Weather and Climate

The name ‘Aotearoa’ meaning ‘Land of the long white cloud’, which was given to New Zealand by the Maori People, is highly accurate of the weather in New Zealand.  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 as cold as -10C (14ºF) in winter, most of the country lies close to the coast, which means mild temperatures, moderate rainfall and abundant sunshine.

New Zealand’s weather can change unexpectedly— as cold fronts or tropical cyclones quickly blow in, hence the popular saying “four seasons in one day”. Because of this, you should be prepared for sudden changes in weather and temperature if you’re going hiking or doing other outdoor activities.

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

The warmest months are December, January and February, bringing high temperatures and sunshine. Days are long and sunny, nights are mild. Summer is an excellent time for hiking and exploring New Zealand’s beaches and lakes. Average temperature ranges between 20 – 30ºC (68 – 86ºF)

March, April and May are New Zealand’s autumn months. These months bring slightly cooler temperatures than the summer months but the weather can be the most settled. The summer holidays are over for most so this makes this time of year the best time to travel. In Hawkes Bay and Central Otago autumn is a spectacular sight, the deciduous trees colour up the landscape making the countryside glow.  Average temperature ranges between 16-21°C (61-70°F).

The coldest months are June, July and August, New Zealand’s winter months.  The Southern Alps provide some of the southern hemispheres best skiing and snowboarding. Winter is an excellent time to visit areas of scenic beauty as these areas may experience little rainfall in winter.  Average temperature ranges between 10 – 15ºC (50 – 59ºF).

Spring lasts from September to November, and the weather can range from cold and frosty to warm and hot. There is a lot of new life around; spring flowers fill the fields, new lambs bounce around the paddocks and there is a sense of excitement as the days get longer and warmer.  If you’re into white water rafting, this is the time the real thrill seekers get into the rafts as the melting snow makes river levels high and fast!  Average temperature range between 15 -18°C (58-65°F).

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

Important Note – Sunburn
The UV rays in our sunlight very strong during the summer months compared to many other countries.  In order to avoid sunburn, everyone should wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats when they are in direct summer sunlight, especially in the heat of the day (11 am – 4 pm).

The Complimentary “Essential New Zealand” Book
Once you have booked and become an Absolute New Zealand client, we forward you a free copy of “Essential New Zealand”, this easy to read, 50 page book has been 10 years in the making and covers everything you need to know and more, before you leave home and whilst you are traveling. Smoothing your way for a perfect holiday. Incorporating comprehensive sections on – what to do before you leave, suggested packing, vital documentation, money and medical matters, driving on the left, safety in New Zealand and much much more.

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