Rotorua weather – when is the best time to visit?

by | Dec 8, 2021 | Rotorua

Rotorua weather is very changeable throughout the seasons, but luckily there are plenty of things to do no matter the weather.

To help you out we have put together some information about the Rotorua weather and our favourite things to do in each season.

Seasons in New Zealand:

  • Summer (Dec – Feb)
  • Autumn/Fall (Mar – May)
  • Winter (Jun – Aug)
  • Spring (Sep – Nov)

Rotorua weather from November through to March is the driest and warmest. This is also the peak season for tourism, so if you are going to visit during this time planning is key. Popular activities and accommodations can fill up quickly especially during New Zealand school holidays.

If you are visiting in off peak times you will still enjoy Rotorua, there are lots of things to do and see just make sure you bring some warm clothes and a rain jacket as Rotorua can have four seasons in one day!

rotorua weather summer adventures
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Photo: Summer is the perfect time to venture into the forest and experience Rotorua Canopy Tours.

Summer in Rotorua

December – February

Rotorua is prone to having rain throughout the summer and we sometimes have warm but very wet summers.

  • The daytime temperature ranges from 21°C – 29°C (69°F – 84°F).
  • On average, there is 105mm of rainfall each summer.
  • 68-72% humidity during summer
  • Approx. 14hrs daylight each day during Autumn.
  • February is the warmest and driest month of the year.


Summer essentials:

  • Swimwear – there are 18 lakes in the Rotorua region and the ocean (and great swimming beaches) are less than an hours drive away.
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen (NZ has strong UV rays and if you are not protected you will be crispy bacon in no time!).
  • Jandals (also known as Flip flops or thongs).
  • Closed toed footwear (this is key for lots of adventure activities and ideal for walks).


What to do in Summer:

Summer in Rotorua is great, there are 18 lakes in the district with some awesome swimming spots.
Rotorua is known for having lots to do in the outdoors, with long days this means you can pack many activities into one day. Summer is the busiest time of the year to come to Rotorua so remember to book activities and accommodation in advance.


Our top 3 summer must do’s:

  1. Rotorua Canopy Tours is fun no matter the weather! Booking are essential, Canopy Tours is a popular activity and it books out quickly.
  2. The Blue Lake is a must do in summer – go for a walk around the lake or go for a swim.
  3. Rotorua Redwoods is the best place to get a bit of shade from the hot sun – try out their many walking or biking tracks!
Ogo in Autumn in Rotorua
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Photo: Rotorua weather in autumn is perfect for a roll with Zorb. 

Autumn Rotorua weather

March – May

Temperatures start to drop in Autumn, March and May are also known to be the wettest months. Don’t let that stop you, there are plenty of things to do in Rotorua on a rainy day!

  • The daytime temperature ranges from 15°C – 26°C (59°F – 78°F).
  • On average, there is 110mm of rainfall each Autumn.
  • 68-72% humidity during Autumn.
  • Approx. 11hrs daylight each day during Autumn.
  • March is the wettest of the year.


Autumn essentials:

  • Swimwear – the lakes and ocean stay warm enough for a dip well into Autumn.
  • Warm clothes (it starts to get cold at night in Autumn).
  • Rain jacket.
  • Closed toed footwear (this is key for lots of adventure activities and ideal for walks).


What to do in Autumn:

Autumn in Rotorua is a lot about enjoying the outdoors while the Rotorua weather is still ok. Mountain biking is big in Rotorua and lots of professional riders are about for the Crankworx festival.

The water temperature in the lakes is usually still warm enough for a dip in early Autumn too.


Our top 3 autumn must do’s:

  1. Crankworx international bike festival takes place in March-April just across the road from Rotorua Canopy Tours. The top mountain bike riders come from all over the world and are well worth a watch.
  2. Rotorua has some of the best mountain biking in the world, from beginners through to professionals there is something for everyone. You can hire bikes from Mountain Bike Rotorua.
  3. Zorb – roll down a hill in a giant inflatable ball! So much fun you will laugh so hard you stomach will be sore for days!
Rotorua weather in winter
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Photo: Soaking in natural hot pools is a must do in Rotorua. It’s the perfect way to relax during winter.

Rotorua in winter

June – August

Rotorua weather is cold and usually wet in winter. It is normally not quite cold enough to snow but it can snow occasionally in some elevated areas.

  • The daytime temperature ranges from 9°C – 16°C (48°F – 60°F).
  • On average, there is 137mm of rainfall each winter.
  • 87-84% humidity during winter.
  • Approx. 10hrs daylight each day during winter.
  • August is the coldest month of the year.


Winter essentials:

  • Warm clothes
  • Warm socks
  • Warm hats
  • More warm clothes
  • Swimwear/ Togs (seems weird but a hot soak in a natural hot pool is amazing in Winter!)


What to do in winter:

Rotorua is well known for its geothermal activity and there is something really special about sitting in natures hot tub when it is freezing cold outside! There are plenty to choose from in Rotorua and all a little different. Choose from luxury pools at the Polynesian spa to free natural pools in the middle of a river. Take your pick, but don’t leave till you have tried at least one!


Our top 3 winter must do’s:

  1. Rotorua Canopy Tours is great in the winter and the tours run in all weather. If its raining you will be given wet weather great to keep you nice and dry.
  2. Check out the Deluxe Lake Spa at Polynesian Spa. Don’t worry about towels, they are all included in the price. Book Canopy Tours and Polynesian Spa together in the Zip and Soak combo and save $10 per person.
  3. Kerosene Creek is a natural hot pool just out of Rotorua. Sit in the river under a hot waterfall and relax. Make sure valuables are out of site and you lock your car when taking a dip at these pools.
spring rotorua weather - enjoy night markets
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Photo: Support local and head down to the night markets in Rotorua for a bite to eat. 

Spring in Rotorua

September – November

The weather in Rotorua during spring is pleasant. Temperatures start to rise during spring and the days become a little bit longer.

  • The daytime temperature ranges from 13°C – 21°C (55°F – 69°F).
  • On average, there is 114mm of rainfall each spring.
  • 69-78% humidity during spring.
  • Approx. 12.5hrs daylight each day during spring.


Spring essentials:

  • Swimwear (or togs as we call them).
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen (NZ has strong UV rays and if you are not protected you will be crispy bacon in no time!)
  • Jandals (also known as Flip flops or thongs).
  • Rain Jacket


What to do in spring:

The days get longer in spring so you can get a few activities in in one day. Rotorua weather in spring is also warming up so its a great time to get outside.

Rotorua weather can change quickly during spring, don’t get caught out. Always take a warm layer with you and a rain jacket if you are planning some outdoor adventures.


Our top 3 spring must do’s:

  1. If you are in Rotorua on a Thursday evening, head to the Rotorua night markets for dinner (and dessert). There is a massive range of food available and it is reasonable prices so you can try a few different dishes.
  2. Rotorua Tulip Festival runs for a few days during the start of October. Check out Rotorua’s beautiful gardens and take part in some of the events they have running throughout the festival.
  3. Whitewater rafting is so much fun. Go with River Rats and raft the Kaituna. During this trip you will raft down a 7 metre waterfall, highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world!

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