The climate of New Zealand
The largest part of New Zealand has a pleasant sea climate. Type Cf
according to the Köppen climate classification. New Zealand has mild
winters and warm summers. The most northern part of New Zealand is
said to have a subtropical climate, but this is incorrect. The higher
regions, especially those on the south island, have a land climate.
The highest summits have a high mountain climate. On the highest
mountaintops there is even (everlasting) snow. Summers and winters are
much colder here. Several ski trails can be enjoyed during the winter
months from June to early October. New Zealand is a sunny country. The
amount of hours of sunshine is 2000 on average per year. Some areas
even get 2300-2400 hours of sunshine per year. The hours of sunshine
are quite evenly distributed over the year. During the summer there
are more hours of sunshine than in winter, but on a relative basis
there are minor differences.
New Zealand has a lot of differences in altitude and
because of this there are also a lot of differences in precipitation.
The western part of the south island has more precipitation than the
eastern side. The reason for this are rain clouds that come from
depressions over the Tasman Sea. Rain fall is spread out over the
entire year. However during the summer (November to March) there is
less rain than in winter. Because New Zealand is located in the
southern hemisphere seasons are exactly opposite of ours. When autumn
falls in New Zealand, spring will start in the Netherlands and the
other way around. When you travel further south you notice that you go
farther from the equator. As opposed to the northern hemisphere
temperatures are lower the further south you move.
Climate information of places and areas in New Zealand
The climate information on this page is only brief. Specific
information about weather and climate can be found on the climate
pages per area or town. As for New Zealand the following climate
information is available:
New Zealand’s summers
New Zealand’s summers are pleasantly warm with temperatures rarely too
high. In the mountains temperatures are lower, which is pleasant when
the coastal areas get too warm/sultry. During the daytime temperatures
will be between 21 degrees Celsius to 28 degrees Celsius throughout
the summer with local deviations. In the eastern part temperatures may
rise as high as or even over 30 degrees Celsius. Temperatures will not
get as high as 40 degrees Celsius as they can be in the neighboring
country of Australia. During the summer months there can be large
differences in temperature and weather within a small distance. While
the coastal areas may have pleasant sunny weather about 100 kilometers
inland temperatures can be 10-15 degrees Celsius cooler. Especially in
the higher regions and during rain fall. This mostly happens on the
western side of the mountains and in the northern parts of the
New Zealand’s winter months vary from mild and sunny to cold and
wintry in New Zealand’s highest regions. During the winter the
snow-line lies at about 500-600 meters. Snow fall in the lower regions
of the south island is not uncommon. Especially the lower parts of the
eastern side of the south island have a few snowy days a year. The
large amounts of snow that can fall in little time in the higher
regions can lead to serious inconvenience. Everlasting snow can be
found from 2000 meters up on the south island and from 2500 meters up
on the north island. The white layer that can be found here hardly
melts during the summer so its landscape is always white.
Unpredictable and variable
New Zealand’s weather can be very unpredictable and variable. Inlands
weather may change several times a day. This is where the phrase ‘Four
seasons in one day” comes from. Weather is variable throughout the
year especially inland and in the western areas. It is quite possible
that one day is pleasant and sunny with temperatures of 24 degrees
Celsius and the next day temperatures hardly reach a temperature of 12
degrees Celsius with large amounts of rain, hail and wind. Whoever
travels to New Zealand should take all of the weather conditions into
account. If you plan to go backpacking in New Zealand you should take
warm clothes as well as summer clothes. During spring and autumn
weather is the most unpredictable. During a round trip a difference in
temperature of 30 degrees Celsius is not uncommon.
Hurricanes are very rare in New Zealand. The Islands are too far south
in relation to the route of hurricanes and tropical depressions.
Sometimes a hurricane can wander off in the direction of New Zealand.
The northern part is the area that is most likely to get hit then.
Inconvenience is often limited to gale force winds. Hurricanes are
likely to have lost most of their power before they even reach New
The figures below are based on long term weather and climate
records and are an average for New Zealand. Note that local deviations
may occur. The higher regions are colder during the winter.
Temperatures on the South Island are lower on average than those on
the North Island. The western part of the South Island and the central
part of the North Island which is higher in altitude are wetter than
climate figures below show.
More climate information
Climate tables are useful but they don’t give an overall picture of
the climate and possible weather conditions during a period of time.
How high the chances are of hot or cold weather or hurricanes can
often not be found in these tables. This is why we offer extra climate
information per month. The information below is an average for New
Zealand, but it should be noted that local deviations may occur.
Chances of wintry weather are higher in the mountains and on the coast
close to nil, especially on the North Island. The UV index is slightly
lower in the south. Chances of warm weather are slightly lower as well
The information at this site was carefully composed from climate data collected by meteorological services, meteorological offices, climate experts and other sources. “More climate info” is based on statistics, climate data and personal experience. No rights can be derived from this site. Weather has no memory and gives no guaranties. Nothing is as changeable and unpredictable as the weather. The authors of this site feel in no way responsible for any damages caused by misinterpretation or other circumstances that may influence your holiday or trip to a certain destination. We provide information, it’s up to the reader to use it to it’s benefit.