Climate and monthly weather forecast
New Zealand

Flag of New Zealand
Flag of New Zealand

The climate of New Zealand

New Zealand has a predominantly oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb). A few regions exhibit a subpolar oceanic climate (Köppen Cfc), while mountain tops fall under subarctic (Köppen Dfc) and tundra (Köppen ET) zones. New Zealand lies in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, 1200 miles southeast of Australia. The country consists of two main islands, the North Island and the South Island, and numerous small islands. The west coast of the South Island is exceptionally wet, while Central Otago and Canterbury's interior are semi-arid. The far north of the North Island is sub-tropical. The temperate latitudes, prevailing westerly winds, and proximity to the Pacific Ocean chiefly influence the climate. Mountain ranges are a significant factor in climate variations between various locations.

New Zealand lies 42°S of the equator and south of the Tropic of Capricorn. The country has a 990-mile long, and 250-mile narrow, northeast-southwest orientation. The vast coastline extends over 9300 miles. The exclusive economic zone, along with far-flung outlying islands, is 15 times the land area. The snow-capped Southern Alps run north-south in the largest landmass of the country, the South Island. At least 18 mountain peaks in the Southern Alps are over 3000 meters high. Fiord-like sounds, such as the Milford Sound, dominate the southwest. The Cook Strait separates the North and South islands. The North Island consists of a large volcanic plateau, with Mount Ruapehu as its highest mountain at 2797 meters. Sandy beaches dominate the far northern coasts. Lake Taupo, the country's largest lake, lies in the caldera of the Taupo volcano. The highest point in New Zealand is Mount Cook at 3724 meters.

The best time to visit New Zealand

The best time to visit New Zealand is during the summer from December to March. The conditions are warm and pleasant on the North Island, with clear skies and low humidity. The South Island is cool and comfortable in the summer. The average temperatures are in the warm 10°C (50°F) to 21.1°C (70°F) range and rarely go above 30°C (86°F). The daily sunshine lasts between 6 hours and 8 hours during the long summer days. The precipitation is relatively low, and there is ample sunshine for sunbathing on the sandy beaches. However, there is a possibility of tropical cyclones between January and March.

The worst time to visit New Zealand

The worst time to visit New Zealand is during the winter from June to August. Although freezing temperatures are rare, nights remain below 4.4°C (39.9°F) in many regions. July registers 1.1°C (34°F) in Christchurch and -2.2°C (28°F) in Alexandra. The average seawater temperatures are cold and register below 10°C (50°F). The daily sunshine is less between 3 hours and 5 hours, and the days are short. Rain, frost, and snow affect outdoor trips. The North Island has relatively warm temperatures than the South Island in the winter. Snowstorms occur during the winter, but ski-enthusiasts and snow lovers like the cold season.

Spring weather in New Zealand

The advent of spring in New Zealand, which falls between September to November, sees a mild climate with temperatures often varying between 16°C (60.8°F) and 19°C (66.2°F). This season is marked by alternating periods of rainfall and sunshine. The nature bursts into life, with colourful flowers painting the landscape and making it an excellent time for outdoor exploration. However, spring weather can be quite unpredictable, and sudden changes in temperature are not uncommon.

Summer weather in New Zealand

The summer in New Zealand, from December to February, brings average temperatures from 15.6°C (60.1°F) to 23.9°C (75°F) in the plains. The Foehn winds contribute to a spike in temperatures in the eastern part of the South Island. Despite being warm, the ultraviolet index is high due to low air pollution, necessitating sun protection. The days are longer, with about six to eight hours of daily sunshine. Despite its warmth, the threat of tropical cyclones lingers between January and March.

Autumn weather in New Zealand

Autumn, from March to May, presents a mild to cold climate in New Zealand, with a noticeable rise in precipitation. Temperatures begin to dip, gradually shifting from the summer warmth to winter chills. Despite the colder weather, the scenery becomes particularly breathtaking with the change in foliage colours. This period is marked by increased rainfall, contributing to the freshness of the surrounding nature.

Winter weather in New Zealand

Winter in New Zealand lasts from June to August and is generally cold, with temperatures from 7.2°C (45°F) to 15.6°C (60.1°F) in the lowlands. The South Island experiences a more severe winter compared to the North Island. This season is marked by frequent snowfall, primarily in the high mountains and interior regions. While these conditions may hinder outdoor activities, it becomes a haven for ski-enthusiasts and snow lovers. However, daylight becomes scarce, with only three to five hours of sunshine in a day.

