About New Zealand

New Zealand Climate

New Zealand lies between 37 and 47 degrees south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Both the North and South Islands of New Zealand enjoy moderate, maritime climate, weather and temperatures.

New Zealand weather and climate is of paramount importance to the people of New Zealand, as many New Zealanders make their living from the land. New Zealand has mild temperatures, moderately high rainfall, and many hours of sunshine throughout most of the country. New Zealand's climate is dominated by two main geographical features: the mountains and the sea.

New Zealand Temperatures

New Zealand has a largely temperate climate. While the far north has subtropical weather during summer, and inland alpine areas of the South Island can be as cold as -10 C in winter, most of the country lies close to the coast, which means mild temperatures, moderate rainfall, and abundant sunshine.

Because New Zealand lies in the Southern Hemisphere, the average temperature decreases as you travel south. The north of New Zealand is subtropical and the south temperate. The warmest months are December, January and February, and the coldest June, July and August. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20 - 30ºC and in winter between 10 - 15ºC.

New Zealand does not have a large temperature range, lacking the extremes found in most continental climates. However, New Zealand weather can change unexpectedly as cold fronts can quickly blow in. Because of this, you should be prepared for sudden changes in weather and temperature if you're going hiking or doing other outdoor activities.

Spring;    September, October, November

Summer; December, January, February

Autumn;  March, April, May

Winter;    June, July, August

 New Zealand Spring 

Spring lasts from September to November, and New Zealand's spring weather can range from cold and frosty to warm and hot. During spring buds, blossoms, and other new growth bursts forth throughout the country and new born lambs frolic in the fields just before dusk.

Both Alexandra in Central Otago and Hastings in Hawke's Bay celebrate spring with a blossom festival. If you're into white water rafting, this is the time when melting spring snow makes river water levels excitingly high!

New Zealand Summer;

New Zealand's summer months are December to February, bringing high temperatures and sunshine. Days are long and sunny, nights are mild. Summer is an excellent time for walking in the bush and a variety of other outdoor activities. New Zealand's many gorgeous beaches are ideal for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, boating, and water sports during summer.

New Zealand Autumn;

March to May are New Zealand's autumn (Fall) months. While temperatures are a little cooler than summer, the weather can be excellent, and it is possible to swim in some places until April.

While New Zealand's native flora is evergreen, there are many introduced deciduous trees. Colourful changing leaves make autumn a scenic delight, especially in regions such as Central Otago and Hawke's Bay, which are known for their autumn splendour.

New Zealand Winter;

New Zealand's winter months of June to August bring colder weather to much of the country, and more rain to most areas in the North Island. Mountain ranges in both islands become snow-covered, providing beautiful vistas and excellent skiing.

While the South Island has cooler winter temperatures, some areas of the island experience little rainfall in winter, so this is an excellent time to visit glaciers, mountains, and other areas of scenic beauty.

 New Zealand currency:

New Zealand currency is in the decimal system, ie Dollars and Cents, 100 cents to the dollar

Our coins are; 10 cents; 20 cents, 50 cents; $1 and $2

Our notes are; $5, $10; $20; $50 and $100

Driving in New Zealand:

We drive on the left hand side of the road and our vehicles seat the driver on the right. Always drive on the left hand side of the road in New Zealand. If you are used to driving on the right hand side of the road, this can be a challenge to remember especially when pulling out into traffic. Remember - if you are driving, you must be seated in the middle of the road your front seat passenger will be the on edge of the road.

Never drive when you are tired and take regular breaks. It doesnt matter what country you are driving in, it is extremely dangerous to drive when you are tired. Visitors to New Zealand might be tired because of jet-lag, early starts and late nights, or because they had a long day driving the day before. Because driving in New Zealand can be very different to other countries, you need to be well-rested and alert tired drivers are dangerous drivers.

Many roads have varying conditions, and can be narrow, windy and cover hilly terrain. New Zealands diverse terrain means roads are often narrow, hilly and windy with plenty of sharp corners. Outside of the main cities, there are very few motorways. Most of our roads are single lane in each direction without barriers in between. You may also encounter gravel roads. Its important to allow plenty of time, go slow and pull over in a safe place if traffic wants to pass from behind you. Take plenty of breaks so that you stay alert.

Weather-related hazards are commonplace.

In New Zealand, you might experience four seasons in one day. Its possible to start your day off with blue sky and sunshine, but arrive at your destination in rain and hail. Because of this, weather related hazards on the road can occur at any time. Always check the weather forecast before departing, and adjust your plans accordingly. If you're driving in the South Island in winter, spring or late autumn, snow is a possibility ensure that you're carrying chains if a cold snap has been forecast.

Winter roads can be treacherous. Snow, ice and fog can be common in winter, especially in the South Island and around mountain passes. Ensure you're clued up on the weather forecast for the region that you're driving in, leave large following distances and make sure you're travelling with snow chains (and know how to fit them).