New Zealand Climate
Temperature, Averages, & Seasons
New Zealand has mild temperatures, moderately high rainfall, and many hours of sunshine throughout most of the country. New Zealand's climate is dominated by two main geographical features; the mountains and the sea
Tour in warm and sunshine
To fish for trout on the North Island
To play golf
To ski the Southern Alps
To trek the Milford Track
Best time to travel
November to April
October to April
All year round
July to October
November to April
New Zealand has a largely temperate climate. While the far north has subtropical weather during summer, and inland alpine areas of the South Island can be cold in winter, most of the country lies close to the coast, which means mild temperatures, moderate rainfall, and abundant sunshine. Because New Zealand lies in the Southern Hemisphere, the average temperature decreases as you travel south. The far north of the country has an average temperature of about 60 degrees, while the deep south has a cooler 45 degree average. January and February are the warmest months of the year, and July is the coldest.
Most places in New Zealand receive over 2000 hours of sunshine a year, with the sunniest areas — Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay and Nelson/Marlborough — receiving over 2350 hours. As New Zealand observes daylight saving, during summer months daylight can last until 9:00 pm. New Zealand experiences relatively little air pollution compared to many other countries, this makes the UV rays in the sunlight very strong during the summer months. 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 (11am — 4pm). While summer is sunnier than the other seasons, most regions in New Zealand have a relatively high proportion of sunlight during the winter months.
New Zealand’s average rainfall is high — between 640mm and 1500mm — 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’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.
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 fauna is evergreen, there are many introduced deciduous trees. Colorful changing leaves make autumn a scenic delight, especially in regions such as Central Otago and Hawke’s Bay, which are known for their autumn splendor.
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.
Spring lasts from September to November, and New Zealand’s spring weather can range from cold and frosty to quite hot. During spring, buds, blossoms, and other new growth bursts forth throughout the country and new born 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!
For mean daily temperatures and average rainfall information, the official New Zealand tourism website has the data provided by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.