March is a lovely month to spend time outdoors enjoying New Zealand. We’ll cover tips to help you get the most out of your March getaway, what to expect from the weather, what festivals and events are happening, and what activities are popular in March.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has stymied international travel and canceled many events and festivals, there are still many things to do and see in New Zealand. It’s always a good idea to double-check with your destination for all the pertinent details.
March Weather in New Zealand
March marks the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. While it won’t be blisteringly hot, the sun’s rays can still damage you, so don’t forget the sunscreen. The water temperature can still be as warm as 22 degrees Celcius, so it’s still warm enough to swim. Of course, the farther south you travel, the cooler it will start to get by March.
With days becoming cooler and water retaining its summer heat, the water might feel warmer than the air. You can expect chilly mornings and evenings. If you are hiking in the mountains, the weather can be changeable, so pack a jumper too. Dressing in layers is the best way to ensure you’ll stay comfortable for the warmer afternoons and cooler evenings.
This lovely mix of changing temperatures and switching seasons makes March an excellent time for all sorts of activities. Walking, in particular, is lovely in March, as is pretty much any outdoor activity. If you’re looking for the perfect time to get out and explore your beautiful home country, March is the perfect time to go.
March marks the beginning of the end of the busy summer season–things begin to slow down a bit. But there’s still plenty to see and do, and the weather is just fabulous, so it’s not surprising that popular locations and attractions are still booked up. If your plans take you to the hotspots, like Lake Tekapo or Milford Sound, you’ll want to make your reservations early.
March 2021 Festivals
If you are looking for a guide to New Zealand in March 2021, there are several festivals in March that you are sure to enjoy. While some festivals have been canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, others are being held as planned with appropriate social distancing.
Of course, the biggest news on the North Island is the America’s Cup yacht races being held in Auckland this month. These modern, space-age AC75 yachts are filled with cutting-edge technology, and their foiling hull allows them to reach breakneck speeds of over 50 knots! You can visit the Race Village for merchandise and to try your hand at a realistic AC75 simulator and you can root for the Kiwis on live feeds at local venues around Auckland.
The Wildfoods Festival in Hokitika will be held on March 13th. This festival is popular for its unusual foods. If you are ready to give your taste buds an adventure, check it out! Rotten logs are chopped on-site to give you a taste of huhu grubs. You can also try chicken feet, crocodile bites, and earthworms. Several items are too cringeworthy to list! Create an alter ego and enter the feral fashion competition. Of course, there will be musical entertainment too.
From March 16th to March 20th, enjoy Balloons Over Waikato in Hamilton. During the festival, you can walk through a balloon. Don’t miss the Base Basket Burn on Friday night, where you can listen to live music and gather around the basket burn. The ZURU Nightglow is the star of the festival. Listen to live music and watch the hot air balloons light up the sky! The festival ends with spectacular fireworks.
On March 27th and 28th, take part in the CubaDupa street festival in Wellington. This event is free and family-friendly, so bring the kids. CubaDupa celebrates the spirit of Te Whanganui-a-Tara. Watch street theatre, bands, parades, and dance in the street. Over 100 food vendors will be on hand to keep you full and happy.
Keep an eye out for other popular festivals rescheduling for April or later in the winter or coming back next year.
A Guide to New Zealand in March 2021 — Activities
March is a great month to go on a winery tour. There’s something delightful about visiting wineries, and the change of seasons makes it even more romantic. In March, vineyards are boasting plump, ripe grapes.
On North Island, visit the Hawke’s Bay area and enjoy dramatic scenery, wine tastings, and tours. There are also plenty of deciduous trees in the Hawke’s Bay region, so you may enjoy some autumn colors.
On South Island, visit the Marlborough region’s wineries. This is also a great place to walk or mountain bike. At the end of the day, cuddle up and enjoy a glass of your favorite wine under the starry sky.
If you are looking to get a final beach trip before winter, the water should still be warm enough to swim in. Doubtless Bay will still be experiencing subtropical weather, and you can check out the quiet beaches.
Hiking and walking are great activities to do in March. The weather should be just right for getting outdoors and enjoying the trails. Wanaka is one of the more popular places to go hiking and enjoy panoramic views of the Southern Alps.
Native trees are all evergreen, but there are areas where you can watch the leaves change colour. If you’re looking for autumn colours, check out Hawkes Bay, North Island, or Central Otago, South Island.
It’s also the perfect time of year to knock some of those big sightseeing trips off of your bucket list. Maybe somewhere on the South Island, with spectacular scenery like Fiordland or Mount Cook? Or perhaps the remote areas of the Bay of Islands or the Bay of Plenty coast on the North Island? Or perhaps take that Lord of the Rings tour you’ve always wondered about? There’s a lot to do close to home, and now’s the perfect time to explore.
If you visit Central Otago, you might want to bring your bike and bike the 150-kilometer long Otago Central Rail Trail. Since the weather is usually warm but not too hot, and the humidity is often low, March is a great time to enjoy mountain biking in New Zealand.
New Zealand is full of beautiful things to do year-round, but March is magnificent. The trees are changing, and the hot summer days are just starting to cool off a bit. 2020 and 2021 have been rough years with the coronavirus pandemic keeping many people at home, but the future is looking bright, and there’s never been a better time to tour your own backyard. Less international tourism means fewer crowds and more freedom to explore your own gorgeous country.