New Zealand Climate

Since the Maori people named New Zealand ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’, weather and climate has been of paramount importance to the people of New Zealand, many of whom make their living from the land.

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.

 

New Zealand Seasons

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 -10 C 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 north of New Zealand is subtropical and the south temperate. The warmest months are December, January and February, and the coldest June, July and August. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20-30ºC and in winter between 10-15ºC.

 

Average Temperatures and Rainfall

Auckland
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Min (°C) 16 17 15 13 11 8 8 8 10 11 13 15
Max (°C) 24 24 23 20 17 15 14 15 16 18 20 22
Min (°F) 61 63 59 55 52 46 46 46 50 52 55 59
Max (°F) 75 75 73 68 63 59 57 59 61 64 68 72
Prec.(mm) 80 95 80 95 125 135 145 115 100 100 90 80
Prec.(in) 3.1 3.7 3.1 3.7 4.9 5.3 5.7 4.5 3.9 3.9 3.5 3.1
Wellington
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Min (°C) 15 15 14 12 10 8 7 7 9 10 11 14
Max (°C) 21 21 20 17 15 13 12 13 15 16 18 20
Min (°F) 59 59 57 54 50 46 45 45 48 50 52 57
Max (°F) 70 70 68 63 59 55 54 55 59 61 64 68
Prec.(mm) 80 80 80 95 115 115 135 115 95 100 90 90
Prec.(in) 3.1 3.1 3.1 3.7 4.5 4.5 5.3 4.5 3.7 3.9 3.5 3.5
Christchurch
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Min (°C) 12 12 10 7 4 1 1 2 4 6 8 11
Max (°C) 23 22 20 17 14 12 11 12 15 17 19 21
Min (°F) 54 54 50 45 39 34 34 36 39 43 46 52
Max (°F) 73 72 68 63 57 54 52 54 59 63 66 70
Prec.(mm) 55 45 50 50 65 65 70 50 45 45 50 55
Prec.(in) 2.2 1.8 2 2 2.6 2.6 2.8 2 1.8 1.8 2 2.2
Invercargill
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Min (°C) 10 9 8 6 4 2 1 2 4 6 7 9
Max (°C) 19 19 17 15 12 10 10 11 13 14 16 18
Min (°F) 50 48 46 43 39 36 34 36 39 43 45 48
Max (°F) 66 66 63 59 54 50 50 52 55 57 61 64
Prec.(mm) 105 85 100 105 110 90 80 80 80 105 105 100
Prec.(in) 4.1 3.3 3.9 4.1 4.3 3.5 3.1 3.1 3.1 4.1 4.1 3.9

 

Weather Month-By-Month

Visiting New Zealand in January - February

The warm sunny days of summer make this an ideal time to visit, particularly for snorkeling or outdoor pursuits, but it can be harder to find accommodation. School vacations run into the first two weeks of January, while tourists arrive in large numbers to make the most of the warm climate until the end of February. It's also a great time to spot dolphins and fur seals off the cost of the South Island.

Events & Festivals

  • Marlborough Food and Wine Festival (February): This is New Zealand's longest running wine festival, right in the heart of the world-famous wine producing region.
  • Rugby Sevens in Wellington (January to February): Rugby Sevens lights up Wellington as thousands flock to watch the country's favorite sporting event.
  • Wellington Fringe Festival (February to March): Wellington Fringe Festival brings masses of entertainment in the form of music, comedy and theatre to venues across the city.
Visiting New Zealand in March - May

The arrival of autumn brings cooler days and quieter roads. While the weather will be more changeable, there is still a fantastic array of wildlife to be seen and the changing colors of the autumn leaves add a new dynamic. If you are happy with cooler weather then this is a great time to make the most of lower prices and fewer crowds.

Events & Festivals

  • Bluff Oyster Festival (May): This festival celebrates the season's oyster harvest with music, food and wine.
  • Warbirds over Wanaka air show (every other year over Easter weekend): This thrilling air show brings historic aircraft and modern fighter jets to the skies in the South Island
  • Wellington Fringe Festival (February to March): Wellington Fringe Festival brings masses of entertainment in the form of music, comedy and theatre to venues across the city.
Visiting New Zealand in June - July

The arrival of autumn brings cooler days and quieter roads. While the weather will be more changeable, there is still a fantastic array of wildlife to be seen and the changing colors of the autumn leaves add a new dynamic. If you are happy with cooler weather then this is a great time to make the most of lower prices and fewer crowds.

Visiting New Zealand in August

As winter continues, areas in the North Island such as Rotorua and the Bay of Islands remain relatively popular as they benefit from milder weather than the south. The South Island holds its own charms, though, as humpback whales pass by Kaikoura on their way north to warmer waters.

Visiting New Zealand in September - October

Temperatures begin to rise and snow on the mountains starts melting, making this a fantastic time for white water rafting as the rivers are full and fast. The weather is changeable, but as most tourists are yet to arrive the roads are quiet and accommodation is easier to secure. September is also a brilliant time to see newborn lambs gamboling in the fields and orcas gracing the coastline with their presence.

Visiting New Zealand in November December

The warmer weather isn't the only draw of the start to New Zealand's summer; stunning wild gorse and vibrantly colored lupins spread across the country, making it one of the most impressive times to visit. As peak season begins, prepare for busier attractions and book early to secure accommodation in the more remote areas.

Auckland
Friday
56°
shower rain
Clouds71%
Humidity81%
Wind18mph
Sat
Min50°
Max58°
Sun
Min51°
Max61°
Mon
Min50°
Max61°
Tue
Min51°
Max63°
Wellington
Friday
49°
scattered clouds
Clouds30%
Humidity87%
Wind5mph
Sat
Min46°
Max53°
Sun
Min53°
Max56°
Mon
Min55°
Max57°
Tue
Min55°
Max57°
Christchurch
Friday
51°
overcast clouds
Clouds100%
Humidity87%
Wind2mph
Sat
Min44°
Max54°
Sun
Min44°
Max55°
Mon
Min43°
Max60°
Tue
Min51°
Max65°
Queenstown
Friday
43°
overcast clouds
Clouds93%
Humidity77%
Wind4mph
Sat
Min37°
Max48°
Sun
Min39°
Max52°
Mon
Min39°
Max51°
Tue
Min45°
Max53°