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What's the weather in Queenstown really like?

Date: 8 May 2019

Queenstown: stunning in every season. No matter what time of year you decide to visit Queenstown, you’ll want to know what the weather will be like so you can pack and plan accordingly. We like to use MetService for the daily weather forecast. Here’s what you can expect from the weather in Queenstown from winter to summer. 

Summer

Queenstown in summer

In the summer, Queenstown is a beautiful destination for family holidays and solo travellers alike, with incredible hiking through varied landscapes, endless water activities on clear alpine lakes and long summer days to soak up the sunny weather.

Located in the southern hemisphere, New Zealand seasons are opposite from those in the northern hemisphere. This means that summer in Queenstown spans over the months of December, January and February. If you’re visiting Queenstown in the summer, you’ll experience wonderful weather, with long, sunny days reaching temperatures of up to 30°C (86°F) and cooling down at night. At peak summer, the sun will rise as early as 5am and the sunset is as late as 10pm, meaning you’ll have loads of time to maximize daylight hours.

The longest day of the year, the summer solstice, is on 22 December every year, so if you’re planning a trip to New Zealand for the Christmas holiday, you’ll find that Queenstown weather in December is generally quite warm and perfect for swimming in the lake or enjoying any number of outdoor activities.

While the sun is shining for most of the day, mornings and evenings can still be quite cool. Be sure to pack lightweight layers, sunblock, a hat and a water bottle to stay protected and hydrated from all the weather elements.

Some of our favourite activities in Queenstown summer include kayaking in Milford Sound, touring the Walter Peak Farm by horseback and hiring bicycles to take around the stunning landscapes. 

Month Low temperature High temperature Average rainy days
December 9.0°C (48°F) 25°C (77°F) 10
January 10°C (50°F) 30°C (86°F) 7
February 9.0°C (48°F) 28°C (82°F) 6

Autumn

Queenstown in autumn

The weather in autumn makes it one of the most beautiful times of year to visit Queenstown. While temperatures are cooling down, the leaves are changing colours and the landscapes turn into a rainbow with red, orange, yellow and green trees set against blue lakes and skies. Autumn in New Zealand starts in March and runs through April and May, with temperatures ranging from 2°C (36°F) to 25°C (77°F).

While Queenstown isn’t as busy in the autumn as it is in the summer, you can still partake in all of the outdoors activities this town is famous for during this beautiful season. As it’s shoulder season, you can often find great deals on experiences like overnight cruises in Doubtful Sound and jetboating in Lake Wakatipu.

Another great activity to put on the itinerary is the Arrowtown Autumn Festival which runs every April. The weather in Queenstown in April is brisk with often blue skies, though it can be overcast and rain. Be sure to pack warm layers, including hats, scarves and gloves, as well as a rain jacket to prepare for all kinds of weather.

Month Low temperature High temperature Average rainy days
March 7.0°C (45°F) 25°C (77°F) 7
April 4°C (39°F) 21°C (70°F) 7
May 2°C (36°F) 18°C (64°F) 9

Winter

Queenstown in winter

Queenstown in winter is equally as appealing, with world-renowned ski fields and thriving nightlife. Winter weather in Queenstown turns the region into a winter wonderland.Things pick up and town gets busier again during the winter months of June, July and August. Those chasing snow will love visiting Queenstown in winter, with 4 ski fields located close to town boasting incredible skiing and snowboarding, sledding and tobogganing, and of course, the après ski. Temperatures will drop to -2°C (28°F), but on a clear sunny day it can be as warm as 15°C (59°F).

While ski season starts in June, July is peak ski season. The weather in Queenstown in June and July is perfect for skiing, with plenty of bluebird days with gorgeous blue skies. Make sure you include the Queenstown Winter Festival on your itinerary. This annual festival runs at the end of June and the programme includes entertainment, live music, fireworks, comedy, family-friendly activities and more.

If skiing isn’t your thing, some of the best activities for Queenstown winter include cruising the lake on the TSS Earnslaw and exploring the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves. Make sure you pack plenty of warm, waterproof layers and bundle up in scarves, hats and gloves.

Month Low temperature High temperature Average rainy days
June -1°C (30°F) 15°C (59°F) 9
July -2°C (28°F) 14°C (57°F) 7
August 0°C (32°F) 15°C (59°F) 9

Spring

Queenstown in spring

Spring weather is lovely in Queenstown. While the ski season in New Zealand is one of the longest (it can run all the way to October), spring officially starts in September. The flowers are beginning to bloom and the valleys are returning to their lush green colour. Spring is officially September, October and November, with the weather in September and October still feeling quite brisk and starting to warm up a bit in November. Temperatures can get as high as 24°C (75°F).

With Daylight Savings happening around the end of September, the number of sunlight hours will start to increase along with the temperatures. However, it will still feel quite brisk, especially in mornings and evenings, so it’s best to pack warm layers. This makes spring in Queenstown a wonderful time to go hiking to maximize the longer days and cooler weather.

In addition to exploring the hikes in the area, our favourite springtime activities in Queenstown include taking a day cruise to Milford Sound, exploring Stewart Island and skiing and stargazing in Cardrona

Month Low temperature High temperature Average rainy days
September 2°C (36°F) 19°C (66°F) 9
October 4°C (39°F) 21°C (70°F) 9
November 6°C (42°F) 24°C (75°F) 8

No matter what time of year you decide to visit Queenstown, there is a plethora of activities for you and the whole family to enjoy. Pack layers, sunblack and a rain jacket and you’ll be set! For more fun things to do in Queenstown check out these experiences you won’t want to miss. 

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