The copper skink is one of the more common and widespread of the New Zealand lizards. The species is widely dispersed in the Wellington and Wairarapa areas but there are few reports from the area between there and the southern shores of Lake Taupo. From Taupo north there are numerous reports from the North Island and offshore islands. The exception is high altitude areas of the central North Island. High altitude areas may be beyond the physiological tolerance of the species but other apparent gaps in range are probably a reflection of relative survey effort.
Copper skinks co-exist with McGregor's skinks on Mana Island, with ornate skinks on Kapiti Island, the main North Island and many of the northern offshore islands (except the Mercury Islands) and with marbled skinks on Great Barrier and Little Barrier Islands and in the Alderman Islands. The highest sympatric diversity of Cyclodina skinks is in the Mercury Islands, where copper skinks coexist with marbled skinks, robust skinks and Whitaker's skinks.