New Zealand Weather and Climate

New Zealand lies between 37 and 47 degrees south of the Tropic of Capricorn and both North and South Islands of New Zealand essentially enjoy a temperate, maritime climate, weather and temperatures.

While the far north has subtropical weather during summer, and inland alpine areas of the South Island can be as cold as -10 C in winter, most of the country lies close to the coast which means mild temperatures, moderate rainfall and plentiful sunshine.

New Zealand lacks the extremes found in most continental climates and does not have a large temperature range. However, New Zealand weather can change unexpectedly and cold fronts or tropical cyclones can quickly appear. Because of this, you should be prepared for sudden changes in weather and temperature if you're going hiking or doing other outdoor activities.

New Zealand's seasons are...

  • Spring: September, October, November
  • Summer: December, January, February
  • Autumn: March, April, May
  • Winter: June, July, August

Most places in New Zealand receive over 2,000 hours of sunshine a year, with the sunniest areas - Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, Nelson and Marlborough receiving over 2,350 hours.

As New Zealand observes daylight saving, during summer months daylight can last up until 9.00 pm.

In high summer, the sunshine in New Zealand is really strong. You'll burn more easily here in New Zealand than anywhere in the Mediterranean.

There are three reasons why the sun in the Southern Hemisphere is so strong...

  1. There is less ozone here to block the UV rays that cause sunburn
  2. Earth's orbit takes it closer to the sun during the southern summer than during the northern summer
  3. There is less pollution in the southern-hemisphere to block the UV rays.

In order to avoid sunburn, visitors should wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats when they are in direct summer sunlight, especially in the heat of the day (11 am - 4 pm).

While summer is sunnier than the other seasons, most regions in New Zealand have a relatively high proportion of sunlight during the winter months.

  SPRING
Sep, Oct, Nov
SUMMER
Dec, Jan, Feb
AUTUMN
Mar, Apr, May
WINTER
Jun, Jul, Aug
Bay of Islands Temp (°C) 19°C/9°C 25°C/14°C 21°C/11°C 16°C/7°C
  Temp (°F) 67°F/48°F 76°F/56°F 70°F/52°F 61°F/45°F
  Raindays 11 7 11 16
Auckland Temp (°C) 18°C/11°C/td> 24°C/12°C 20°C/13°C 15°C/9°C
  Temp (°F) 65°F/52°F 75°F/54°F 68°F/55°F 59°F/48°F
  Raindays 12 8 11 15
Rotorua Temp (°C) 17°C/7°C 24°C/12°C 18°C/9°C 13°C/4°C
  Temp (°F) 63°F/45°F 75°F/54°F 65°F/48°F 55°F/39°F
  Raindays 11 9 9 13
Wellington Temp (°C) 15°C/9°C 20°C/13°C 17°C/11°C 12°C/6°C
  Temp (°F) 59°F/48°F 68°F/55°F 63°F/52°F 54°F/43°F
  Raindays 11 7 10 13
Christchurch Temp (°C) 17°C/7°C 22°C/12°C 18°C/8°C 12°C/3°C
  Temp (°F) 63°F/45°F 72°F/54°F 65°F/46°F 54°F/37°F
  Raindays 7 7 7 7
Queenstown Temp (°C) 16°C/5°C 22°C/10°C 16°C/6°C 10°C/1°C
  Temp (°F) 61°F/41°F 72°F/50°F 61°F/43°F 50°F/34°F
  Raindays 9 8 8 7

New Zealand's average annual rainfall is high, between 640 millimetres and 1500 millimetres and is evenly spread throughout the year. As well as producing areas of stunning native forest, this high rainfall makes New Zealand an ideal place for farming and horticulture.

Because New Zealand lies in the Southern Hemisphere, the average temperature decreases as you travel south. The north of New Zealand is subtropical and the south temperate. The warmest months are December, January and February, and the coldest June, July and August. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20 - 30ºC and in winter between 10 - 15ºC.

The islands of New Zealand lie between latitudes similar to those,of Seattle and Los Angeles and Queenstown lies at latitude 45 degrees south. Because of its position and because of its mountainous areas New Zealand has an amazing variety of climatic zones for such a small country. Precise, long term weather forecasting is somewhat difficult and If your stay is longer than 7 days then you will almost certainly experience sun, rain and wind.

The warmest time and usually the driest time is mid to late summer (January and February). Temperatures cool in May but throughout the winter months many days can be sunny with bright blue skies. With snow in the hills this is when South Island scenery is at its most stunning. The onset of spring (September to October) brings warmer temperatures but it can be wet, especially on the West Coast.

The fickle nature of South Island's weather is due to the frontal systems which move quickly from the west and up from the Southern Ocean. The lack of a continental influence means the weather can change dramatically and often within 24 hours.

New Zealand Weather Forecasting by Rock

CONDITION OF ROCK WEATHER FORECAST
Rock is wet Rain
Rock is dry No rain
Rock has a shadow Sunny
Rock has a white top Snow
Rolling stone (rock) Windy
Rock has gone Gale force wind
Rock is jumping up & down Earthquake

Visitors should be prepared for any weather!



"...modifying our visits to fit the weather of the moment"

"We expected to see your country in winter understandably limited by rain, cloud and snow. You went beyond mere weather watch by modifying our visits to fit the weather of the moment. We expected a tour of 'up to six' people in a small bus. Instead, you allowed us to see New Zealand through your loving eyes. We expected the best motel in a tiny town. Not so - we got beautifully appointed surroundings with the best cuisine"
- Cece & Charley Schoettlin, USA

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