climate is rather compound and differs from warm subtropical in the far north
to cool temperate climates in the far south, with relentless alpine conditions
in the mountainous areas.
the Maori people named New Zealand
“Land of the Long White Cloud”, climate has been of vital importance to the
people of New Zealand;
many of whom make their living from the land. New Zealand has mild temperatures,
moderately high rainfall, and many hours of sunshine throughout most of the
country. Its climate is dominated by two main geographical features - the
mountains and the sea.
chains expanding throughout the length of New Zealand supply a barricade for
the prevailing westerly winds, separating the country into severely different
climate regions. The West Coast of the South Island is the wettest area of New Zealand,
whereas the area to the east of the mountains, just over 100km away, is the
primarily experiences a temperate climate. While the far north has subtropical
weather throughout its summer months, and inland alpine areas of the South Island can be as cold as -10 ºC in winter, most of
the country lies close to the coast, which means gentle temperatures,
restrained rainfall, and plentiful 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 ºC to 30ºC and in winter between 10 ºC to 15ºC. The highest
temperature ever recorded in New Zealand was 42°C, in Marlborough,
in Canterbury and the lowest temperature ever recorded was -22°C in Ophir;
New Zealand does not have a large temperature range, lacking
the extremes one finds in most continental climates; therefore the country can
regularly seem to experience four seasons in one day. The weather can change
without warning; as cold fronts or tropical cyclones rapidly blow in. Because
of this, travellers should be arranged for unexpected changes in weather and
temperature if you’re going hiking or doing other outdoor activities.
New Zealand's average rainfall is reasonably high; between
640mm to 1500m evenly spread throughout the year. Over the northern and central
areas of New Zealand more
rain falls in winter than in summer, whereas for much of the southern part of New Zealand,
winter is the season of least rainfall. As well as constructing areas of
stunning native forest, this high rainfall makes New Zealand an ideal place for
farming and horticulture.
Most snow in New Zealand falls in the mountain
areas. Snow hardly ever falls in the coastal areas of the North
Island and west of the South Island,
although the east and south of the South Island
may experience a little snow in winter. Frosts can occur anywhere in New Zealand and
usually form on cold nights with clear skies and seldom wind.
Most places in New Zealand
receive over 2000 hours of sunshine a year, with the sunniest areas; Bay of Plenty,
Hawke's Bay, Nelson
receiving over 2350 hours.
As New Zealand
views daylight saving, throughout its summer months daylight can last up until
9.00pm. While summer is sunnier than the other seasons, most regions in New Zealand
have a relatively high proportion of sunlight during the winter months.
experiences relatively little air pollution compared to many other countries,
which makes the UV rays in the country’s sunlight very strong during the summer
months. The midday summer solar radiation index (UVI) is often very high in
most places and can be extreme in northern New Zealand and in mountainous
areas. Autumn and spring UVI values can be high in most areas. In order to
avoid sunburn, visitors should wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats when they
are in direct summer sunlight, especially in the heat of the day.
Summer – December, January, February
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.
Autumn – March, April, May
March to May are New
Zealand's autumn months. While temperatures
are a little cooler than summer, the weather can be excellent, and it is
possible to swim in some locations until the end of April. While New Zealand's
native fauna 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
Winter – June, July, August
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 such at Auckland and Hamilton. 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.
Spring – September, October, November
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!
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