Does It Snow In New Zealand? From Hobbiton to Snowy Slopes?

Does it snow in New Zealand

The question: Does it snow in New Zealand? If you’re planning a trip to New Zealand and wondering what the weather might be like, you’ve come to the right place.

For many people, the image of New Zealand is one of a tropical paradise with endless beaches and warm, sunny weather. However, as you may or may not know, New Zealand is actually a country with a diverse range of climates and landscapes, including some areas that experience snowfall during the winter months.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the weather in New Zealand and answer the question of whether or not it snows in this beautiful country. We’ll explore the different regions of New Zealand and their respective climates, as well as some of the best places to go for a snowy winter vacation.

So whether you’re planning a trip to New Zealand or simply curious about the weather there, this post has something for you. Let’s get started!

Auckland, New Zealand | Does it Snow in New Zealand?
Auckland, New Zealand

Does It Snow In New Zealand?

Although New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere and therefore has an opposite climate to most of Europe and North America, it still experiences a wide range of temperatures due to its long coastline and diverse landscape.

The answer to the question, “does it snow in New Zealand?” is Yes, It does snow in New Zealand.  But snowfall is highly seasonal and depends on which region you are visiting. The North Island generally has warmer weather, while the South Island is cooler and experiences more precipitation.

Snowfall usually begins in late April or early May on the high peaks of the Southern Alps, which run along the length of the South Island. During June, July, and August, snowfall is common in all mountainous regions of New Zealand, as well as some lower-lying areas such as Queenstown.

While snowfall is certainly possible during a visit to New Zealand (especially if you are planning to go skiing or snowboarding), it’s important to be aware that conditions can change quickly. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for all eventualities when traveling.

How Often Does It Snow In New Zealand?

While it does snow in New Zealand, it is not a country known for its snowy winters. The snowfall is most common in the mountainous regions of the South Island, such as Queenstown and Wanaka. The North Island also sees occasional snowfall, but it is much less common than on the South Island.

When Does it Snow In New Zealand?

Lake Hayes, Queenstown, New Zealand in winter | Does it Snow in New Zealand?
Lake Hayes, Queenstown, New Zealand in winter

In general, the snow season in New Zealand runs from June to early October. However, this can vary depending on the region you visit. For example, the South Island (home to some of the country’s best ski fields) usually has a longer and more consistent snow season than the North Island.

If you’re planning a trip to New Zealand specifically to go skiing or snowboarding, it’s a good idea to check the forecasts in advance and plan your trip for a time when there is likely to be snow on the ground.

The earlier in the season you go, the greater the chance of there being snow conditions can also vary significantly from one year to the next, so even if you’ve been before, it’s always worth checking conditions before you travel.

The Climate in New Zealand

The climate in New Zealand is mild and mainly influenced by two large ocean currents, the cooler Tasman current from the southeast and the warmer North Pacific current from the northwest. These meet around New Zealand, creating a varied climate.

The southern and eastern parts of New Zealand (including Stewart Island/Rakiura) are closest to the Tasman current and have a more temperate climate. The far north of the North Island is subtropical, while inland areas are arider.

The West Coast of the South Island is wet and cool all year round due to the prevailing westerly winds off the Tasman Sea, while the East Coast is drier and experiences more extreme temperatures. Christchurch is further inland on the East Coast and has a semi-continental climate with hot, dry summers and cold winters.

The Southern Alps running down the center of the South Island create an east-west divide in terms of rainfall patterns – generally speaking, areas to the west of the Alps experience high rainfall, while areas to the east are drier.

The Best Places to See Snow in New Zealand

Akaroa, Christchurch, New Zealand | Does it Snow in New Zealand?
Akaroa, Christchurch, New Zealand

If you love snow, then you will be in for a treat when you travel to New Zealand. Snow is a common occurrence in many parts of the country, and it is one of the main reasons why so many people from all over the world flock to New Zealand each year.

One of the best places to see snow in New Zealand is Mount Ruapehu. This is one of the country’s most popular ski resorts, and it receives an average of 10 meters of snow each year.

If you want to experience some of the best skiing and snowboarding in New Zealand, then Mount Ruapehu is the place to be.

Another great place to see snow in New Zealand is Mount Hutt. This ski resort receives an astounding 11 meters of snow each year, making it one of the snowiest places in all of New Zealand.

If you want to enjoy some world-class skiing and snowboarding, then Mount Hutt is the place for you. So, if you are looking for some amazing places to see snow in New Zealand, be sure to check out Mount Ruapehu and Mount Hutt.

Both of these ski resorts receive a significant amount of snow each year, and they offer some of the best skiing and snowboarding in all of New Zealand.

What Are Some Popular Things to Do in New Zealand During the Winter Months?

New Zealand Mountains
New Zealand Mountains

New Zealand is a beautiful country with a wide range of activities and attractions to enjoy, and the winter months are no exception. Here are just a few ideas of things to do in New Zealand during the winter season:

Skiing and Snowboarding

If you’re a fan of winter sports, New Zealand has several ski resorts that offer great skiing and snowboarding opportunities. The most popular ski resorts are located on the South Island, such as the Remarkables and Coronet Peak, but there are also some options on the North Island, like Whakapapa and Turoa.

Hot Springs and Thermal Baths

New Zealand is home to several hot springs and thermal baths, which are perfect for warming up on a cold winter’s day. Some popular options include the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools on the South Island and the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua on the North Island.

Wine Tastings

The cooler temperatures of winter are ideal for enjoying a glass of wine, and New Zealand has a thriving wine industry with a range of wineries to visit. The Marlborough region in the South Island is known for its Sauvignon Blanc, while Hawke’s Bay in the North Island is known for its Chardonnay and Syrah.

Whale Watching

While summer is the most popular time for whale watching in New Zealand, the winter months can also be a great time to spot these majestic creatures. The best place to go is Kaikoura on the South Island, which is known for its resident population of sperm whales.

Scenic Drives

New Zealand has some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world, and a winter drive through the country can be a truly magical experience. Some popular routes include the West Coast of the South Island and the Thermal Explorer Highway on the North Island.

These are just a few of the many things to do in New Zealand during the winter season. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful country.


In conclusion, it does snow in New Zealand, but not as much as you might think. The North Island sees the most snow, particularly on the central plateau and around Mount Ruapehu.

The South Island also gets its fair share of snow, especially in the Southern Alps. So if you’re looking to hit the slopes while you’re down under, New Zealand is definitely the place to be!

Related Articles

FAQs About Snow In New Zealand

Do You Get Snow in New Zealand?

While it doesn’t snow all over New Zealand and rarely at lower altitudes, it is common on our mountains and on the South Island. Skiing and snowboarding are popular sports here.

Where Can I See Snow in New Zealand?

You can find snow on both islands, but it is most common on the South Island. The Southern Alps run right through the middle of the South Island, and many of our ski fields are located here. Some of the popular ones include Mount Hutt, Coronet Peak, and Mount Ruapehu.

Is It True That It Snows in New Zealand?

Yes, it is true! It snows in New Zealand, and it can snow quite heavily at times. However, snow is not common everywhere in New Zealand. Snow usually falls only in the mountainous areas of the country, such as the Southern Alps.

Can I Build a Snowman in New Zealand?

Yes, you can build a snowman in New Zealand! In fact, many people do. Just be sure to dress warmly first!