Weather in January

January marks the peak of summer in New Zealand, experiencing some of the highest temperatures of the year. The North Island, particularly in regions such as Auckland and Wellington, enjoys an average temperature of 20°C (68°F), while the South Island experiences slightly cooler conditions, with average temperatures around 16°C (60.8°F) in cities such as Christchurch and Dunedin. In terms of geographical variations, the far north of the North Island tends to have sub-tropical weather conditions, characterized by warmer temperatures and higher humidity. Weather in January »

Weather in February

February in New Zealand carries forward the summer warmth from January, with temperatures fluctuating within a similar range. The average temperature in the North Island regions such as Auckland and Wellington maintains around 20°C (68°F), while the South Island cities like Christchurch and Dunedin exhibit a slightly lower average temperature near 16°C (60.8°F). The far north of the North Island continues to embrace a sub-tropical climate with higher temperatures and humidity. Weather in February »

Weather in March

March in New Zealand signals the start of the autumn season, with a subtle decrease in temperatures when compared to the summer months of January and February. In the North Island, in regions such as Auckland and Wellington, the average temperature is about 18°C (64.4°F). Weather in March »

Weather in April

As autumn deepens in New Zealand, April experiences a more significant drop in temperatures compared to the preceding month. In the North Island, regions such as Auckland and Wellington see average temperatures decrease to about 15°C (59°F). Weather in April »

Weather in May

In May, New Zealand embraces the full onset of autumn and the approach of winter. In the North Island, regions including Auckland and Wellington observe average temperatures dropping to approximately 13°C (55.4°F). The South Island's cities, namely Christchurch and Dunedin, witness colder conditions with average temperatures around 9°C (48.2°F). The far north of the North Island sees the fading of its usually warm, sub-tropical climate, with temperatures shifting towards cooler averages. Weather in May »

Weather in June

June introduces winter to New Zealand, with temperatures dropping further across the country. In the North Island, cities like Auckland and Wellington experience average temperatures decreasing to about 11°C (51.8°F). The South Island's areas, such as Christchurch and Dunedin, endure colder weather, with average temperatures declining to approximately 7°C (44.6°F). The far north of the North Island feels the absence of its typical sub-tropical warmth, with temperatures nearing the lower limit of temperate averages. Weather in June »

Weather in July

July, the peak of winter in New Zealand, witnesses the coldest temperatures of the year. The North Island's cities, including Auckland and Wellington, experience average temperatures of about 10°C (50°F). In the South Island's regions, such as Christchurch and Dunedin, average temperatures decline to approximately 6°C (42.8°F). The far north of the North Island moves away from its typical sub-tropical conditions, with average temperatures near the lower end of the temperate range. Weather in July »

Weather in August

In August, the last of New Zealand's winter months, temperatures begin a slow ascent. In the North Island's cities, such as Auckland and Wellington, average temperatures rise to about 11°C (51.8°F). In contrast, the South Island's regions, including Christchurch and Dunedin, experience a slight increase in average temperatures to approximately 7°C (44.6°F). The far north of the North Island begins to see the return of warmer conditions, although temperatures remain in the lower ranges of the temperate climate. Weather in August »

Weather in September

September ushers in the spring season in New Zealand, with temperatures gradually increasing across the country. Cities on the North Island, such as Auckland and Wellington, enjoy average temperatures around 13°C (55.4°F), a rise from the cooler winter months. Weather in September »

Weather in October

October brings further warmth as spring progresses in New Zealand. Cities on the North Island, such as Auckland and Wellington, see average temperatures rising to about 15°C (59°F), marking a significant increase from the earlier months. Weather in October »

Weather in November

November in New Zealand marks the end of spring and the onset of early summer. Cities on the North Island, including Auckland and Wellington, witness average temperatures rising to about 17°C (62.6°F). Concurrently, regions on the South Island, such as Christchurch and Dunedin, welcome average temperatures of approximately 14°C (57.2°F), reflecting a noticeable warmth compared to the cooler months of the year. The far north of the North Island revels in a more pronounced sub-tropical climate as temperatures increase further. Weather in November »

Weather in December

December in New Zealand signals the arrival of full summer, with all parts of the country witnessing a notable escalation in temperatures. On the North Island, cities such as Auckland and Wellington experience average temperatures around 20°C (68°F), a marked contrast to the milder temperatures seen in spring. Weather in December »

New Zealand

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