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Saturday 26th July
New Zealand's seasons are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere. 1 September is acknowledged as the first day of spring and 1 March as the beginning of autumn.
The top of the North Island is sub-tropical and below this the climate is temperate.
Mountain ranges extend down much of the length of New Zealand, with the regions lying to the west of the ranges experiencing much higher rainfall than to the east. As a result, much of the West Coast of the South Island is lush, temperate rainforest.
The drier, eastern regions average more than 2000 hours of sunshine a year and contain the main wine-growing and beach areas. Snow conditions are usually only found in mountainous areas and both islands offer skiing from June through to September - October.
More about regional differences in climate
Free from the influence of any close landmass, seasonal temperature variations are small - approximately 10° C (18° F) between winter and summer, the North being generally warmer than the South.
Summer temperatures average 20 to 26° C (68 to 80° F) though it can reach into the high 30s. The highest recorded temperature in New Zealand is 42° C (107° F). Spring temperatures range from 15 to 20° C (55 to 70° F). Autumn temperatures are only slightly cooler than spring. Winter temperatures range from 5 to 15° C (40 to 60° F), depending on where you are in the country.
Over most of the North Island there are around 130 rain days a year (days with at least 1.0mm/.04in of rain) and about 235 sunny days. In some places in the drier eastern regions there are fewer than 110 rain days.
In the South Island, areas with annual rainfall under 600mm (24in) generally have about 80 rain days a year and around 285 sunny days. In the far south the frequency of rain increases sharply, rain-days exceeding 200 a year in Stewart Island and Fiordland.
A pleasant feature of the New Zealand climate is the high proportion of sunshine during the winter months.
New Zealand has snow in the winter months of May to September, predominantly across mountainous regions. There is a lively winter sports scene, with ski fields throughout the country. Check the snow box on the interactive map to view snowfall across New Zealand.
More information can be found on the following New Zealand snow sites:
Four Corners provides links to New Zealand's major and specialist weather reporting sites (including marine and mountain reports).
MetService is the leading New Zealand weather information service. They provide services for the public and for a wide range of domestic and international commercial customers including the film and television industry.
The National Institute of Water and Atmosphere (NIWA) provides information on current climate conditions across New Zealand including soil moisture, sea temperatures and river flows.
The NZ section of the Weather Underground website features weather forecasts and statistics for 38 New Zealand centres.
Film New Zealand kindly acknowledges the National Institute of Water and Atmosphere (NIWA) as the major source of this climate information. For more details, please visit www.niwascience.co.nz.
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