New Zealand in June: The Beginning of the Kiwi Winter

June is when the year begins to get really cold in New Zealand and the need for warm and protective clothing becomes very pronounced. June signals the beginning of the winter season in New Zealand.

June is also the time of year when most of the country’s ski fields and mountains open up for snowsport around South Island and the Pinnacles mountain ranges. Mount Hutt and Coronet Peak are slo usually open to the public for skiing and snowboarding during June but as a result of the already unpredictable weather patterns of New Zealand. 

Mount Hutt
Mount Hutt

Weather in New Zealand in June 

June becomes the beginning of the winter season across the country. Polar blasts, strong gusts of cold wind coming from the South Pole throwing the country into the throes of a wintry chill.

  • Temperatures tend to vary between -5 °C as the lowest temperatures and the highs are usually recorded around 20 °C. While this may be generalized to New Zealand, differing areas of the country experience varying degrees of the winter in June.

  • The further south you head in New Zealand, the colder it becomes, especially during the nighttime while daytime temperatures might remain constant. 

  • The central regions of both the North and South Island tend to also experience the more extreme ranges of temperatures in the winter and central regions like Otago are known for being colder than other regions. 
Otago in Winter
Otago in Winter
  • The West Coast of the South Island also notably receives more than average rainfall so be prepared to experience cold winter rains in cities like Chirstchurch.

  • Rainfall is still quite prevalent in the more humid regions of the North Island, especially towards areas like Auckland and Northland. 

  • The ski fields of the North Island such as Ruapehu and Taranaki generally tend to open up during June as well, while the South Island ski slopes of Nelson, Queenstown, Wanaka, Canterbury and Otago also open up during this time. 
Ruapehu Mountain in Winter
Ruapehu Mountain in Winter

Where to Go in New Zealand in June

As mentioned above, June is one of the best times to head to New Zealand if you’re a fan of snow sports.

  • With ski fields all around the country opening, it is an amazing time to experience the beauty of winter’s first snow fall and ski through that freshly dumped soft and pillowy powder snow that skiers and snowboarders fantasize about. 

  • Another popular pastime amongst locals is to head out on long, scenic, mountain drives that snake up through the dramatic landscape of the South Island. Be sure to tread your tires with the appropriate snow fittings, as driving up the snowy roads during winter can get particularly dangerous.
Milford Sound Road
Milford Sound Road

  • Throngs of people ice skating becomes a common enough sight at local ponds and lakes frozen over, but of course you can take up ice skating at local indoor areas too! 

  • The South Island transforms overnight into a winter wonderland and is heavily travelled to as a result of its jaw-droppingly beautiful sights. Walking along the trails of Aoraki National Park, while sure to be chilly, will also offer willing travellers some of the most stunning views of the flanking mountains and glaciers that they can hope for. 
Aoraki National Park
Aoraki National Park
  • The North Island’s ski slopes like Ruahepu and Taranaki open up in June after their first significant snowfall of the year. Mount Egmont National Park in the North Island also offers lots of trails and walking tracks that are sure to provide picture-perfect postcard moments too!

  • So be sure to head to the volcanoes of the North Island, where snow is most likely to be found. The adventure sports that the South Island is known for, like bungee jumping, jet boating, and other activities are usually still operating during the winter and only shut on days of bad or dangerous weather. 

  • June is also considered to be the low season for tourism in New Zealand so expect to find flights and accommodation at prices that you would not dream of finding them at other times of the year so book those tickets now!

Events in New Zealand in June

The advent of the winter season is quite a big occasion for the Kiwis, and this is evidenced by the arrival of the Queenstown Winter Festival.

  • The Queenstown Winter Festival comprises a week-long extravaganza that consists of musical performances, dramatic exhibitions, art galleries and lots of other events at the festival. The festival is bookended by amazing fireworks displays to kick things off and close the festival in style. 

  • June also marks the arrival of the Maori New Year, known as Matariki. Matariki is celebrated throughout the country and it has a very fairground feel to the celebrations. Overflowing spreads of Maori and regional foods, singing and dancing are all incorporated along with galleries showcasing Maori art during Matariki celebrations. 

What to Pack for New Zealand in June

With the advent of the Kiwi winter, it is essential to pack warm, waterproof, and protective clothing as an important part of your luggage. There will hardly be any need for summery tees or shirts, besides as loungewear.

  • Woollen beanies, socks, and sweaters will be especially appreciated during the cold winter nights on the South Island especially. Waterproof gloves and boots will also be hugely beneficial if you plan on going out to trek and tramp along the walking trails. 

  • Winter clothing can also be bought in New Zealand at most stores and skiing equipment and clothing can even be rented so that you don’t have to lug heavy equipment and clothing all the way.

  • Waterproof clothing can be quite important in Auckland in particular as the city experiences most of the year’s rainfall during June and July.

This post was published by Ken Chiramel

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