New Zealand Climate
The New Zealand climate is dominated by the sea and the mountains. It is a temperate maritime climate with mild temperatures, moderate rainfall and plenty of sunshine. In the far north, the climate is subtropical. New Zealand lies between 37 degrees (in the north) and 47 degrees (in the south).
There are 4 distinct seasons -
- Summer - December, January and February
- Autumn - March, April, May
- Winter - June, July, August
- Spring - September, October, November
Average temperatures are in the low to mid 20's (degrees in celcius - that's 70's in Fahrenheit) in the summer and in winter the lowest temperatures are usually single figures but usually above freezing, unless you are in the mountains
For more detailed climate information, visit the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) by clicking here.
For up to date weather information and to check for weather warnings, visit the Met Service by clicking here.
For up to date snow reports, visit Snow Reports by clicking here.
What to Know to Enjoy Your Holiday
Okay, the official NZ weather guide is fine but it doesn't tell you all you need to know. The following tips about New Zealand weather will help in planning what to pack for your campervan holiday:
- the sun is very hot in New Zealand - there is a hole in the ozone and the sun burns even at temperatures that may not feel that hot in the northern hemisphere. This means you must be sunwise - wear sunscreen, a hat, and cover up with light clothing (Slip on a shirt, Slop on sunscreen, Slap on a hat)
- it is helpful to know that with the New Zealand climate you can have days when you literally have 4 seasons in a day - we have been driving in sunshine and then been in a hail storm so bad that the road went completely white and then within a couple of kilometres the sun was out again - what this means is that it's best to layer clothing, so have a light under layer, a warmer mid-layer and then a warm outer layer like a fleece - that way you can always peel off a layer or add one
- it is windy in New Zealand as you are mostly near the sea - so even when the sun is burning, you may need another light layer to counter the wind
- it rains quite a bit - that's why it's so lush and green. It's best to have a light rain jacket or an umbrella. New Zealand still looks beautiful in the rain so don't let it put you off, just be prepared
- you're likely to want to walk to see some of the sights and some of the more spectacular scenes are a bit off the beaten track so have a good pair of walking shoes and be prepared to get them dirty