New Zealand in December gets merrier with Christmas around the corner, and sunny days that hail beach bums and adrenaline junkies. The country is blessed with diversity in topography and culture. Mighty peaks or skyscrapers, the landscape here is contrasting, heart-stealing.
If you’re wondering what to do in New Zealand in December, this post gives you all the answers and suggests the best place for each activity. Apart from activities, top tourist destinations, weather scenario, package prices, and suggested stay duration are all covered in this piece.
Weather in New Zealand during December
December in New Zealand is the summer season. This is among the warmest months in the country with temperature ranging between 20 and 30 degrees celsius. In fact for snow-lovers, there are regions of South Island to please you. The weather in most parts is usually sunny, with chances of some rain. This climate allows the travelers to try out number of activities.
You can set aside sunny days for activities like watersports, hikes, and beach hopping. The rainy days are great for nature trails as it’s much greener, and waterfalls gush flourishingly. There are many indoor activities one can enjoy during rains, like shopping in malls, and clubbing.
New Zealand Map
New Zealand comprises of mainly two islands, North Island and South Island. Beside these two main landmasses, there are about 600 smaller islands too that come under New Zealand.
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Top New Zealand attractions to visit in December
1. Queenstown – For all the thrill you seek
The Adventure Capital of the World, Queenstown is a must visit in December if you’re an adrenaline junky. Whether you’re looking for just a light adventure or something that plays insanely with your heartbeat, this is the place for you. Here, you have activities such as jet boating, skiing, and bungee jumping. In fact, Queenstown was the place that first introduced a commercial bungee jumping site in the world.
Apart from adventure angle, Queenstown mesmerizes with its stunning landscape and fine dining options!
Attractions in Queenstown:
- Bungee jumping from Kawarau Bridge
- Milford Sound Cruise
- Wine tours in Amisfield Bistro & Cellar Door
- Scintillating lakes like Lake Wanaka and Lake Wakatipu
Best places to stay in Queenstown: Rydges Lakeland Resort, Heritage Queenstown, and Crowne Plaza
2. Wellington – New Zealand’s scenic capital
The capital of the country, Wellington is regarded as the coolest little capital in the world by Lonely Planet. The city is renowned for its scenic charm, and rich heritage. Wellington’s glimmering harbour, and rolling green hills weave a soulful landscape that will indeed urge you to travel to New Zealand in December. While in the city, you can get to know about the local culture touring various galleries and theaters, or get indulged in activities like kayaking, and biking.
Attractions in Wellington:
- Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
- Wellington Botanic Garden
- Hiking up to Mount Victoria’s peak
- Wellington Cable Car ride
- Wildlife exploration in Zealandia
Best places to stay in Wellington: ibis Wellington, Rydges, and InterContinental
3. Auckland – Flaunting an iconic cityscape
The largest city in New Zealand, Auckland’s skyline is dominated by the sky-soaring Sky Tower; and indeed the tower makes the cityscape more iconic. But this city isn’t merely about skyscrapers after all, this is New Zealand’s most diverse city – in terms of culture, landscape, and attractions. Whether you’re looking for nightlife, shopping, hikes, wines, or adventure, Auckland is the place to be.
Attractions in Auckland:
- SkyWalk at Sky Tower
- Private cruise tours
- Kayaking to Rangitoto Island
- Marine mammal eco-safaris with Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari
- Wine tours at Waiheke Island
Best places to stay in Auckland: Auckland City Hotel, Waldorf Stadium Apartment Hotel, and Hotel Sofitel Auckland
4. Bay of Islands – Beautified with the colors of the sea
One of New Zealand’s top attractions, the Bay of Islands consists of 144 islands, and is unmissable if you’re visiting New Zealand in December. The emerald pearl, that is Bay of Islands, is a paradise where you’ll come across various marine creatures while sailing like whale, dolphin, penguin, and marlin. Not just the marine life, you can also witness the ethnic and historic charm of Bay of Islands while interacting with the people of Maori Culture.
Attractions in Bay of Islands:
- Waitangi heritage tour
- Hole in the rock cruise
- Dolphin and whale spotting
- Scuba dive to shipwreck sites
Best places to stay in Bay of Islands: Paihia often serves as a base for people visiting the Bay of Islands. Admiral’s View Lodge & Motel, Scenic Hotel Bay of Islands, and Paihia Beach Resort & Spa are some of the best places to stay in Paihia.
5. Rotorua – Hot springs and culture
The Coolest Hotspot Destination of New Zealand, Rotorua is known for hot springs, geysers, and mud pools in particular. However, this does not end here, Rotorua also flaunts the Maori culture with pride, and this is something that pleases the visitors. Feasting on Maori food, or getting inked by Ta Moko tattoo experts will get you closer to this enlivening culture.
There’s also thrill that awaits, if you indulge in activities like mountain biking, and whitewater rafting, on your trip to New Zealand in December.
