The Warmest Places in New Zealand for Sun Lovers

The Warmest Places in New Zealand for Sun Lovers

Want to do a little sun-worshipping at the warmest places in New Zealand? 

The warmest places in New Zealand for sun lovers are Gisborne, Waikanae, Alexandra, Whangarei, Napier, Auckland, Nelson, Rotorua, Tauranga, and Christchurch.

These places have warm climates all year long and plenty of activities perfect for any sun-lover.

1. Gisborne

Gisborne

People like the outstanding quality of life afforded to them here in this stunning part of New Zealand, which also happens to be the country’s citrus capital. 

This small city boasts many stunning natural features, a rich cultural history, and a pleasant dose of urban life.

Climate  

Gisborne Climate

Located on the North Island’s eastern cape and shielded by the high terrain to the west, Gisborne enjoys the warmest climate in all of New Zealand and is the first city in the world to witness the sunrise.

Temperatures rarely drop below 0 °C  even in the dead of winter, and in the summer, they average in the mid-20s °C and occasionally hit the high-30s °C.

Notable Sun-Lover Activities in Gisborne 

 Go to the beach

Go to the beach

When you combine these agreeable temperatures with the abundance of coastline and white sand beaches, you have the ideal setting for spending your days in and out of the sea. There are many great spots in and around Gisborne for surfers of all skill levels.

Waikanae Beach in particular is a popular place to go, as well as a safe spot to swim due to its shallow depth. The water sports at Waikanae Beach include swimming, kite surfing, sand sailing, kayaking, fishing, and whiteboarding. 

Sandcastle and driftwood hut construction, as well as other forms of beach art, are also popular activities to do here too. 

Watch the sunrise

Watch the sunrise

Watching the sunrise is one of Gisborne’s most notable things to do. As the world’s earliest inhabited settlement, people in Gisborne can witness each day’s dawn hours before anybody else. 

You can observe the event from Otiki Hill or nearby Wainui Beach. Or, if you go to the East Cape, you can check out their lighthouse.

Check out the waterfront statues

Check out the waterfront statues

Many come down to the waterfront to stroll along the shoreline and see monuments honouring the area’s rich history, such as Captain Cook’s and Young Nick’s statues.

Explore Eastwoodhill Arboretum

Explore Eastwoodhill Arboretum

At Eastwoodhill Arboretum, you may experience the magic of forests worldwide. Outside Gisborne, you’ll find a 135-hectare forest filled with native and exotic trees, perfect for a day spent outdoors. 

Guests can also observe approximately 40 different types of birds while hiking the plantation’s more than 25 kilometres of pathways.

Enjoy the view from Kaiti Hill

Enjoy the view from Kaiti Hill

The Titirangi Domain, or Kaiti Hill, provides a magnificent panorama of Gisborne and its environs, including Wainui Beach and the white cliffs of Young Nick’s Head.

2. Alexandra

Alexandra

Among the worn rock scenery of Central Otago, the charming town of Alexandra stands out as a lovely oasis of trees and civilization.

You may explore the area’s natural splendour on foot or on a mountain bike by following historic gold miners’ pathways into the hills. Moreover, the museums and the Pinot Noir vineyards are worth a look. 

Additionally, during the warmer months of the year, you can indulge in the delicious apricots, peaches, cherries, and apples that grow in the area.

Climate 

Alexandra Climate

Alexandra is a strong contender for the title of warmest city in New Zealand alongside Gisborne. Temperatures in Alexandra reach the mid-20s °C  from November through February, making it the hottest town in the country during that time. 

Having no natural cooling influences from the Tasman Sea or the Pacific Ocean, the town’s low-lying, protected, naked land causes it to warm up rapidly in the morning and stay warm all day long. 

However, you shouldn’t plan on wearing a tank top every day of the year, because most days in the winter in Alexandra drop below freezing. The temperature dropped low enough that an outdoor ice rink was built in town.

