What is the Weather Like in New Zealand in August?
Welcome to winter in New Zealand! While most people avoid travelling anywhere in the world during the cold winter months, there are actually many advantages to travelling New Zealand in winter. It’s the low season meaning cheaper prices and fewer tourists. The mountain tops are covered in snow which makes the famous New Zealand landscape all the more mind-blowing. Plus, you’ll find that you can do most activities that people enjoy in summer even during August. So to help plan and prepare your trip to New Zealand in August, you’re going to want to know what the New Zealand weather in August is like.
Unlike in the Northern Hemisphere, August is the last season of winter in New Zealand. September, October and November is spring. December, January and February is summer. March, April and May is autumn and finally, June July and August is winter. For more information, see our guide to The New Zealand Seasons and Climate.
5 Tips for Travelling New Zealand in August
These handy tips will make travelling in August all the easier!
- As August is a low season in New Zealand (except in ski field towns), don’t worry about booking activities, accommodation and transport too far in advance. The country is free enough from tourists so you can afford to be a little more spontaneous!
- Check road updates on the New Zealand Transport Agency website before hitting the road. In winter there is a chance of snow and slips
- If hitting the ski fields, don’t forget your sunscreen! Not only are UV rays intense in New Zealand, once reflected off the snow they’re sure to give you a nice red goggle tan
- If you are planning to do some weather-dependent activities like skydiving, heli-hiking, etc. then plan a few days in these locations in case you experience bad weather and your tour is rescheduled
- Make sure to pack some wool or polypropylene thermal layers, as they are breathable but will keep you warm.
For more tips, see our 10 Essential New Zealand Travel Tips.
Typical Temperatures in August
Being the last month of winter, August is one of the colder months in New Zealand. The climates are slightly different around the country, so this list will tell you the average temperatures in every New Zealand destination.
Northern New Zealand (Northland, Auckland and Tauranga) – 12ºC (53ºF)
Central North Island (Hamilton, Taupo and Rotorua) – 8ºC (46ºF)
South-West North Island (New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Wellington) – 9ºC (48ºF)
Eastern North Island (Gisborne, Napier and Wairarapa) – 10ºC (50ºF)
Northern South Island (Blenheim and Nelson) – 9ºC (48ºF)
Western South Island (Westport, Hokitika and Milford Sound) – 6-9ºC (42-48ºF)
Eastern South Island (Kaikoura, Christchurch and Timaru) – 7ºC (45ºF)
Inland South Island (Lake Tekapo, Queenstown and Alexandra) – 4-6ºC (39-42ºF)
Southern New Zealand (Dunedin and Invercargill) – 7ºC (45ºF)
Other Weather Patterns in August
Winter in New Zealand often means a mix of weather: rain, sun, snow… you’re likely to experience it all if you are in New Zealand throughout August. Be prepared for snow in some of the more mountainous regions, such as Inland South Island around the Southern Alps and the Central North Island around the North Island volcanoes.
Rainfall in August
August usually has the least rainfall out of the winter months in New Zealand. However, there are wetter areas of New Zealand than others. The West Coast of the South Island is notorious for its high rainfall, while regions like the northern South Island and eastern North Island are much dryer regions. Here are some average rainfall numbers in millimetres across New Zealand in August.
Northern New Zealand (Northland, Auckland and Tauranga) – 140mm (5.5″)
Central North Island (Hamilton, Taupo and Rotorua) – 110mm (4.3″)
South-West North Island (New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Wellington) – 120mm (4.7″)
Eastern North Island (Gisborne, Napier and Wairarapa) – 70mm (2.7″)
Northern South Island (Blenheim and Nelson) – 80mm (3″)
Western South Island (Westport, Hokitika and Milford Sound) – 240-430mm (9.4-17″)
Eastern South Island (Kaikoura, Christchurch and Timaru) – 70mm (2.7″)
Inland South Island (Lake Tekapo, Queenstown and Alexandra) – 30-60mm (1-2.3″)
Southern New Zealand (Dunedin and Invercargill) – 70mm (2.7″)
The Best Places to Visit in August
The great thing about New Zealand in August is that you can find a range of climates to suit your trip. Love the snow? Then head to the New Zealand ski fields! Want to escape the cold? Check out the “Winterless North” in the Bay of Islands. Here are some destinations to add to your August travel itinerary!
Wanaka for its proximity to top ski fields like Cardrona and Treble Cone.
Paihia in the Bay of Islands for a warmer climate and coastline activities.
Rotorua to keep warm in its geothermal parks and hot pools.
Hanmer Springs is famous for its hot pools complex, ski fields and frequent snowfall!
Coromandel in the north of the North Island is a warmer climate with plenty of amazing hikes and coastal scenery.
For events to check out during August, see our guide to New Zealand in August.
August Packing List
Here are a few things to add to your New Zealand packing list for a trip in August.
- Thermal layers
- Mid-layers (great to take off when it’s too warm)
- Waterproof hiking shoes
- Woollen socks
For more packing inspiration, see our Packing List for Winter in New Zealand and New Zealand Packing List: What to Pack for New Zealand.