No matter what the most stalwart Kiwi will have you believe, New Zealand's climate is not so different to many U.S. States, albeit in reverse. Our winter is their summer; their winter is our summer, but that's as complicated as it gets.
The weather in New Zealand is spread across four seasons. In summer (December – February), the average maximum temperature ranges between 60-85 ºF , and in winter (June – August) between 50-60 ºF. However, this is just the headline act. If there's one thing that's predictable about the weather in New Zealand, it's that it's unpredictable.
The weather can change in a matter of minutes, and you should be prepared for it — especially if you're hiking through the captivating New Zealand countryside. Also, beware of the fast-burning New Zealand sun. Due to the ultra-thin ozone layer, and very low air pollution, the UV rays are extremely strong and can burn even the hardiest skin before you even realize it. Take our advice: pack high factor sun screen (minimum SPF 30+) and lather yourself up regularly.
On the flip side, be prepared for rain — New Zealand doesn't get that green without reason! During the summer, a lightweight rain coat should suffice. Snow ski lovers will rejoice at the subzero temperatures that claim large parts of the central North and South Islands throughout winter, bringing fresh powder to some of the world's most famous ski fields.
But what about those glorious peaks, covered in snow? Plan to visit between June and October, when the pistes are at their best, with a handful in the central North Island dragging over into mid-November. And if the snow doesn't fall, expect some of the world's best artificial powder to start pumping onto the slopes in no time at all.