Useful Info about New Zealand

New Zealand Weather


Rainfall is generally plentiful in New Zealand, with most cities receiving between 620 mm or 24 in as in Christchurch and 1,317 mm or 51.9 in Whangarei of precipitation annually.[2] Rainfall is normally distributed evenly throughout the year in most parts of the country, especially in the South Island. Northern and eastern parts of the country, including AucklandChristchurch and Wellington see a slight winter maximum consistent with a Mediterranean climate, although the difference between the wettest and driest months is too small to justify the designation. Summer and autumn maxima can be found in places closer to the southwest, such as Invercargill and Milford Sound.

How much rain a place receives is highly dependent on topography. The Southern Alps, the North Island Volcanic Plateau and surrounding ranges can produce large variation in rainfalls in places barely tens of

kilometres apart. Milford Sound receives over 6,700 mm of the rainfall a year on average while barely 100 km away Alexandra in Central Otago receives only slightly greater than 300 mm annually, giving it a borderline oceanic/ semi arid climate


As with many islands in the world, the influence of the ocean curtails any extremes in coastal temperature. The greater temperature ranges are found in the interior of the Canterbury and Southland regions, and especially Central Otago. Central Otago and inland Canterbury’s Mackenzie Basin have the closest New Zealand has to continental climates, being generally drier and less directly modified by the ocean. These areas can experience summer temperatures in the low 30s °C (high 80s/low 90s °F) and snow and severe frosts in winter, the latter exacerbated frost in the river valleys and basins.

Annual mean temperature

Mean annual temperatures range from 10 °C (50 °F) in the south to 16 °C (61 °F) in the north.[5] The coldest month is usually July and the warmest month is usually January or February. Generally there are relatively small variations between summer and winter temperatures. An example of this is Auckland which has a variation of just 9 °C or 16 °F between the average mid-winter high temperature (14.7 °C or 58.5 °F) and average mid-summer high temperature (23.7 °C or 74.7 °F). Temperature variation throughout the day is also relatively small. The exception to this is inland areas and to the east of the ranges with daily variations that can be over 25 °C and differences of up to 14 °C between the average summer and winter high temperatures. Temperatures also drop about 0.7 °C or 1.3 °F for every 100 m of altitude.

The two largest cities on the South Island, Christchurch and Dunedin, have mean yearly maxima of 17.3 °C (63.1 °F) and 14.6 °C (58.3 °F) and yearly mean minima of 7.3 °C (45.1 °F) and 7.6 °C (45.7 °F) respectively.Summer

Daily maximum temperatures are normally in the mid to low 20s (°C) over most of the country.. Eastern parts of the South Island are highly susceptible to the norwester, a Fohn wind which can result in temperatures going into the high 30s and even the low 40s. Rangiora in Canterbury holds the record maximum of 42.4 °C recorded in 1973, with Christchurch recording 41.6 °C in that same year. More recently, Timaru reached 41.3 °C on Waitangi Day in 2011. Due to these winds, the cooler southern cities of Dunedin and Invercargill have higher all-time record temperatures than places further north such as WellingtonAuckland and Whangarei.

Two very useful websites I use a lot:

Water Flows

Your attention is paramount as flow on our rivers can change dramatically and very quickly. It can be a matter of life or death so be prudent.

Ecan records water levels at 155 river and lake sites in Canterbury, from the Clarence River/Waiau Toa in the north to the Waitaki River in the south. We measure river flow at 132 of these sites and this information is combined with water level data to produce continuous flow records. We report this alongside data from 19 other sites recorded by partner agencies such as the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research and Christchurch City Council.

Here are links for the regions of the South island

West Coast –

Nelson Tasman –

Otago         –

Southland – 

Driving in New Zealand and New Zealand Roads

What’s different about driving in New Zealand?

We drive on the left hand side of the road and our vehicles seat the driver on the right.
Always drive on the left hand side of the road in New Zealand. If you’re used to driving on the right hand side of the road, this can be a challenge to remember especially when pulling out into traffic. Remember – if you are driving, you must be seated in the middle of the road – your front seat passenger will be the on edge of the road.

Never drive when you are tired and take regular breaks.
It doesn’t matter what country you are driving in, it is extremely dangerous to drive when you are tired. Visitors to New Zealand might be tired because of jet-lag, early starts and late nights, or because they had a long day driving the day before. Because driving in New Zealand can be very different to other countries, you need to be well-rested and alert – tired drivers are dangerous drivers.

Many roads have varying conditions, and can be narrow, windy and cover hilly terrain.
New Zealand’s diverse terrain means roads are often narrow, hilly and windy with plenty of sharp corners. Outside of the main cities, there are very few motorways. Most of our roads are single lane in each direction without barriers in between. You may also encounter gravel roads. It’s important to allow plenty of time, go slow and pull over in a safe place if traffic wants to pass from behind you. Take plenty of breaks so that you stay alert.

