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New Zealand's Climate & Weather

New Zealand's Climate & Weather

"FOUR SEASONS IN ONE DAY"

New Zealand's extreme variations in landforms are a result of exactly fifteen distinctively different climatic environments and can result in fast weather changes.

Not many countries, especially those in the tropics, get to experience literally ’4-seasons in a day’. Wake up to spring temperatures and experience summer heat in the early afternoon, autumn winds in the late afternoon, and winter chill at night.

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Facts

  • In Southland, the winter average is around 1°C, while the mountainous regions of the Alps and the Central North Island are colder with good snowfall
  • Summers are rarely too hot or winters too cold - The oceanic climate prevents sometimes extreme climate conditions but the weather is very changeable and often windy
  • Northland's average summer temperatures are around 25°C, and in the winter seldom drop below 10°C
  • Most areas receive over 2,000 hours of sunshine
  • New Zealand is the first place in the world to see the sun
  • January and February are normally the warmest months; June and July usually have the coldest days

New Zealand Rainfall 
New Zealand's average rainfall is high—between 640 millimetres and 1500 millimetres—and 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.

New Zealand Summer
New Zealand's summer months are December to February, bringing high temperatures and sunshine. Days are long and sunny, nights are mild. Summer is an excellent time for walking in the bush and a variety of other outdoor activities. New Zealand's many gorgeous beaches are ideal for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, boating, and water sports during summer. Average summer temperature is around 15 degrees Celsius in the South Island and 23 in the North Island.

New Zealand Autumn
March to May are New Zealand's autumn months. While temperatures are a little cooler than summer, the weather can be excellent, and it is possible to swim in some places until April. While New Zealand's native flora is evergreen, there are many introduced deciduous trees. Colourful changing leaves make autumn a scenic delight, especially in regions such as Central Otago and Hawke's Bay, which are known for their autumn splendour.

New Zealand Winter
New Zealand's winter months of June to August bring colder weather to much of the country and more rain to most areas in the North Island. Mountain ranges in both islands become snow-covered providing beautiful vistas and excellent skiing. While the South Island has cooler winter temperatures, some areas of the island experience little rainfall in winter so this is an excellent time to visit glaciers, mountains, and other areas of scenic beauty. Average winter temperature is around 9 degrees Celsius in the South Island and 13 in the North Island.

New Zealand Spring 
Spring lasts from September to November, and New Zealand's spring weather can range from cold and frosty to warm and hot. During spring, buds, blossoms, and other new growth burst forth throughout the country and newborn lambs frolic in the fields just before dusk. Both Alexandra in Central Otago and Hastings in Hawke's Bay celebrate spring with a blossom festival. If you're into white water rafting, this is the time when melting spring snow makes river water levels excitingly high!

Clothes 
Apart from the big cities, New Zealand is a very casual country and the weather can be unpredictable. Bring comfortable shoes and casual clothes that you can wear in layers (shorts and t-shirts, sweaters and a waterproof jacket). 

The New Zealand dress code is pretty much a reflection of the casual Kiwi lifestyle. Living the good life in New Zealand means dressing informally. This easy-going lifestyle is exemplified by the popular, sizzling backyard barbecue. To dress ‘a la mode’ in this situation requires nothing more than t-shirts/shirt/blouse, jeans/trousers/shorts, sandals/casual shoes/jandals(thongs). Basically, it’s whatever you feel comfortable in. Dining in exclusive restaurants, attending functions, balls and cocktail parties requires a higher standard of attire, but dark business suits and stylish evening dresses or trouser suits fit most occasions. 

In summer a light jacket or sweater should be included in your luggage should the weather turn cooler or if you visit higher altitudes. You can expect some rain, so include a light rainproof jacket or coat. If visiting between May and September pack warm winter garments and layer your clothing. Specific outdoor clothing (down jackets) is favourable city clothing in most places. It is very important to bring some kind of hiking boots, as even short walks in the more wilderness areas can be wet and muddy.