about New Zealand : Weather


Being a narrow island nation surrounded by the sea causes the weather in New Zealand to be changeable. This should be taken into account for those planning on adventuring out into the great outdoors. Always be prepared for extreme cold weather even during the summer months especially in the Southern Alps and the Volcanic Plateau of the North Island. This is not saying that we don't get long warm summer days, the weather here is just unpredictable.

New Zealand is located in the roaring forties (between 34?S and 47?S), which brings about a series of anticyclones, separated by troughs of low pressure, eastward across New Zealand. These winds range from gentle breezes in summer to roaring gales in winter.

The shape of New Zealand has a large influence on the weather pattern. New Zealand's long narrow mountainous spine intercepts the westerly winds forcing mountain generated rain in the west and making it drier in the east, this is known as the rain shadow effect. This is particularly prominent in the South Island, where the mean annual rainfall in Hokitika (west coast) is 2865mm compared to 635mm in Christchurch (east coast). The north island also has this effect where the west side of the volcanic plateau is wetter than the eastern sides although not as extreme as the south island.

Certain areas are also known to have characteristic weather patterns such as windy Wellington, the winter-less north, the Canterbury plains are know to be a dry barren region, Nelson and Blenheim for the large amount of sunshine hours, central Otago for it's hot summers and bitterly cold winters, the West Coast and Fiordland for its high rainfall.

New Zealand Climate Summary.

  Rainfall mm mean annual Sun hours mean annual Temp Mean Max Jan Temp Mean Max Jul Temp Mean Min Jan Temp Mean Min Jul
Auckland 1198 2066 23.8 14.7 16.4 8.0
Rotorua 1411 2119 23.0 12.0 12.7 3.1
Wellington 1246 2053 20.3 11.3 13.4 6.2
Christchurch 635 2035 22.5 11.2 12.2 1.7
Dunedin 809 1590 18.9 9.9 11.5 3.1
Hokitika 2865 1850 19.3 11.9 11.6 2.8
Queenstown 900 1913 22.5 8.1 10.7 .1

Temperatures in degrees celsius