It’s easy to underestimate drive times when looking at a map.
Maps don’t show how narrow and windy roads can be. What might look like a short trip can take a long time. For example: Hokitika to the town of Haast, a popular drive for visitors stopping to see New Zealand’s glaciers, is 278km (172mi) on the map and may look like a short 3-hour drive. However, drivers should allow for up to 4 hours’ of driving time because of the windy road. This is common all over New Zealand –always allow for more time than you think you’ll need.

Weather-related hazards are commonplace.

In New Zealand, you might experience four seasons in one day. It’s possible to start your day off with blue sky and sunshine, but arrive at your destination in rain and hail. Because of this, weather related hazards on the road can occur at any time. Always check the weather forecast before departing, and adjust your plans accordingly. If you’re driving in the South Island in winter, spring or late autumn, snow is a possibility – ensure that you’re carrying chains if a cold snap has been forecast. Most rental companies will provide you with chains and demonstrate how to fit them.

Not all New Zealand rail crossings have automatic alarms.
Only half of the 1500 rail crossings in New Zealand have automatic alarms. When red lights are flashing it means a train is coming so stop and only proceed once the lights have stopped flashing. Other crossings have a ‘Railway Crossing’ sign and give way or stop signs only. If you see this, stop, look both ways and only cross the track if there are no trains approaching.In addition to the above, it’s a good idea to get familiar with important New Zealand road rules before your arrival.Please refer to the following links for info on drivers licences, road conditions

Bringing fishing gear in New Zealand

To slow the spread of the invasive alga Didymo, in New Zealand waterways, MAF Biosecurity New Zealand requires all used freshwater fishing equipment brought into New Zealand to be clean and dry.

When you enter New Zealand you must declare all freshwater activity equipment on your Passenger Arrival Card and to a Quarantine Inspector. This includes all fishing equipment such as rods, reels, tackle boxes, nets, boots, waders, fishing flies and any feathers or other non-artificial material used for fly tying.

As you are going through Customs, your fishing equipment will be inspected and if MAF inspectors are not satisfied that the gear is clean and dry, they will arrange for the equipment to be treated (which takes time and is likely to be inconvenient) before giving it biosecurity clearance.

MAFBNZ staff are required to treat all used freshwater fishing equipment they determine or suspect is not completely dry inside and out, regardless of whether it has been cleaned before coming to New Zealand. Felt-soled waders and boots are of particular concern. To avoid inconvenience, anglers coming to New Zealand should bring rubber-soled footwear to use instead of felt-soled.

All freshwater fishing equipment including rods, reels, tackle boxes, nets and waders should be clean and free of organic residue. These items must comply with the conditions of the Import Health Standard for Equipment Associated with Animals or Water.

See the MAF Biosecurity website for cleaning instructions.

Fishing flies are permitted entry but all non-artificial material for fly tying must comply with the conditions of the Import Health Standard for Feathers.

Please refer to for full details about restrictions on camping, fishing and water equipment.See the Biosecurity New Zealand web site for more details about Didymo

Fishing Licences

Every person who wants to go fresh water fishing in New Zealand must purchase a licence.

Your licence can be purchased online prior to your arrival in New Zealand. Please allow at least three weeks as snail mail travels very slow.

Mousse years

What is a beech mast?

When beech trees flower they produce large quantities of seed (masts). This happens only once every 2 to 6 years. Masts are triggered by a summer that is warmer than the previous one and by tracking temperatures we can predict when this will occur. 2017-18 is predicted to be a mast year

High levels of seed production (mast) in our beech forests is causing a rodent and stoat.Though it has a bad effect on our native birds population it is an exceptional opportunity for anglers

Trout typically increase in size by 20 to 30 per cent when feeding on mice. During a mast season there are some very large double figure trophy trout in the beech forest of West Coast and Canterbury High Country streams and waters.”

The explosion can be very wide spread but sometimes very localised. It can vary from a river to another one though being close to each other.

From mid November onwards you will easily notice the phenomenon as you will literally walk on mice on the road side or banks of a river.

It is a very exciting time, but do not be mistaken to a false idea that trout are only feeding on mice. They generally eat the rodents at night and during normal fishing hours tend to rest in deep pools or deep fast waters. They will generally respond to heavy weighted nymphs or big floating terrestrials.

It has to be said that a 5 pounds weighing 8 or 9 pounds is not a good looking fish. It is big and generally only the body balloons while the head remains small.

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Hanmer Springs, North Canterbury, New Zealand