Notable Sun-Lover Activities in Alexandra 

Walk to the Alexandra Mountain Clock

Walk to the Alexandra Mountain Clock

One of the first things people do in Alexandra is head up to the town’s famous clockface. You need to cross the old Shaky Bridge and then take a walk up the hill to the iconic Alexandra Mountain Clock. 

You can see the entire town of Alexandra, the Clutha River, the nearby vineyards, and the Old Man and Old Woman Ranges in the short 5-minute hike to the clock.

Have a sample of the local wines

Have a sample of the local wines

In Alexandra, a glass of wine is a well-deserved treat. There are many vineyards in the area where you can savour a bottle of wine in its purest form. 

There are more than ten small wineries in the neighbourhood, and several of them have tasting rooms that are open to the public.

Cycle the Roxburgh Gorge Trail

Cycle the Roxburgh Gorge Trail

The Roxburgh Gorge Trail is, without a doubt, another of Alexandra’s most recommended bicycle rides. 

The entire trail of 34 kilometres, which includes a jet boat trip connecting two sections, can be completed in a day, although the hike is also enjoyable in shorter segments. 

You may take in the stunning canyon landscape by cycling the 20 kilometres from Alexandra to Doctors Point and back. You can also begin your journey at Roxburgh Dam and cycle to Shingle Creek to take in the scenic lake and rural countryside views.

3. Whangarei

Whangarei

Whangarei, pronounced “fang-a-ray,” is the northernmost city in New Zealand. It is a nice and lush place to visit. 

It is Northland’s only city and commercial hub and is located about two hours north of Auckland and one hour south of the Bay of Islands. It’s a great starting point for journeys throughout the remainder of Northland.

The country is flat, and the city is compact, so you can get anywhere on foot. Attractive gardens, seats, and sculptures can be found in the city’s vehicle-free core.

Climate 

Whangarei Climate

Because of its location in the top half of the North Island, the weather in Whangarei is consistently warm to hot and the rain falls evenly throughout the year. 

The northernmost part of New Zealand is known as the “winterless north,” and it features plenty of beach-worthy days even in the dead of winter. Even in the coldest month of July, temperatures only average 15.3 °C throughout the day. 

In contrast, you won’t have to compete with anybody else for a space on the glistening sand from November to April, when the average high is between 20 and 25 °C.

Sun-Lover Activities in Whangarei

Check out Whangarei Falls and the AH Reed Kauri Park

Check out Whangarei Falls and the AH Reed Kauri Park

Whangarei Falls and AH Reed Kauri Park, two of Whangarei’s best natural attractions, are connected by a picturesque riverbank promenade. 

You can experience the majesty of the 26-meter-tall waterfall before continuing on the Hatea River Walk to a boardwalk through a kauri forest. Also, some of the largest trees in New Zealand can be found in AH Reed Kauri Park.

Go to Whale Bay Beach 

Go to Whale Bay Beach

To some, Whale Bay Beach is among the most stunning in all of Northland. It’s not an island in the traditional sense, but the pristine beach and clear sea give it an island feel.

It’s highly sheltered, giving it a fantastic sense of seclusion, and the water is always nice and tranquil, making it ideal for swimming.

Even if it’s worth the extra effort, this beach is located 600 meters from the nearest road. It’s mostly downhill on the outbound journey and upwards on the return journey, albeit at a gradually increasing gradient.

Climb Mount Manaia 

Climb Mount Manaia

Even while Mount Manaia looks daunting from the bottom, a well-maintained trail zigzags its way up the mountainside, making the ascent a breeze. Plus, it’s a great place to see the sun go down. 

Furthermore, the forest canopy will shield you from the sun and the rain up until the last few hundred feet before the peak. The forest is lovely, and it even has some fully-grown kauri trees in it.

After about 2.2 kilometres of ascent, you’ll reach the exposed summit rock, from which you’ll get spectacular views of Bream Head (Te Whara) and the Marotere islands.

4. Napier

Napier

Napier, sometimes known as the Nice of the Pacific, can be found around 200 kilometres south of Gisborne, on the east coast of the North Island. 

