Everything you need to know about Wellington's weather & climate

By Experience Oz · September 2023 · 4 min read
New Zealand's capital city, Wellington, is a windy city due to its seaside location on the Cook Strait – it sits on a relatively exposed and unprotected stretch of land that only serves to compound the funnelling of wind from the ocean into the city itself.

Combined with the mild-to-chilly overall climate, Wellington is a “cool” destination even during the summer months, where the temperature rarely ever rises above 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit). While NZ's North Island is generally warmer than it's southern counterpart simply by virtue of a higher longitude, it's by no means what anyone would call hot. Packing appropriately warm clothing is often recommended, especially for those visiting from hotter parts of the world (such as most of Australia). Despite these cooler temperatures, snow is exceptionally rare in Wellington even in the heart of winter, with yearly lows rarely exceeding 4 degrees Celsius (39 degrees Fahrenheit), keep in mind this is not including the nearby mountain peaks.


While not on the level of England or similar countries, New Zealand, and Wellington, in particular, is a moderate-to-high rainy country and city across the board, with an average of around just 169 days of sunshine per year. The winter months are the wettest months, so if you're planning to visit Wellington in either June or July, be sure to pack the appropriate level of wet-weather clothing. Some suggested items include jackets or raincoats as well as umbrellas because, at times, strong winds can make holding an umbrella exceptionally difficult. The yearly rainfall average for Wellington Is 1249mm of precipitation.


Wellington's seasons are fairly distinct from one another, which is especially reflected in the clothing locals can be seen wearing. Summer can be warm enough for t-shirts and shorts, while during the winter months two layers of clothing are generally advised to be worn across the board to ensure an appropriate level of comfort. Choosing the best time of the year to travel to Wellington is almost entirely up to your own personal preference. Those comfortable in the cold will be treated to some spectacular alpine views as the mountains become snow-capped, while those looking to participate in more outdoor activities will no doubt have the summer marked on their calendar instead. The seasons of Wellington can be described roughly as follows:


Wellington's summer weather is famously unpredictable, with days feeling like different seasons within hours. Strong winds can bring cold gusts, so it's wise to dress in layers for versatility. Summer is also the busiest for tourism due to the warm weather and school holidays, making popular attractions crowded from late December to late February. Average summer temperatures: Min 13°C (55°F), Max 20°C (66°F).


One of the more unusual facts about Wellington's weather is that March tends to be the most consistent and stable month of the year, and coupled with the fact that school holidays end halfway through the month makes it one of the most highly-recommended times of the year to visit Wellington. Combine the typically pleasant weather conditions – expect average seasonal minimums of 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit) and 19 degrees Celsius (66 degrees Fahrenheit) – with the changing leaves of many of New Zealand's deciduous trees, and it's easy to see why this season is a popular one to be in Wellington. However, as with many other times throughout the year in Wellington, be prepared to wind; Autumn is especially windy, with the highest recorded wind speeds ever (around 200km per hour!) taking place in April back in the 1960's. A general rule in Wellington in Autumn is 'dress for summer but plan for winter', so if you carry around a light jacket you should be fine for most situations.


Atypical to many other destinations in New Zealand, winter is actually the wettest season of the year in Wellington along with the coldest. Your ability to take in all the popular outdoor and nature-based attractions during the winter will depend entirely on your own endurance. The majority of them will often even look better during the Winter season with snow-dusted mountain peaks adding to the scenic charm of the Wellington region. Appropriate wet-weather and cold-climate clothing is a must and if you're a skiing enthusiast, this is obviously the time to be in New Zealand. Check up on thermal pocket heaters which are popular in New Zealand, and wear a thick pair of socks to help keep you warm. Many of the nearby ski fields do a bustling business during this season as well, and as long as you've got wind-proof gear on (as wind chill can be a killer), there is plenty to see and do in Wellington in winter. Seasonal averages in Wellington for winter hover around 7 degrees Celsius (45 degrees Fahrenheit) for minimums and 12 degrees Celsius (53 degrees Fahrenheit) for maximums.


Second only to Autumn, Spring is also one of the best times of the year to visit Wellington as the nature of the region puts on an impressive display while the winds are typically at their calmest. While the beginning of Spring (September in particular) is still usually fairly chilly, the later months bring about a great balance of temperature and weather conditions along with the scenery. The bright yellow of Daffodils, in particular, are a common sign that spring has come to Wellington. Westerly as opposed to southerly winds are often stronger in spring, which means that while winds still do sometimes occur, the wind that comes with them is normally not as cuttingly cold as those that come from the south. Spring in Wellington is also one of the best times of the year to take a ride on the Interislander Ferry which takes passengers between the North and South Islands of NZ from Wellington to the port of Picton (and vice-versa), offering amazing views as well as efficient transport. Winter temperature averages sit around 4 degrees Celsius (39 degrees Fahrenheit) at minimum, with daily maximums usually hovering around 16 degrees Celsius (60 degrees Fahrenheit).

In addition, if you are looking for further ideas on activities, attractions and other things to do in Wellington, don’t hesitate to check out our main Wellington region section for an extended catalogue of things to do!

Check out Wellington Experiences

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