PDF Print E-mail
New Zealand boasts some fantastic weather, as portrayed in promotional photos and in movies such as, The Lord of the Rings.  The reality is that it is not always going to be that way. Due to New Zealand’s island make up, we have a temperate and therefore very changeable climate. Four seasons in one day is a common phrase here in New Zealand.  The seasons are the reverse of the northern hemisphere, with our hottest periods in December, January and February and the coldest time in June, July and August.  The autumn (Fall) period is March, April and May, for those hunters amongst you.

Due to the predominant westerly air flow, the western regions are a lot wetter than the eastern side.  The central axis of mountains traps the rain and snow as it moves across the country. You can have a cloudless day of 20 – 25 degrees Celsius, (75 degrees Fahrenheit)   until a southerly front sweeps up from the Antarctic Ocean and temperatures plummet by 10 – 15 degrees Celsius.  The next day could again be clear and warm.

The west coast of the South Island has some of the highest rainfall in the world - 25 mm per hour (1” an hour) all day, yet only a few kilometres away over the Alps very little rain falls. Our snow is generally a lot wetter than that in continental climates, so suitable clothing is required for your comfort.

With high precipitation rates mixing with very cold air flows, the higher regions can get massive snow dumps which create extreme avalanche conditions in certain locations.  Also high winds can deposit snow creating unstable conditions.

Very strong winds can be a factor in many regions, frequently reaching gale – storm force.  All mountain huts are securely tied down.

This potential change in conditions means that people venturing into the outdoors need to be prepared for all conditions, especially in the higher, open mountain areas.  Therefore, suitable clothing is a must.  Refer to clothing & equipment lists.

Weather links:


Average monthly recordings:

Month High
86F / 30°C 41F / 5°C   July
57F / 13°C 26F / -3°C
83F / 28°C 41F / 5°C   August
65F / 18°C 26F / -3°C
81F / 27°C 37F / 2°C   September
70F / 21°C 30F / -1°C
76F / 24°C 33F / 0°C   October
76F / 24°C 32F / 0°C
69F / 20°C 29F / -1°C   November
79F / 26°C 36F / 1°C
59F / 15°C 26F / -3°C   December
84F / 28°C 39F / 4°C