If you’re planning a trip to New Zealand,
no doubt you will want to know what the weather is going to be like. After all, there are
so many amazing outdoors adventures to experience, so you’re going to want to know when is
the best time to go to New Zealand. With that in mind, we’re going to go through the typical
New Zealand climate so you can plan the trip of a lifetime. Let’s do this!
Hey guys, we’re Robin and Laura the team behind BackpackerGuide.NZ helping you plan
an epic trip in New Zealand! In this video, we’re going to be going through
the typical New Zealand climate and answer the question: What is the weather like in
New Zealand? New Zealand’s climate is determined by three main things: the ocean, mountains
and its prevailing winds. The weather is a huge importance to both locals and visitors
so we thought it would be a good idea to make this video so you know what New Zealand weather
to expect, and that way, you’ll be able to pack the right clothes for the weather.
Or you can check out our packing list video linked up in the description and in the cards.
Plus, stick around until the end of this video where we’ll be giving you the best seasons
to come travelling in New Zealand. But before we dive into this video, make sure
you hit the subscribe button if want to see more videos about New Zealand just like this
one. We release New Zealand travel tips videos every single week, so you don’t want to
miss out! And with that, let’s jump into the video! First up, what are the seasons in New Zealand?
New Zealand has four distinct seasons: summer, autumn, winter and spring. However, these
seasons are experienced in different months to what is experienced in the Northern Hemisphere.
Summer is in December, January and February, Autumn is March, April and May,
Winter is in June, July and August, and Spring is in September, October and November.
New Zealanders typically view the seasons as starting on the first day of the season’s
month and ending on the final day of the season’s month. For example, summer begins on December
1st and ends on February 28th or 29th. Check out the BackpackerGuide.NZ article linked
up in the description for information on what the New Zealand climate and weather is like
season by season. Ok, what is the temperature like in New Zealand?
Because New Zealand lies south of the Equator, the temperature increases the further north
you go and decreases the further south you go. You can feel a real difference in temperature
between the North Island and South Island, with the mean annual temperature in the North
Island being around 16ºC, that’s 61ºF, and the South Island mean annual temperature
being 10ºC or 50ºF. The warmest months are December, January and
February. During this time, the highest temperatures experiences are between 20-30ºC, which is
68-86ºF. And the coldest months are June, July and August with the highest temperatures
being 10-15ºC or 50-59ºF during this time. Location plays a huge factor on the temperature
in New Zealand. For instance, the Far North of the North Island has a subtropical climate
with the highest temperatures in the country. Inland in the South Island, the alpine landscape
means there’s snow on many mountaintops year-round and temperatures as low as -10ºC
or -50ºF in winter. When planning your trip to New Zealand, take
into consideration the month and the locations you will be visiting to get a better representation
of what temperatures you will experience. We’ll link to all our articles of the New
Zealand weather month-by-month in the description, which will give you average temperatures for
all the different areas of New Zealand for each month. Next up, how much does it in New Zealand?
Rainfall can be in the forecast all year round in New Zealand due to its maritime climate.
Most areas of New Zealand receive between 600 and 1,600mm of rain throughout the year.
However, some areas of New Zealand are much wetter than others. We’re looking at you
West Coast! On the North Island, more rainfall is experienced
through winter than in summer. In the South Island, there’s more rainfall in summer
than in winter. The South Island experiences a huge difference in rainfall weather patterns
due to Southern Alps, which is a mountain range running right down the middle of the
island. The Southern Alps acts as a barrier for the westerly prevailing winds, which in
turn, brings the rain. For this reason, the West Coast of the South Island receives considerably
more rain compared to the east coast of the South Island. That’s all your areas like
Milford Sound, Hokitika and Franz Josef. While rainfall is frequent in New Zealand,
usually they are only short showers due to the coastal winds moving weather on quickly.
New Zealander’s often describe New Zealand as having “four seasons in a day” because
of the way the weather is often quickly changing. Now, what about snow in New Zealand?
Snow falls mainly in the high altitudes of mountainous areas of New Zealand, such as
the Southern Alps and the mountains of the Fiordland National Park in the South Island.
Or on the North Island, snow mainly falls on the Central North Island volcanoes and
Mt Taranaki. As a traveler, you might experience snow in
winter when travelling to the New Zealand ski fields, when doing one of the Great Walks
or other mountain hiking trails in winter, or when driving through one of the mountain
pass roads in winter, like Arthur’s Pass or Lindis Pass.
Because the rest of the country is coastal, it’s uncommon to experience snow elsewhere.
However, the east side of the country is more likely to experience snow than the west in
extreme conditions. Still, that’s pretty rare.
Frosts can occur anywhere in New Zealand throughout winter. Usually frost happens during cold
nights with clear skies and no wind. Next up, how sunny is it in New Zealand?
Just as frequently as having rain, New Zealand can just as frequently experience clear weather
and sunshine. The majority of New Zealand has a high number of sunshine hours. Areas
that are sheltered by the prevailing westerly winds receive annual sunshine hours of more
than 2,250, such as Northland, the Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson, Tasman
and Malborough. New Zealand’s three largest cities, Auckland,
Wellington and Christchurch also receive high sunshine hours of around 2,000 hours. The
least amount of sunshine is experienced in the Southland region and the Southern Alps
with annual sunshine hours fewer than 1,500. If you’re coming to New Zealand to enjoy
the sun, guys, we have to warn you about the high UV radiation levels, especially between
September and April. New Zealand receives 40% higher UV radiation than countries at
similar latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. Wearing high factor sunscreen is a must to
protect the skin from sunburn, especially between 10am and 4pm during those months between
September and April, and when going to high altitudes and where there is snow during winter.
Finally, what about severe weather in New Zealand?
New Zealand is a country that’s relatively safe from extreme weather scenarios. Once
or twice a year, storms may pass through the country bringing more rain, wind or snow with
it. The main extreme weather that could affect New Zealand is cyclones.
However, cyclones that make a large impact on the country happen infrequently, as the
New Zealand MetService puts it: “On average, about 10 tropical cyclones form in the South
Pacific tropics between November and April each year, and about one of those will affect
New Zealand as an ex-tropical cyclone most commonly in February or March.” All in all,
don’t let the fear of extreme weather events affect your decision on coming to New Zealand.
So that’s it for our guide to the New Zealand weather and climate, but as promised, we’ll
now give you the best seasons to travel in New Zealand.
When planning when would be the best time to go travelling in New Zealand, the “off
season” and “shoulder seasons” are well worth considering. The off-season is during
New Zealand’s winter season when the country has far less tourists except in the places
where there is a ski season. The peak season is in summer when New Zealand blows up with
tourists both international tourists and domestic tourists that are travelling for the New Zealand
summer holidays. The shoulder seasons are during spring and autumn, between the off-season
and peak season. Personally, we think the shoulder seasons are the best time to take
a trip to New Zealand. So just as a recap: the peak season in New
Zealand is between December and the beginning of March,
the shoulder seasons are between March and June and between September and November,
and the off-season is between June and August. For more reasons to consider travelling in
the shoulder and off-season, check out the article that we’ve linked to in the description.
Also, check in the description for a full comparison of travelling in New Zealand throughout
the year in an article called When is the Best Time to Go Backpacking in New Zealand?
Alright guys, we hope you found this video useful but we have one question to ask you
before you leave: do you want us to make videos on what the weather is like in New Zealand
for each month of the year? For instance, the New Zealand weather in November, the New
Zealand weather in December and so on? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Plus, give this video a cheeky like if you found it useful!
Thanks for watching, team and until next time, keep exploring!