The north of New Zealand is subtropical and the south moderate. The warmest months are January, February, and March and the coldest June, July and August. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20-30ºC and in winter between 8-15ºC.
A temperate climate allows a diverse range of plant life to flourish. You can see much of this flora and fauna in the many national parks across the country. Plants from throughout the world flourish in New Zealand.
In the Southern Hemisphere our seasons are in reverse from the Northern Hemisphere.
Spring: September – November Summer: December – February Autumn: March – May Winter: June - August
Winters tend to be relatively short in New Zealand, with signs of spring showing up well before the official winter is over. The phrase ‘four seasons in one day’ may have been created for New Zealand.
Our long narrow geography, with substantial mountain ranges, surrounded by oceans half-way between the South Pole and the equator means we can get almost every kind of weather - and often do!
In general though our climate is temperate, with summer daytime temperatures ranging from 14 - 30 degrees Celsius, and winter from 4 to 20. Overnight temperatures can drop much lower - our lowest ever temperature was minus 22, in Central Otago, and our highest so far is 42 - in Canterbury.
The predominant wind is a south-westerly. In winter weather systems from the Antarctic tend to dominate, and south-westerly and southerly storms are common, causing concern for farmers and delight for the snow-skiing industry.
In summer large anti-cyclones or ‘Highs’ push down from the equator, and some areas do experience drought - but usually not in successive years. Spring and Autumn are times of change that can be expressed differently in different regions. The warm northern regions often also get a lot of rain, but because of this the countryside stays green most of the time (but not always). In the south the larger land mass and the Southern Alps create more of a continental climate, with four quite distinct seasons.
Because it’s in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are the reverse of the United States, England, Europe and Northern Asia, so December through to March are our late spring and summer. Temperatures here are measured in Celsius, not Fahrenheit.
Find out more about what the weather is like right now at www.metservice.com.