When to visit: Making the most of Christchurch's climate

Visitors always ask – what’s the best time to visit Christchurch and Canterbury in New Zealand?

Our answer – tomorrow. Our distinct seasons here in Canterbury, New Zealand, mean you can choose the harvest of autumn, the powder of winter, the blossoms of spring or the beaches of summer. 

There aren’t many cities in the world where you can ski today and surf tomorrow - all within an hour of the city centre.

There are weather highlights in every season – here’s a few insider tips on Christchurch weather, from Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism:

Winter

From June to August, Christchurch cools off. Canadian residents wouldn’t call it “cold” – but North Islanders beg to differ. Regardless, it’s a true winter wonderland.

There’s no better base for winter in the southern hemisphere, with 13 fantastic ski areas and a wide range of après activities – from whale watching to alpine spa villages and soaking in natural thermal pools.

Winter attire turns to beanies and boots, and our “Ocean to Alps” view goes snow-capped. Whether from central city hotels or the city’s Port Hills, views are panoramic and dramatic, stretching from the Kaikouras toward Arthur’s Pass.

Winter rainfall may be less than other times of the year, and the dry conditions make it easy to get out and enjoy the slopes – or at least the spectacular views.

Like most regions in New Zealand, Christchurch and Canterbury has a relatively high proportion of sunlight during the winter months.

Average Winter High Temperature – 12

Average Winter Low Temperature – 3

Our picks on “where to make the best of winter”

  • Mt Hutt – Canterbury’s largest ski area
  • Porters – The closest ski area to Christchurch
  • Kaikoura – New Zealand’s leading eco-tourism destination, for whale watching and wildlife cruises

Summer

From December to February, sunshine and high temperatures come to Christchurch and Canterbury. Within an hour of Christchurch city, there are over 40 safe swimming beaches, from hidden bays to dramatic coastline, surf clubs and sandy peninsulas.

Most places in New Zealand receive over 2,000 hours of sunshine a year. During summer, daylight can last until up to 9:30pm.

Compared to many other countries, New Zealand experiences relatively little air pollution, which makes the UV rays in our sunlight very strong during the summer months.

Average Summer High Temperature – 22

Average Summer Low Temperature – 12

Our picks on “where to make the most of summer”

  • Akaroa – A French-inspired village with spectacular harbour views
  • Aoraki Mount Cook National Park – summer’s special iceberg cruises
  • Arthur’s Pass National Park – countless day walks and overnight hikes

Autumn

From March to May, brilliant autumn colours can be accompanied by excellent, settled weather conditions, making it a fantastic time to visit Christchurch and Canterbury.

Colourful changing leaves line the streets in Christchurch’s historic districts including Fendalton and the University suburbs.

Autumn and spring in Christchurch are particularly pleasant with average daytime temperatures ranging between 17°C to 23°C, with night temperatures dropping to around 13°C.

Average Autumn High Temperature – 18

Average Autumn Low Temperature – 8

Our picks on “where to make the most of autumn”

  • Waipara Wine Valley – including the Mud House Winery and Pegasus Bay
  • Selwyn District – including Melton Estate
  • Central South Island – from Caroline Bay to Waimate

Spring

From September to November, New Zealand’s spring weather brings blossoms, festivals and new beginnings – signalled by the bleating of wee lambs in the hills and ducklings on the local Avon River. 

Known as “The Garden City,” Christchurch turns on an amazing medley of colours in springtime.

Spring in Christchurch is as beautiful as anywhere in the world – and “Daffodil Day” at Otahuna Lodge is a “don’t miss.”

Average Spring High Temperature – 17

Average Spring Low Temperature – 7

Our picks on “where to make the most of spring”

  • Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa
  • Terrace Downs Resort
  • Rangitata Rafting

 

So come, enjoy our varied seasons, any time of the year!

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