The seasons in New Zealand are opposite to the European ones.
New Zealand is mostly located in the temperate zone.
However, the weather is much more changeable than in Central Europe.
The North Island, which is closer to the equator, is warmer in the northern part, colder in the southern part, and colder in the south of the South Island.
In general, one can say that the climate of the North Island is subtropical, but the climate of the South Island is rather Central European (with slightly higher temperatures). The rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year.
The temperatures drop at night in the highlands much lower than on the sea level. Therefore, you should expect during a visit to the Southern Alps in the summer with temperatures below 10 ° C.
The width-dependent temperature differences between the north and south of New Zealand are less than the distance of 1500 km would suggest. The balancing effect of the surrounding masses of water is responsible for this. The oceanic climate of New Zealand has a temperature difference of more than 10 ° C both in the annual and the daily cycle. The exception to this is especially Central Otago, a more continental landscape. Here larger temperature fluctuations are the rule.
The highest annual average between 13 ° C and 14 ° C is the north of the North Island. The extreme north of the South Island and the other regions of the North Island are in the 12 ° C zones. Following the south, annual averages fall to 9 ° C. For comparison: Stuttgart 8 ° C. The highest daily temperatures of more than 22 ° C prevail during the summer months (December, January, February) on the North Island and in the north and east of the South Island, temperatures below 0 ° C are rare even during the New Zealand winter (June, July, August) , Only in the Southern Alps, the Central Otago and the central volcanic area of the North Island does the thermometer fall below freezing. In the coastal regions, maritime influence prevents values below freezing.
Best travel time
Due to the mild climate, which knows neither extreme heat nor cold, every season is suitable for a stay in New Zealand.
Summer lasts from December to February, autumn from March to May, winter from June to August and spring from September to November.
New Zealand’s main season spans the months of December, January and February.
During this time you should book the accommodations from your home country, as at this time, most New Zealanders go on vacation.
Despite the relatively high rainfall, New Zealand has a longer sunshine duration than it is known from Central Europe (around 1600 hours a year).
The average annual sunshine duration varies between 2500 hours in the north of the South Island and 1500 hours in the Southern Alps and the Fiordland.
Apart from these extreme values, 1600 to 2000 hours of sunshine per year are normal for the South Island, whereby a decrease in the sunshine duration from north to south is to be considered.
In the lee of the Southern Alps, the annual sunshine is 2200 hours. For the coastal areas of the North Island, values of 2,000 to 2,200 hours a year are the norm. Only in the central volcanic area of the North Island does the sunshine duration decrease below 1800 hours / year. With an average sunshine duration of 2000 hours per year, this results in a daily average of 5 ½ hours per day.