Festival celebrates Auckland's South Pacific communities, including those from the Cook Islands © Getty Images / Lonely Planet Images


Late summer weather is the backdrop for the Pasifika Festival's celebration of Auckland's South Pacific communities from Samoa, Tonga, Niue and the Cook Islands. The Auckland Lantern Festival illuminates Chinese New Year, Waiheke Island is enlivened with spectacular clifftop sculptures and arts spaces around central Auckland present an eclectic program from local and international performers.
Key events: Pasifika Festival, Auckland Arts Festival, Sculpture on the Gulf


Street food, music and a 7-a-side soccer tournament are highlights of CultureFest, which represents the 70-plus global communities that call Auckland home. The arrival of cooler fall weather also sees audiences filling cozy venues for barrels of laughs from Kiwi and overseas comedians.
Key events: Easter, CultureFest, NZ International Comedy Festival


Readings, conversation and performances bring to life fiction, nonfiction and poetry, providing inspiration for Auckland book lovers as the city's weather cools heading further into winter. Sports fans are heading to watch the Blues and Moana Pasifika (rugby) or the Warriors (rugby league); Auckland's welcoming pubs are top places to catch all the action on the big screen.
Key events: Auckland Writers Festival


Celebrating the Māori New Year, the annual Matariki festival continues to grow in scope and importance, becoming a New Zealand public holiday as of 2022. Winter's shorter days and longer nights set the stage for various events based around traditional Māori cosmology; rain becomes more prevalent though, so fingers crossed for clear skies for stargazing.
Key events: Matariki

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Rugby players on the field during a test match between Italy and New Zealand
July is when New Zealand's All Blacks are playing rugby matches at Eden Park © Marco Iacobucci EPP / Shutterstock


July is when New Zealand's All Blacks are playing rugby matches at Eden Park, usually against traditional rivals such as Australia and South Africa, but also visiting teams from France, Ireland and the United Kingdom. It's often cool, so bundle up for the game. Craft-beer fans look forward to Australasia's best brewfest, while Elemental AKL fills inner-city public spaces with one-off culinary and cultural events.
Key events: Great Australasian Beer Spectapular, Elemental AKL


Often the coolest and wettest month of the year, August is the ideal time to dive into Auckland's eating and drinking scene. Highlights of restaurant month include themed dinners and fixed-price special menus from NZ$25 (US$17), an affordable way to experience the city's culinary diversity.
Key events: Auckland Restaurant Month


With a proud maritime history including multiple wins in yachting's America's Cup, Auckland is one of the world's great harborside cities. The Boat Show presents the best of Auckland's salt-spray-tinged personality, while fresher spring breezes make it a good time to help sail an authentic America's Cup yacht on Waitematā Harbour.
Key events: Auckland Boat Show


Days are lengthening as spring approaches, and the Auckland Heritage Festival offers free access to various museums, historical locations and events around town. The weather's still cool, conducive to learning about the Māori history of Auckland's maunga (ancestral mountains), or catching a ferry across the harbor and walking up the dormant volcano of Rangitoto Island.
Key events: Auckland Heritage Festival, Diwali Indian Festival


New Zealand's best up-and-coming rugby players feature in the National Provincial Championship from August to November. (Hopefully the Auckland NPC team has made the finals.) Fireworks light up Auckland's soaring Sky Tower for the annual Guy Fawkes festival, a legacy of New Zealand's British colonial past.
Key events: NPC Rugby Finals, Guy Fawkes


The first chicks are being born at the Takapu Refuge gannet colony, high above the surf at Muriwai Beach, and by January they're testing their wings on short flights, ahead of their trans-Tasman migration to Australia in March. Before summer heats up and the west coast gets busy again, it's also a good time to hike the clifftop Mercer Bay Loop Walk at Piha Beach. New Year's Eve sees even more spectacular fireworks shooting out from the top of the Sky Tower.
Key events: Christmas in the Park, Christmas, New Year's Eve

Introducing New Zealand

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