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What you need to know about New Zealand Weather

New Zealand is often described as having ‘four seasons in one day’. Cold and blustery one minute. Hot and sunny the next. Our weather is extremely variable.  So, there are many weather mistakes people make when coming to Kiwiland. Here’s nine of the most common, and how you can avoid them.

  1. Taking your weather app at face value. Chances are, your country is a much larger landmass than ours - so you’ll be accustomed to an accurate weather reading. New Zealand is a small island so it's harder to be exact. Bottom line: if they say it's going to rain, it probably won't.

  2. Underestimating the importance of layers. New Zealand is not only renowned for its landscape extremes - but as we mentioned before - it’s changeable weather.  Raining in the morning, blue skies in the afternoon. Snow in one place, subtropical temperatures in the next. Bring layers!

  3. Thinking you won't get burnt when it's cloudy. Unless you’d love a really nice red t-shirt mark, ensure you’re wearing factor 50+ SPF even when it's cloudy. Our ozone layer is weaker than yours, that's a fact.

  4. Not bringing a raincoat. Even if it’s fine, even if there isn't a cloud in the sky, take a waterproof jacket on your day trip. Remember what we said about the reliability of the weather information? Take a jacket. Don't say we didn't warn you!

  5. Heading out without insect repellent. Okay, so this isn't really weather-related, but trust us - it's a mistake you don't want to make. Particularly essential if you’re travelling down the spectacular West Coast - home of the notorious sand-fly. Bring DEET. You don't want to be sightseeing from your car.

  6. Leaving your sunglasses at home. New Zealand sun is harsh, which translates into glarey (yes we know ‘glarey’ isn't a word) but you get what we mean. Ensure your eyes are well protected.

  7. Putting oil on your skin while you're in the sun. Yeah, we know, we’ve been going on about the sun a lot. But bear with us, our sun is really strong. Sunbathing with oil on may be a quick way to tan in your country, but here - you’re sure to end up with blisters. Enough said

  8. Not hiring snow chains in the winter. If you're here in the cooler months and you're headed for one of our snowy mountain passes, make sure you’ve got chains in the back. Despite what we said about the weatherman being wrong, when they say it's going to snow, it usually snows. Ask for chains when you hire your car.

  9. Expecting spring to be ‘spring-like.’  New Zealand spring is usually one of the most changeable times in terms of weather. We’re not saying we don't have daffodils and leaping lambs - we do - it's just sometimes it's still freezing, other times it's really windy, raining or even really hot. Often, it's freezing, windy and hot all in the same day (again with the whole 4 seasons thing). Come prepared for all eventualities.

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