Christchurch’s Climate

Christchurch Temperatures | Christchurch Sunshine Hours | Climate of Christchurch

Christchurch, New Zealand
Christchurch’s location

Christchurch enjoys a temperate, relatively dry climate with rain falling on fewer days than New Zealand’s other major cities.

The climate is comfortable all year round, although winter nights can be chilly and frosts are much more common in Christchurch than in Wellington or Auckland.

When it’s frosty in Christchurch wind conditions tend to be calm, so frosty mornings in Christchurch are often followed by glorious, sunny winter days. Norwester winds are possible at any time of year. The norwester is a fohn type wind – hot and dry – from the Southern Alps that can raise the temperature by 10 or 15 degrees centigrade within an hour or so.

Similar Latitude Cities

Christchurch sits on a latitude of 43.3 degrees South. Cities on similar latitudes in the Northern hemisphere include Monte Carlo, Monaco and Boston, Massachusetts. Christchurch is cooler in summer than these northern hemisphere cities because of the moderating effects of the surrounding Pacific Ocean.

Climate Data for Christchurch

MonthAv. Daily
Maximum Temp.
Av. Daily
Av. hours
Sunshine (per day)
Av. No. Days
with at least
0.25 mm

NZ in the Northern Hemisphere New Zealand Moves North
Where would New Zealand be located, if it could be moved to the Northern Hemisphere location equal to its current Southern Hemisphere location?

Sun Strength

The main weather hazard faced by Christchurch’s residents is the strength of the sun – particularly in summer.

  • In high summer, the sunshine in New Zealand is really strong. You’ll burn more easily in New Zealand than anywhere in the Mediterranean.
  • There are three reasons why the sun in the Southern Hemisphere is so strong.
    • There is less ozone to block the UV rays that cause sunburn.
    • Earth’s orbit takes it closer to the sun during the southern summer than during the northern summer.
    • There is less pollution in the southern hemisphere to block the UV rays.
  • The sun’s burning strength is measured by the UV index. The highest possible UV index at sea-level is about 20. This can occur at midday in equatorial regions. Any reading higher than 10 is extreme in terms of skin-damage.
    • The UV Index in the Mediterranean in high-summer reaches 9 or 10.
    • The people in Florida are fried on a just a few days each summer when the index reaches 12.
    • In New Zealand the summer index often exceeds 12.

Return to the New Zealand Climate Guide.

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