Attractions in Rotorua:
- Geothermal tours to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, and Hell’s Gate, among others
- Maori heritage and history tour
- Activities such as white water rafting, ziplining, and fly fishing
- Wildlife experience in Paradise Valley Springs
- Rejuvenation in nature’s very own spas like Kerosene Creek
Best places to stay in Rotorua: Rydges Rotorua, Holiday Inn Rotorua, and Novotel Rotorua Lakeside
Things to do in New Zealand in December
1. Go on nature hikes
The world knows New Zealand can be utterly lethal, and hypnotic with its natural landscape. Losing yourself amidst it naturescape is one of the best things to do in New Zealand. The country has been bestowed with stunning contrast of hills, plains, lakes, beaches, and volcanic craters. Just a walk through New Zealand’s countryside will unfold a myriad of distinctive sights. One moment you’ll cross waterfalls, only to end up in a grassy field; walk past this and there will be rolling hills, or maybe gamboling turquoise sea waves awaiting you.
Best places in New Zealand for nature trails and hikes: Tongariro National Park, Mount Cook National Park, Mt. Victoria, and Fiordland National Park
2. Enjoy the New Zealand nightlife in so many ways
On your trip to New Zealand in December you got to enjoy the buzzing nightlife, with a bunch of amazing people around. Nightlife in New Zealand isn’t just about disco balls and loud music, there actually many ways to live the night. Apart from the pub crawls, fine dining, cruising aboard a yacht, or attending a live show in night market are some other ways to enjoy nightlife in New Zealand.
Best cities in New Zealand to enjoy nightlife: Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown, and Christchurch
3. Shop till you drop
Of course, pooping tags while on a vacation is something no one can resist, especially someone visiting New Zealand in December. When shopping in this beautiful country, you’ll see a variety in everything from fashion to electronics; and the quality of each product is commendable too.
If you’re looking to buy gifts, pounamu (jade) ornament, woodcraft, and possum knitwear and sheepskins are recommended buys.
Best places to visit in New Zealand for shopping: Auckland, Christchurch, and Queenstown
4. Hit the beach: Laze around, surf, or go underwater!
The stunning beachscape of New Zealand makes pleases everyone in the world across. Turquoise sea waves kissing the golden/white sands of the shore looks something right out of the dream. You want secluded beach spots to unwind and connect with nature? New Zealand has got your back. You want to party all night by the sea, New Zealand will enliven you. You want to feel the adrenaline rushing, there are many watersports you can indulge in, while on a vacation in New Zealand in December.
Best beaches in New Zealand: Awaroa Beach, Wharariki Beach, Bioluminescent Mosquito Bay, and Kaiteriteri Beach are some of New Zealand’s best beaches
5. Go beyond cloud nine while skydiving in New Zealand
Skydiving in New Zealand is something that tops the bucket list of every adrenaline-junky. And as mentioned about the nightlife in this country, there are different ways one can choose to skydive- Tandem, Accelerated Freefall, and Static Line.
Best places in New Zealand for skydiving: Fox Glacier, Auckland, Bay of Islands, and Abel Tasman
6. Dwell in the Christmas and New Year Festivities
What’s a visit to New Zealand in December, if you’re coming back without celebrating Christmas and New Year here. The Santa Parades, in many town, often starts in the month of November itself. Sometimes the Santa isn’t even dressed traditionally, he adds a New Zealand touch by wearing jandals (New Zealand sandals), and even wearing rugby shirts. There are special carol performances, and light shows held to escalate festive spirit. The time of New Year too gets enlivening, with parties, music festivals, and fireworks.
Best places in New Zealand to visit during Xmas and New Year: Auckland, Wellington, Gisborne, and Christchurch
Ideal trip duration and package cost for a New Zealand vacation
The ideal duration of stay in New Zealand is 10 nights and 11 days. This will allow you a visit to the top tourist destinations of New Zealand, and get indulged in best activities in the country.
If you have some more time in hand, you can pair your visit to New Zealand with Australia and experience the best of both worlds.
Talking about New Zealand tour packages, the average cost of the same would be INR 1,00,00 per pax on twin sharing basis. This cost usually covers stay, meals, airport transfers, and airport pickup drop. Also, the price of the package varies from season to season.
With so much arrayed for fun and memories, New Zealand in December sounds like a great idea indeed! So, Are you all set to welcome a new year in this stunning country? But before you go, read through these frequently asked questions about New Zealand during December.
What are the things to do in New Zealand in December?
Beach sports, island hopping, wine tasting, clubbing, shopping, hiking and skydiving are just a few things one can do while on a vacation in New Zealand during December.
Is New Zealand hot in December?
Most parts of New Zealand in December stay pleasantly warm, with temperatures ranging between 20 and 30 degrees celsius. However, it again depends on the region you’re traveling to.
How cold does it get in New Zealand during December?
New Zealand during December enjoys summer season, with moderate to pleasantly warm weather conditions in most part – especially North Island and tropical regions.
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