New Zealand Guide

Get to know Wanaka weather: when is the best time to visit Wanaka?

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What’s Wanaka weather like? When is the best time to visit this beautiful destination? Well, the answer to this question really depends on what kind of holiday you are after. Wanaka is located on New Zealand’s Southern Island, just a 1-hour drive from Queenstown, and it has got 4 wonderful seasons, each with its own magic. Just like the seasons’ change, Wanaka has got something different to offer in summer, autumn, winter and spring. No matter when you decide to come down to this gorgeous lakeside mountain town, you will be struck by its beauty and you will always have a wide range of activities to choose from. Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect during the different seasons in Wanaka:

Wintertime – A snowy winter wonderland

Winter in Wanaka
Credit: Lake Wanaka Tourism

Wanaka is a stunning snow-covered wonderland during wintertime and it makes the ultimate playground for travellers and families who love to be surrounded by icy mountains and endless ski fields for beginners, intermediate and advanced ski enthusiasts.

Winter season in Wanaka: June to September

Winter starts early June and it ends at the very end of August. Icy rivers, reflective lakes, snowy mountains, hot springs, hot chocolate, fireplaces, crafts beers and snow – winter season in Wanaka, New Zealand is stunning, cosy, cold and wonderful all at the same time! The average temperature is 10 degrees Celcius. Not too cold but cold, I would say! Great for heading out towards the ski fields and get the fun started.

What to do in Wanaka during winter?

Wanaka winter - things to do
Credit: Lake Wanaka Tourism
  • Hit the ski fields
  • Try snowboarding
  • Ice skating
  • Cinema Paradise with home-baked cookies
  • Tasting the local Pinot Noir wine
  • Nature strolls around Wanaka Lake
  • Hike up to Roy’s Peak and have a picnic in the snow
  • Drink lots of mulled wine

Springtime in Wanaka – Blossoming out of the snow

Wanaka gently melts and blossoms with the transition from winter to summer – it is springtime! The sun is warming, everything gets greener and diehards could consider taking a plunge into the cold water of Wanaka Lake or they can make their way up to the ski fields and go for a springtime ski adventure while you still can. The strong winds during this particular season set the perfect conditions for yacht cruises or to go windsurfing on Wanaka Lake. Is it already time to get the BBQ out? Well, why not! On a warm spring afternoon, welcome those summer vibes and grill the catch of the day for dinner. Yum!

Spring season in Wanaka: September to November

best time to visit wanaka
Credit: Lake Wanaka Tourism

From the 1st of September until 30 November, Springtime sets in. The average temperature is 17-degrees Celsius and as the snow gets less and less but it never disappears completely so you will always get to see those stunning views of snowy mountain peaks.

What to do in Wanaka in Spring

  • Spring skiing
  • Hiking
  • Horse riding
  • Cycling
  • Eat asparagus
  • Canyoning

Summertime – Fun around Wanaka Lake

wanaka summer
Credit: Lake Wanaka Tourism

If you love lake-side holidays, surrounded by snowcapped mountains and endless Lord of the Rings sceneries, you have come to the right place in Wanaka. Swim in the lake, have lake-side picnics, stroll around town, go cycling, bungee jumping, zip lining, hiking – the possibilities are endless. The temperature is very pleasant day and night.

Summer season in Wanaka: December to March

Summertime is on from 1 December to 28 February every year and the average temperature in the summer is very comfortable at 24-degrees Celsius and no humidity. The twilight hours are delightfully long and you can be out in daylight until well after 9 pm. The hottest months of the year are January & February. The least busy summer month is February but in December you can experience what Christmas in the summertime is like (at least, for those of your coming from Europe or America!). Quite a refreshing experience!

What to do in Wanaka during summer

things to do in wanaka in summer
Credit: Lake Wanaka Tourism
  • Lake cruises & island hopping
  • Swimming, swimming, swimming
  • Lake kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Bungee jumping
  • Cycling
  • Canyoning
  • Getting lost in the maze of Puzzling World

Related: 12 things to do in Wanaka: Make the most out of your New Zealand trip

Autumn in Wanaka – Cooler & beautiful as always

wanaka autumn
Credit: Lake Wanaka Tourism

In autumn, the wheater gets chillier but it is still very pleasant for hiking, horse riding, cycling and mountain biking. It does get quite chilly in the evening so you definitely need to wear a warm sweater in the evening and cover up under the blankets at night.

Autumn season in Wanaka: March to May

Autumn happens between the beginning of March and the end of May. The average temperature is a nice 16-degrees, not cold but not hot either – pretty perfect for outdoor activities (apart from swimming in the lake, perhaps!).

Best activities in Wanaka during Autumn

  • Hiking
  • Cycling
  • Horse riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Canyoning
  • Rafting
  • Try the local wines – it is harvest time!


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