Napier is known for its excellent dining options, wineries, and nightlife. It’s well worth taking a stroll down the newly renovated Marine Parade and seeing the unique boutiques.

Climate 

Napier Climate

Napier enjoys the warmest and driest summer in the country because it is located in the rain shadow of the Kaweka Range and the Volcanic Plateau to the west. 

Daily highs in the low to mid-20s °C can be expected from November through February, making this a great time to visit one of the many beaches in the region or stroll along the esplanade dotted with Art Deco buildings from the 1930s.

Napier may have great weather, but don’t let that fool you. Napier’s city centre is located relatively close to sea level as a result of the coastline being significantly altered by an earthquake in 1931. 

In the event of a tsunami or an increase in sea levels, the city might be completely submerged.

Notable Sun-Lover Activities in Napier 

Go wander along Marine Parade

Go wander along Marine Parade

Marine Parade is a strip of land that stretches along the coast of the South Pacific Ocean. This famed coastal walkway, which is around 3 kilometres long, is a must-do for any visitor to Napier.

You can relax in the sunken gardens, take a selfie of Pani of the Reef, Napier’s most renowned statue, indulge in ice cream, or challenge a fellow traveller to a round of mini-golf—Marine Parade has something for everyone.

Go and enjoy a wine tasting 

Go and enjoy a wine tasting

More than 200 vineyards, 70 wineries, and 30 cellar doors can be found in Hawke’s Bay, making it an ideal location for wine tastings with the producers themselves.

The vineyards of Napier, Hastings, and Havelock North produce some of New Zealand’s finest Chardonnay, Merlot Cabernet blends, and Syrah.

Take a bike ride around Napier

Take a bike ride around Napier

Throughout the region, Hawke’s Bay Routes provide 200 kilometres of flat, easy-riding trails that link acclaimed restaurants, cozy cafes, rustic inns, and boutiques.

The most daring among you will love their mountain bike parks, which are known for their excellent design and beautiful views. Even the pickiest mini-riders can be satisfied by the wide variety of cycle skills tracks available.

5. Auckland

Auckland

Many of Auckland’s residents are not native New Zealanders, although they nonetheless enjoy the city’s many attractions. 

It’s no surprise that people from all over the world want to call this metropolis home, with its combination of modern amenities and natural beauty, rapid development, and global appeal..

Climate 

Auckland Climate

Residents can take pleasure in the hip urban sprawl, vast wilderness, and gorgeous beaches throughout the year thanks to the mild, temperate climate typical of the coast. 

The high teens to mid-20°C can be expected from October through May, making it feel like summer lasts for most of the year. 

It’s also not unusual for Auckland to have temperatures above 15 °C (60 °F), even in the dead of winter.

However, things are not always rose-coloured. Due to its proximity to both the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Auckland is frequently hit by severe hailstorms and cold fronts. 

Notable Sun-Lover Activities in Auckland 

Explore Auckland’s Coastline

Explore Auckland’s Coastline

Because of its location on an isthmus between two harbours, Auckland is a city with a strong affinity for the water and its various recreational opportunities, many of which revolve around boats and beaches. 

Orewa and Brown’s Bay, to the north of the city; Takapuna, Milford, and Cheltenham Beaches, to the east of the city on the harbour; and St. Heliers and Mission Bay, to the south, are all popular swimming spots along the East Coast. 

The waves for surfing are better on the west coast since the beaches are rougher. But if you do surf, be wary of the rocky outcrops and dangerous rips at Piha, Karekare, and Karioitahi, all of which feature stunning black sand. 

Whether surfing or not, on a warm day, you can enjoy the sea in a variety of ways, from dipping your toes in the sand to swimming to diving deep into the Hauraki Gulf. 

You could even join a rafting, sailing, or kayaking expedition. You can also cast a fishing net and try your luck.

6. Nelson

Nelson

Nelson embodies the classic attractiveness of New Zealand. There are breathtaking vistas in every direction, thanks to the proximity of a variety of national parks. 

Add to that Nelson’s sunny summers and mild winters, and it’s easy to see why so many people fall in love with the city and decide to stay for good.

