New Zealand weather – what to expect

Clothing for travel through New Zealand should be chosen to cope with unpredictable weather patterns. New Zealand weather is famously subject to change within a matter of hours or less. We’re located between the Antarctic and the Equator and surrounded by vast oceans. A steady continental climate does not apply here. Unsettled weather doesn’t usually stay for too long. In fact, you can have rain in the morning…

Michael with umbrella - Clothing for travel in New Zealand

…and a warm sunny afternoon. You might get 4 seasons in one day!

Abel Tasman kayaking at nice weather conditions

Weather in different locations in New Zealand

Where you’re located in New Zealand, will play a big part. The far north of the North Island has subtropical weather during summer….

Weather in different locations in New Zealand - Coromandel lookout

….while the inland alpine areas of the South Island can be as cold as -10°C (14°F). The average New Zealand temperature decreases as you travel south. But generally we don’t extremes and this is great for travelling! Read about packing for New Zealand.

Queenstown aerial view from Skyline gondola

January and February are the warmest months and July is the coldest month. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20-30ºC (70-90°F) and in winter between 10-15ºC (50-60°F). See more details on the weather and season in New Zealand. It’s always good idea is ask your accommodation hosts about the local weather or  check out  The Metservice 5 days forecasts are very helpful, especially if you have outdoor activities planned.

West Coast Waterfall2


What clothing should I pack for New Zealand?

So prepare for all weather conditions. Stick with the “onion system” i.e. 2-3 layers of clothing, you can peel off. See visuals here.

Dress for New Zealand - what clothing to pack for travelling

The Essentials – Clothing for travel through New Zealand

Essential on the list is a good rain jacket, a quality fleece beneath and a polypro or merino shirt. The good old ‘Swandri’ has always been popular with Kiwi blokes. If you intend to hike/tramp, strong comfortable footwear is essential! If you need anything while in NZ just pop into a Kathmandu or MacPac shop. They’re the outdoor clothing specialists.

Shorts, good walking shoes and a warm jacket are always good

When is formal dress expected?

We’re pretty casual about dressing informally for restaurants and cafes. We make exceptions for weddings or an ‘occasion’. A smart standard will be required for more upmarket restaurants, shows and casinos. Pam, our resident blogger, insisted on my using this photo as proof that she can ditch the t-shirts and elastic waist trousers for a bit of ‘glam’.

Pam is dressing up for a formal occasion

Happy Travelling through New Zealand!

2 responses to “Clothing for travel through New Zealand”

  1. Jan Roberts says:

    If I knew how to whistle on the internet I would – look at you! Beautiful. So true regarding our weather – all four seasons in one day – always be prepared for anything. My general rule of thumb, take a jacket and it won’t rain (hopefully), don’t take a jacket and it most definitely will lol.

    • GuestNZ says:

      Never thought I’d say this, but nowadays, I’d be grateful for that one wolf Whistle Jan. How true about the rain jacket but the one time when this item of clothing really comes into it’s own, is when there is a cold wind whipping through. It’s saved many an outdoor enthusiast from hypothermia.

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