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 quickly changing weather. Settlements on the coast experience mild temperatures, moderate rainfall and sunshine.
Not only can the weather change rapidly, but the climate also 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 demonstrate the variety of conditions New Zealand gets.
Word of warning: New Zealand has one of the highest UV ratings in the world. Even on cloudy days, you can get sunburnt. Sunscreen is a must! With that out of the way, let’s go over everything you need to know about the seasons in New Zealand.
Before we begin, be sure to bookmark The Best Travel Guide to New Zealand for even more tips!
Southern Hemisphere Seasons – The New Zealand 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)
If you need more basic travel tips to New Zealand, by the way, head over to our complete travel guide to New Zealand.
September, October, November
- Auckland and Bay of Islands: 11-19ºC (52-66ºF)
- Rotorua: 11-18ºC (52-64ºF)
- Wellington: 9-15ºC (48-59ºF)
- Christchurch: 7-17ºC (45-63ºF)
- Queenstown: 5-16ºC (41-61ºF)
Spring can bring anything from frosty mornings to hot sunny days. It’s best to be prepared with extra layers as it is one of the most unpredictable New Zealand seasons.
For a more detailed overview of spring in New Zealand, check out:
December, January, February
- Auckland and Bay of Islands: 12-25ºC (54-77ºF)
- Rotorua: 12-24ºC (54-75ºF)
- Wellington: 13-20ºC (55-68ºF)
- Christchurch: 12-22ºC (54-72ºF)
- Queenstown: 10-22ºC (50-72ºF)
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:
March, April, May
- Auckland and Bay of Islands: 11-21ºC (52-70ºF)
- Rotorua: 13-20ºC (55-68ºF)
- Wellington: 11-17ºC (52-63ºF)
- Christchurch: 8-18ºC (46-64ºF)
- Queenstown: 6-16ºC (43-61ºF)
The warm sunny weather from summer can continue into autumn. It is usually comfortable to wear light clothing while carrying an extra layer. Autumn is another unpredictable seasons in New Zealand when it comes to the weather.
For a more detailed overview of autumn in New Zealand, check out:
June, July, August
- Auckland and Bay of Islands: 7-16ºC (45-61ºF)
- Rotorua: 9-15ºC (48-59ºF)
- Wellington: 6-12ºC (43-54ºF)
- Christchurch: 3-12ºC (37-54ºF)
- Queenstown: 1- 10ºC (34-50ºF)
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 to be prepared for all the New Zealand seasons:
- 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.
That’s it for our guide to the New Zealand seasons and climate. Find more essential travel advice in the 31 Tips for Travelling in New Zealand.