Climate 

Nelson Climate

The average high temperature in February is 22.6 °C, and there are typically only 5.8 days of rain during the entire month.

However, Nelson is vulnerable to powerful storms coming off Tasman Bay due to its location at the very top of the South Island. Stormy days with high winds and heavy rain are far more common in the winter.

Notable Sun-Lover Activities in Nelson 

Visit Mai Tai River 

Visit Mai Tai River

Nearby stores and cafes make the Maitai River a great spot for a leisurely stroll or jog. The 8 km path alongside the river is paved, but it changes to gravel as you move away from civilization.

It’s green and picturesque, and you can escape the city within minutes. A few swimming holes, including Black Hole, Dennes Hole, and Sunday Hole, can be found along the path, making it a pleasant place to cool off during the hot summer months.

Go to Brook Waimarama Sanctuary 

Go to Brook Waimarama Sanctuary

Some more attention should be paid to the hidden gem that is Brook Sanctuary in Nelson. Even though you’re only about 6 kilometres from the action, you might as well be on the other side of the world.

If you’re looking for a place to see rare flora and fauna, this is the best-enclosed reserve on the South Island.

The absence of predators has allowed native bird populations to flourish, so you may hear them singing while you hike along the river or through the forest.

Tahunanui Beach

Tahunanui Beach

You can’t visit Nelson and not visit Tahunanui Beach. The beach is large and wide, with grey sand, and it’s either a quick drive or an hour’s walk from the downtown area.

7. Rotorua

Rotorua

Rotorua may be the exception to the rule that a city shouldn’t strive to be notorious for its stench. Geothermal activity abounds throughout the city, and sulphur gas can be smelled emanating from mud pools and geysers. 

Despite the unpleasant aroma, many visitors come to this city for the opportunity to explore its many surreal parks and plazas.

Climate 

Rotorua Climate

In Rotorua, it’s not just the dirt that’s scorching. Rotorua is far from the coast and sheltered by the mountains. 

So its location in the centre of the North Island causes Rotorua to have some of the least windy conditions in New Zealand while having average July highs of 22.8 °C.

Notable Sun-Lover Activities in Rotorua 

Te Puia

Te Puia

Here you can learn about Maori culture by visiting a Marae and perusing the products of traditional Maori arts and crafts. Such as woodcarving and flax weaving. 

You can also choose to relax in one of the many old geothermal hot baths or bubbling mud pools. 

Here you can also see Pohutu Geyser, the world’s most dependable geyser. It can shoot water up to 30 meters high and erupts as often as once or twice an hour. 

You might also be able to see New Zealand’s national symbol, the kiwi bird

However, the best way to learn about the local culture, history, and lore of Te Puia and the Te Whakarewarewa Valley is to take advantage of the included guided tour with a local guide.

Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest

Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest

Whakarewarewa Forest is a lovely place to visit due to its tranquil atmosphere, majestic California redwoods, and many gigantic native ferns. 

Those interested in exploring the forest can do so for free along the paths carved into the forest floor, or they can pay a charge to do so from a walkway of suspended bridges high up in the forest canopy.

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Wai-O-Tapu is one of the most breathtaking thermal parks in the region. The park is 18 square kilometres in size. 

It is home to some of the most impressive and varied thermal phenomena in New Zealand, including the largest mud pool in the country, some oddly coloured crater lakes, and the Lady Knox Geyser.

8. Tauranga

Tauranga

As a result of its reputation as a warm and welcoming destination, Tauranga has quickly become one of New Zealand’s most populous and prosperous urban centres.

Tauranga, or “The Mount” as it is known by the locals, is New Zealand’s premier coastal town. It is on the eastern side of the North Island, and it has won the title of “New Zealand’s Best Beach” due to its beautiful shores and relaxed yet vibrant environment.

The city hosts a plethora of annual festivals, fairs, and other events, so there is always something to do and see. 

But don’t fret if tranquillity is more your speed. Find your own private piece of paradise on any of the kilometres of sandy beaches or nearby climbs. 

