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The New Zealand Seasons and Climate

BackpackerGuide.NZ

What are the seasons and climate like in New Zealand?

“Four seasons in a day” is used to describe the climate in New Zealand. The sea and mountains make a big impact on the quick changing weather. Settlements on the coast experience mild temperatures, moderate rainfall and sunshine.

Not only can the weather change rapidly, the climate varies throughout the country. Where the north is generally mild and humid, the further south you go the colder it gets. The south also gets the first hit of Antarctic blasts. Just the diverse landscapes of alpine mountain ranges, rainforest and golden sand beaches demonstrates the variety of conditions New Zealand gets.

A word of warning: New Zealand has one of the highest UV ratings in the world. Even on cloudy days you can get sunburn. Sunscreen is a must!

Southern Hemisphere Seasons

The seasons are done a little differently Down Under. Here is our guide on what to expect from the New Zealand seasons.

  • Spring (September-November)
  • Summer (December-February)
  • Autumn (March-May)
  • Winter (June-August)
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Spring

September, October, November

  • Auckland and Bay of Islands: 11-19ºC
  • Rotorua: 11-18ºC
  • Wellington: 9-15ºC
  • Christchurch: 7-17ºC
  • Queenstown: 5-16ºC

Spring can bring anything from frosty mornings to hot sunny days. It’s best to be prepared with extra layers.

For a more detailed overview of spring in New Zealand, check out:

Tourism NZ

Summer

December, January, February

  • Auckland and Bay of Islands: 12-25ºC
  • Rotorua: 12-24ºC
  • Wellington: 13-20ºC
  • Christchurch: 12-22ºC
  • Queenstown: 10-22ºC

Have a summer Christmas and New Year!

New Zealand has more than 2000 hours of sunlight a year. Marlborough, Nelson, Hawke’s Bay, Bay of Plenty receive the most hours of sunshine. New Zealand uses daylight saving during summer so daylight can last until about 9.30pm.

The rays of the sun can feel very hot but it gets colder when the sun goes in. It’s best to carry an extra layer. Remember to wear SPF 30+ sunscreen!

For a more detailed overview of summer in New Zealand, check out:

Tourism NZ

Autumn

March, April, May

  • Auckland and Bay of Islands: 11-21ºC
  • Rotorua: 13-20ºC
  • Wellington: 11-17ºC
  • Christchurch: 8-18ºC
  • Queenstown: 6-16ºC

The warm sunny weather from summer can continue into autumn. It is usually comfortable to wear light clothing while carrying an extra layer.

For a more detailed overview of autumn in New Zealand, check out:

Tourism NZ

Winter

June, July, August

  • Auckland and Bay of Islands: 7-16ºC
  • Rotorua: 9-15ºC
  • Wellington: 6-12ºC
  • Christchurch: 3-12ºC
  • Queenstown: 1- 10ºC

Winter brings the most rainfall in northern and central New Zealand, whereas down south there is the least rainfall in winter. Snow tends to fall in the mountains during winter, however it rarely reaches the lower areas where settlements tend to be.

You’ll need a coat and warm layers during the winter. If you are going into the mountains, thermal layers, gloves and hat would be a fantastic idea.

For a more detailed overview of winter in New Zealand, check out:

What to wear!?

Here is more of an idea for what clothes to bring to New Zealand.

  • Hot weather (November-March): sunscreen, swimwear (togs), light cotton tops, shorts, skirts, sunglasses and flip-flops (jandals).
  • Cold weather (April-October): long jeans/pants, thermal layers, waterproof coat and hat.
  • When doing outdoor activities: “4 seasons in a day”, people! Be prepared with extra layers, waterproof coat or umbrella, and sunscreen!
  • Find out more on: What Clothes to Pack to Travel in New Zealand.
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