New Zealand Climate

The New Zealand climate article contains information on weather forecasts, reports and temperatures, as well as seasons, climate change, data, statistics, maps and rainfall in NZ.

Find out more about the varied climate, geography and weather conditions in New Zealand, ‘Land of the Long White Cloud,’ including New Zealand’s seasons, rainfall and sunshine hours.

New Zealand Climate And Geography

As an island nation with a varied and diverse physical geography, New Zealand has differing weather patterns and a range of climate conditions from north to south, although overall the New Zealand climate is moderate. Weather conditions range from subtropical warmth and humidity in the north, to cool temperate conditions in the south and alpine conditions in mountainous regions.

New Zealand’s varied climate is mirrored by an equally diverse geography – you’ll find mountains, glaciers, beaches and tropical rainforests all within the boundaries of our two main islands. A chain of mountain ranges runs the length of the country, sheltering eastern regions and leaving western areas vulnerable to prevailing westerly winds. The West Coast of the South Island is the country’s wettest area, while mid-Canterbury (its eastern equivalent) is the driest part of the country.

From day to day, New Zealand weather conditions are extremely variable. Those living or traveling anywhere in the country are best to prepare for a change in weather at some point during the day – the ‘four seasons in one day’ phenomenon is common, so be ready for sunshine, rain or gusty weather conditions.

New Zealand Seasons

Regions in the far north of New Zealand have a subtropical climate; the Northland region itself is often referred to as ‘the winterless north.’ Most areas in both North and South Islands experience cool or cold winters, and warm summer months. New Zealand seasons are the opposite to those of the Northern Hemisphere:

Summer is December to February
Autumn is March to May
Winter is June to August
Spring is September to November

As already mentioned, changeable weather conditions are a feature of New Zealand, so be prepared for more than one season to appear during a single day, particularly in spring.

Weather Forecasts In New Zealand

With an outdoor lifestyle and an enjoyment of sports and recreation activities, Kiwis and travelers to New Zealand need access to up-to-date weather reports. Although accurate meteorology can be difficult for an island nation such as New Zealand, updated weather information can keep you prepared. Stay tuned to the weather by checking the latest New Zealand weather forecasts online:

  • Up-to-date New Zealand weather forecasts and weather reports for regions, towns and cities are available at Metservice.
  • Get New Zealand tide forecasts including low and high tide forecasts for coastal waters, beaches and oceans around New Zealand.
  • Find New Zealand ski field reports for Whakapapa, Mt Hutt, Treble Cone, The Remarkables and other popular snow sport destinations.

New Zealand Temperatures

Generally, New Zealand’s moderate climate brings winter highs of around 15°C and lows of between 0 and 10°C. In summer, temperatures reach between 20°C and 30°C, with daily lows sitting around 13°C to 17°C. These temperatures will vary depending on your location and any sudden changes in weather conditions. Nationwide, July is usually the coldest month of the year and January or February the warmest. Although winters are colder, the difference between seasonal temperatures in any given region is not great. The exception to this is inland areas and regions to the east of the mountain ranges – here, temperature can vary up to 14°C between seasons. View the latest NZ weather reports online.

Sunshine Hours In New Zealand

New Zealand is a popular destination for holiday makers; many are drawn to New Zealand’s sunniest spots – the Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson and Marlborough regions – where the sun shines for well over 2,000 hours every year. Daylight hours can stretch until 9:00pm during summer months and, while summer is a sunnier time of year, many New Zealand cities and towns have a high number of crisp, sunny days during winter.

A word of warning, though! Be careful when soaking up the sun in New Zealand – we have one of the highest UV ratings in the world. During the hottest part of the day (between 11:00am and 4:00pm) it’s essential to stay covered to avoid sunburn. Wear sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses if you’re planning on being outdoors for longer than thirty minutes, and remember that you can still get burnt on cloudy or cool days.

New Zealand Rainfall

Most areas in New Zealand experience between 600 and 1,600 millimetres of rainfall each year. In the north, summer is the driest time of year, with rainfall mainly occurring during winter months, while for southern regions, winters are cold and dry. While rainfall levels may be comparable, regional variations in weather conditions can be marked.

Climate Change In New Zealand

It is now generally accepted in the scientific community and by the wider public that world climate conditions and global temperatures have been affected by human activity, and continue to show the effects of our actions. Our impact on the environment may have contributed to extreme weather conditions such as droughts, storms and flooding. The effect of climate change on New Zealand is monitored and researched by the New Zealand Climate Change government agency, while the gassy emissions of our four-footed friends and the agricultural sector are measured and mitigated by the Ministry for the Environment.