What is the weather like in New Zealand?

Weather. Not only is it a useful subject to bring up in spontaneous small talk situations, but it’s also invaluable to be familiar with when planning a road trip holiday.

Ace Rental Cars is here to be your weather guide! This article contains the info you need to know before setting off on a Kiwi adventure holiday, no matter the season.

A brief overview of NZ weather patterns

To be perfectly frank, if you don’t like the weather where you are in Aotearoa, just pop down the road and take a look at the next town. Despite being such a small country, New Zealand’s geographical location and its wildly varied topography means that its average weather patterns change from place to place – even if you’re just driving 100 kilometres down the road.

As far as temperature is concerned, the country is temperate overall, though again, this varies. Northland, for example, has sub-tropical seasons, with summers often reaching a balmy 24 degrees Celsius or higher, and winter lows that rarely drop below 10 degrees (and almost never below freezing).

Meanwhile, Southland is more eclectic still. The Southern Alps next to Fiordland block westerlies coming in from the Tasman Sea, giving Te Anau and Milford quite high rainfall. However, just over the hump, the air is much drier. Then as you progress southeast to Invercargill, there are less mountains so rain picks up a bit again. Temperature can vary from around 8 degrees Celsius up to the mid-20s.

What should I know before visiting?

To know what the weather will do, you need to think about where specifically you want to visit. Warmer beach holidays can be found more in the north, while alpine skiing is more common in the south. However, both of these things are also available throughout the rest of the nation depending on where you are.
All in all, you ought not to worry about the weather here. Whether it rains or it’s sunny, the landscape will still be beautiful and the people will still be super friendly.

Our final top tips?

  1. Passes at higher altitudes in the South Island can block up with snow in mid-winter, so bear that in mind when planning your road trip.
  2. Fiordland is actually often more beautiful in the rain or just after the snow melts, as hundreds of temporary waterfalls appear around the sounds.
  3. Winter is wetter in the north, but drier in the south.
  4. The Central North Island (Taupo/Rotorua) is one of the least windy regions of the nation.
  5. Around Auckland and north, summers are warm and humid – perfect for a trip to the beach.