West Coast Weather & Climate
We won't deny it - yes, it does rain on the West Coast, but not as much as you might think and it's usually over quickly. West Coast weather is dramatic and therefore pretty exciting - when it rains, it pours and when it's sunny, it's beautifully sunny. Just remember the West Coast is over 600km long - the same distance as Auckland to Wellington - so it makes sense that if it's raining in one area of the West Coast, it's just as likely to be sunny and fine elsewhere on the West Coast.
Places on the West Coast actually experience more sunshine hours than many other places in New Zealand and there are not many middle-of-the-road grey, overcast days.
A few more tips that you may not know about our weather are:
- West Coast winters are very special. They are often the driest part of the year and consist of mild temperatures - we are much warmer than Christchurch and Queenstown. Frosts are few and often there are weeks in a row of near perfect sunshine with fresh snow on the mountains for the added bonus of good views.
- Summers on the West Coast can get so hot the only place to be is a lake or river. We even had a drought in 2012.
- In the north, around Karamea, the climate borders on subtropical much of the year, evidenced by lush groves of nikau palms and thriving subtropical plantings.
- During winter months the alpine passes of Arthur's, Lewis and Haast can be icy and do periodically get snow. For further information and current winter driving conditions, please visit the NZ Transpost Agency website.
- It does not generally snow along the coastline, it's a once in a great while event. If it does, everyone gets very excited and act like little kids.
- Spring is generally our wettest time of the year.
West Coast Average Temperatures
See what the average daily temperatures (highs and lows) are. Please take note that even though temperatures can seem moderate, the sun is "strong" so skin burn times can be quick and things can feel much hotter!
Summer: (Dec - Feb) 12-25°C / 53-77°F
Autumn: (March - May) 9-17°C / 48-63°F
Winter: (June - August) 5-15°C / 41-57°F
Spring: (Sept - Nov) 9-17°C / 48-63°F
West Coast Weather Forecasts and Warnings
For accurate information before starting your journey, or while enroute, it is a good idea to be safe and check ahead. Find out what the regional short term and extended weather forecasts are by visiting the MetService website. There is a great downloadable Rural Weather app - available for a small fee.
Please note that weather forecasts can and do change regularly and we accept no responsibility should you find the weather here different to what was forecast during your stay.
Fun in the Sun
West Coast Sunsets