New Zealand Climate and Weather

The climate and weather in New Zealand is very much governed by the mountains and surrounding seas that shape the daily weather patterns. New Zealand has a temperate climate, and as a result is extremely mild but very variable. New Zealand weather and climate is often being described as having "4 seasons in one day". As a result you should always come prepared for any weather condition. Bringing clothes that you can add to, or remove in layers is a great idea; and always pack a good waterproof anorak or jacket. Being prepared for large changes in weather is especially important if you are looking at doing outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling or kayaking.

New Zealand Rainfall

With New Zealand's prevailing westerly winds, the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand receives the highest rainfall, as the air climbs over the spectacular Southern Alps. It is no wonder that the Maori called New Zealand the "Land of the Long White Cloud". Further east the rainfall drops dramatically, resulting in relatively drier conditions. Rainfall is generally spread evenly throughout the year. Though in winter the North Island is generally a little wetter, and the South Island of New Zealand a little drier than the rest of the year. Annual rainfall varies between 640 mm and 1500 mm.

New Zealand Temperatures

Northland in the top of the North Island of New Zealand has a sub-tropical climate with warm, sunny days. Whereas along the south coast of the South Island, you may often experience the icy winds that blow up from the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. Generally temperatures are milder nearer to the ocean. However, over winter, inland areas of the South Island of New Zealand can experience severe frosts. Temperature year round average about 15 °C in the North Island of New Zealand; to about 9 °C along the southern coast of the South Island.

New Zealand Sunshine

Despite the variable weather conditions and high rainfall, most regions of New Zealand receive fairly high amounts of sunshine, with most areas receiving about 2,000 hours a year. New Zealand's sunniest regions are Marlborough and Nelson in the South Island; as well as the Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay that all receive about 2,350 hours of sunshine per year. Because of the lack of pollution, there is a very high level of UV light, even on cloudy days. So you take precautions to protect yourself by bringing a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen to protect yourself against sunburn, especially in summer.

During summer, New Zealand has day light saving. This means that it can remain light until about 9pm in the evening, during the summer months; giving you plenty of extra daylight hours to explore.

New Zealand Weather by Region

Below are figures for the average daily temperatures in each season, as well as the average monthly rainfall and monthly sunshine in each season.

 
Spring
Sep, Oct, Nov
Summer
Dec, Jan, Feb
Autumn (Fall)
Mar, Apr, May
Winter
Jun, Jul, Aug
Bay of Islands
Max
Min
Max
Min
Max
Min
Max
Min
Av Max/Min Temp °C
19
9
25
14
21
11
16
7
Av Monthly Rainy Days/ Rainfall
11/109mm
7/98mm
11/130mm
16/159mm
Av Monthly Hrs Sunshine
174
206
147 
128
Auckland
               
Av Max/Min Temp °C
18
11
24
12
20
13
15
9
Av Monthly Rainy Days/ Rainfall
12/100mm
8/77mm
11/101mm
15/135mm
Av Monthly Hrs Sunshine
172
218
161
132
Rotorua
               
Av Max/Min Temp °C
17
7
24
12
18
9
13
4
Av Monthly Rainy Days/ Rainfall
11/114mm
9/105mm
9/110mm
13/137mm
Av Monthly Hrs Sunshine
179
222
169
132
Napier
               
Av Max/Min Temp °C
19
9
23
14
20
10
14
5
Av Monthly Rainy Days/ Rainfall
7/59mm
6/55mm
7/74mm
9/80mm
Av Monthly Hrs Sunshine
198
225
170
140
Wellington
               
Av Max/Min Temp °C
15
9
20
13
17
11
12
6
Av Monthly Rainy Days/ Rainfall
11/105mm
7/73mm
10/103mm
13/135mm
Av Monthly Hrs Sunshine
186
227
158
117
Nelson
               
Av Max/Min Temp °C
17
7
22
13
18
8
13
2
Av Monthly Rainy Days/ Rainfall
9/82mm
7/68mm
7/80mm
8/87mm
Av Monthly Hrs Sunshine
208
247
191
157
Christchurch
               
Av Max/Min Temp °C
17
7
22
12
18
8
12
3
Av Monthly Rainy Days/ Rainfall
7/48mm
7/43mm
7/55mm
7/71mm
Av Monthly Hrs Sunshine
193
216
162
130
Queenstown
               
Av Max/Min Temp °C
16
5
22
10
16
6
10
1
Av Monthly Rainy Days/ Rainfall
9/79mm
8/71mm
8/81mm
7/73mm
Av Monthly Hrs Sunshine
185
220
140
94
Dunedin
               
Av Max/Min Temp °C
15
7
18
11
15
8
10
4
Av Monthly Rainy Days/ Rainfall
11/62mm
10/72mm
10/67mm
11/69mm
Av Monthly Hrs Sunshine
146
167
120
100