New Zealand Weather
New Zealand is described as having a temperate maritime climate, but that makes it sound less complex than it really is! Ranging from warm subtropical in the far north to cool temperate climates in the far south, with severe alpine conditions in the mountainous areas, it’s often a little unpredictable and can change rapidly within a short time.
- New Zealand doesn’t experience a large temperature range, but cold fronts or tropical cyclones can quickly blow in, so be prepared with your clothing when you’re away from your campervan.
- The North Island has a warmer, milder climate. The Auckland average summer temperature is 21C/70F and winter is 11C/52F, and the west of the island receives slightly more rain than the east.
- The South Island is cooler. Dunedin’s average summer temperature is 15C/59F and winter 6C/42F. The contrast in rainfall is much greater due to the Southern Alps, with the west coast being the wettest place in New Zealand and the east coast the driest.
- Most places in New Zealand get over 2000 hours of sunshine per year, and during summer months daylight can last until 9pm. In winter it generally starts to get dark around 5.30pm.
- Sometimes during winter, in the South Island and the centre of the North Island roads may be closed due to snow and ice. The New Zealand AA can provide you with up to date conditions in these areas.
SPRING: Spring lasts from September to November, and can quite unpredictably be almost any combination of warm, dry, humid, raining, cold, frosty or hot! It’s an exciting time in New Zealand, with thousands of newborn lambs, lots of beautiful blossoms (check out the blossom festivals in both Alexandra in Central Otago or Hastings in Hawke’s Bay), and melting snow making river water levels exhilaratingly high if you want to go white water rafting.
SUMMER: Summer spans December to February (although sometimes carries on a bit later if you’re lucky!). Expect high temperatures, lots of sunshine, long days and mild nights. This is the time to visit New Zealand’s many amazing beaches and lakes (most of which are safe for swimming) and get into some of the watersports on offer.
AUTUMN: Lasting from March until May, it’s starting to cool down but it is still possible to squeeze in a few last swims at the beach. New Zealand’s native flora is evergreen but there are also many deciduous trees around so it’s still a colourful season.
WINTER: June until August sees much colder temperatures all over the country and more rainfall in the North Island. If you’re going to New Zealand in winter, thermal and waterproof clothing are musts. The mountain ranges become snow-covered, providing great skiing and snowboarding. Although the South Island is colder than the north, the east coast in fact experiences very little rain so this is a great time to visit glaciers and mountains.