Or, head out to sea and see if you can spot some of the local marine life, such as dolphins, seals, penguins, and perhaps whales.

Climate 

Tauranga Climate

Tauranga has mild summers, and chilly, wet, and windy winters, with consistent cloudiness throughout the year. The annual average temperature is mild at 45 degrees and rarely drops below 37 degrees or rises beyond 79 degrees.

Sun-Lover Activities in Tauranga

Surfing 

Surfing

Mount Maunganui’s main beach has the gorgeous white sand you’d expect from an east coast beach. Due to the high volume of visitors, you should stay alert and watch out for other surfers and swimmers. 

You can catch a good right point break off the point at Moturiki Island, popularly known as the “blowhole,” at the south end of the beach, making this an excellent surfing site for surfers of all skill levels.

Up on the shore, there are a ton of surf shops, many of which provide discounts and surf hire in case you don’t bring your own equipment.

Hike Mount Maunganui 

Hike Mount Maunganui

One of the best walks in New Zealand is up Mount Maunganui, or Mauao as it is known locally, where you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the entire bay from nearly every vantage point. 

On top of that, it’s very neat to get to go on a climb on top of a dormant volcano.

Just be sure to pack appropriately for the short trip (approximately 10 minutes) from Tauranga to the trailhead. Your choice of several routes to the summit of Mauao will take roughly 40 minutes. 

Keep in mind that there is a 232-meter ascent to the peak, so pack some water and stop for rests under the trees if you get too hot.

9. Christchurch

Christchurch

Combining urban revitalization and innovation with legacy, culture, and adrenaline-pumping action, Christchurch stands out as one of the world’s most distinctive travel destinations.

In Christchurch, new, innovative structures contrast with the city’s haunting reminders of the 2011 earthquake that hit in February. 

Moreover, there are plenty of places to shop and trendy eateries where you may experience authentic New Zealand cuisine. There are also plenty of vast, breathtaking wilderness areas just waiting to be discovered outside the city.

Climate 

Christchurch Climate

Christchurch, on the east coast of the South Island, is a city with a split personality. Low 30s (high 80s) are not uncommon in the summer, whereas low 0s (or below) are common in the winter. 

A day in New Zealand can bring all four seasons. Sea breezes can bring welcome relief from the heat, but they can also bring sudden storms.

On the other hand, there are often fewer than six days of precipitation in either January or February, so you can look forward to even more days of scorching heat and dry weather.

Sun-Lover Activities in Christchurch 

Godley Head Trail Hike 

Godley Head Trail Hike

If you’re looking for a spot to go away from the bustle of Christchurch and into the wilderness, Godley Head is the place to go. It’s beautiful, and it’s home to one of the South Island’s top trails, the Godley Head Loop Track.

The distance of the Godley Head Loop Track is 9.3 kilometres, and it is estimated that it will take you 3 hours to walk the entire loop. The track offers stunning panoramas of Christchurch, the distant Kaikoura Ranges, the Banks Peninsula, and other WWII-era landmarks. 

The trailhead is located in Taylors’ Mistake Carpark, and not far into the hike, you’ll come across the foundations of some abandoned cave dwellings.

Other notable features to see are the gun platforms, observation posts, and the Godley Head coastal defence battery.

Christchurch Adventure Park 

Christchurch Adventure Park

If you want to go ziplining in New Zealand, you should definitely check out Christchurch Adventure Park. Multiple high-speed zip lines are available here, and riders may take in breathtaking panoramas of the Pacific Ocean and the Southern Alps. 

You can also go at high speeds on the zipline, which is great for seeing the scenery—if you can keep your eyes open.

Jetboating 

Jetboating

In addition to the adrenaline-pumping ziplining, Christchurch also offers thrilling jet boat rides on the Waimakariri River. 

For example, The Braided Blast is a 30-minute adventure tour around the gorge, and the Canyon Safari is an hour long and includes numerous 360-degree spins. By the way, some jet boats can travel as fast as 53 miles per hour.

FAQs for the Warmest Places in New Zealand