The best times to visit South Island for ideal weather are
December 3rd to April 1st
based on average temperature and humidity from NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Read below for more weather and travel details.
South Island Travel Guide
Other South Island Travel Info
Weather in South Island
Average temperatures in South Island vary somewhat. Considering humidity, temperatures feel cold for about half of the year and otherwise nice with a very low chance of rain or snow throughout the year. The area is somewhat temperate — in the 43rd percentile for pleasant weather — compared to tourist destinations worldwide. Weeks with ideal weather are listed above. If you’re looking for the very warmest time to visit South Island, the hottest months are January, February, and then December. See average monthly temperatures below. The warmest time of year is generally late January and early February where highs are regularly around 73.1°F (22.8°C) with temperatures rarely dropping below 48.8°F (9.3°C) at night.
South Island Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
South Island Temperatures (Celsius)
The way we experience weather isn’t all about temperature. Higher temperatures affect us much more at higher humidity, and colder temperatures feel piercing with high winds. Our perceived temperatures factor in humidity and wind chill to better represent how hot or cold the day feels to a person.
South Island Perceived Temperature (F)
South Island Perceived Temperature (C)
Average South Island Temperatures by Month
Daily highs (averaged for the month) usually give the best indication of the weather. A significantly lower mean and low generally just means it gets colder at night.
|Month||Avg. High (°F)||Avg. Mean (°F)||Avg. Low (°F)|
|Month||Avg. High (°C)||Avg. Mean (°C)||Avg. Low (°C)|
Precipitation (Rain or Snow)
If dry weather is what you’re after, the months with the lowest chance of significant precipitation in South Island are July, March, and then May. Note that we define “significant precipitation” as .1 inches or more in this section. The lowest chance of rain or snow occurs around late January and early February. For example, on the week of January 29th there are no days of precipitation on average. By contrast, it’s most likely to rain or snow in mid December with an average of 1 days of significant precipitation the week of December 17th.
When can you find snow in South Island? Weather stations report no annual snow. Please note that a value of 0 for snow in the graph below may either mean there was no snow, or that snow is unreported.
Chance of Precipitation
The graph below shows the % chance of rainy and snowy days in South Island.
Snow on the Ground
The graph below shows the average snow on the ground in South Island (in).
Average Rain and Snow by Month
|Month||Daily Chance of Rain||Average Snow Depth (in)||Total Precipitation (in)|
|Month||Daily Chance of Rain||Average Snow Depth (cm)||Total Precipitation (cm)|
Humidity and Wind
South Island has some very humid months, and above average humidity throughout the year. The least humid month is October (65.9% relative humidity), and the most humid month is August (77.4%).
Wind in South Island is usually calm. The windiest month is October, followed by November and January. October’s average wind speed of around 6 knots (6.9 MPH or 11.2 KPH) is considered “a light breeze.” Maximum sustained winds (the highest speed for the day lasting more than a few moments) are at their highest in mid October where average top sustained speeds reach 13.6 knots, which is considered a moderate breeze.
Relative Humidity (%)
The graph below shows the average % humidity by month in South Island.
The graph below shows wind speed (max and average) in knots.
Average Wind Speeds
Show Wind Speeds
All wind speeds are in knots. 1 knot = 1.15 MPH or 1.85 KPH.
|Month||Avg. Wind||Avg. Wind Feel||Sustained High Wind||High Wind Feel|
|Jan||5.5||Light breeze||11.6||Significant breeze|
|Feb||5.1||Light breeze||10.1||Gentle breeze|
|Mar||4.9||Light breeze||10.1||Significant breeze|
|Apr||4.3||Light breeze||8.9||Gentle breeze|
|May||4.5||Light breeze||8.7||Significant breeze|
|Jun||4.5||Light breeze||8.6||Gentle breeze|
|Jul||4.5||Light breeze||8.4||Significant breeze|
|Aug||4.3||Light breeze||8.3||Gentle breeze|
|Sep||5.1||Light breeze||10.2||Significant breeze|
|Oct||6||Light breeze||12.3||Significant breeze|
|Nov||5.8||Light breeze||11.9||Significant breeze|
|Dec||5.3||Light breeze||11||Significant breeze|
Show Relative Humidity by Month
|Month||Avg. Relative Humidity|
Is it Safe to Travel to South Island?
Our best data indicates this area is generally safe. As of Oct 07, 2019 there are no travel advisories or warnings for New Zealand; exercise normal security precautions. Check this page for any recent changes or regions to avoid: Travel Advice and Advisories. This advisory was last updated on Sep 30, 2019.
The Busiest and Least Crowded Months
The busiest month for tourism in South Island, New Zealand is March, followed by July and June. Prices for hotels and flights will be most expensive during these months, though you can save if you purchase well in advance. Tourists are unlikely to visit South Island in November. Those willing to visit at these times will likely find it the least expensive month.
Estimated Tourism by Month
Most Popular Months to Visit
Overall South Island Travel Experience by Season
Fall (March through May)
Humidity and temperatures combine to make this season feel moderately cold. Highs range from 69.2°F (20.7°C) and 55.4°F (13°C) with colder temperatures in the later months. Rain is rare with 3 to 4 days of significant precipitation per month. Fall is the second busiest for tourism, which makes it a good time for those looking for things to do.
Winter (June through August)
The middle-year months have cold weather with high temperatures that are still jacket weather. These months see the least precipitation with 3 to 4 days of precipitation per month. June – August is the busiest season for tourism in South Island, so lodging and other accommodations may cost more than usual.
Spring (September through November)
Spring daily highs range from 69.9°F (21.1°C) and 57.3°F (14.1°C), which will feel chilly given the humidity and wind. It rains or snows a significant amount: approximately 4 days per month. Tourism is fairly slow during these months due to the weather, so hotels may be lower priced.
Summer (December through February)
Weather is somewhat cool this time of year in South Island to be enjoyable for warm weather travelers. The average high during this season is between 73.1°F (22.8°C) and 67.2°F (19.6°C). On average, it rains or snows a fair amount: consistently 4 times per month. These times of year are the slowest with tourists.