Autumn in NZ – Seasonal Advice for International Students

Thursday, April 18, 2019

From the months of March to May, autumn comes to New Zealand. Here’s our advice for international students to heed in the season of autumn.

1. Temperatures drop, and May gets wet
Be prepared for some strange temperature changes and weather as New Zealand transitions from its warmest months to a colder climate. The South Island will experience some nights of below zero-degree Celsius temperature, meanwhile some nights will be in the teens. The North Island will be consistently warmer than the South, but temperatures can still get to the single digits at night. Daily temperatures can range from up to 29 degrees Celsius to the low twenties and mid-teens by the end of May. As the temperature drops wild weather becomes more frequent - the chance of rain increases, and the wind picks up. In May, New Zealand is at its wettest, with large amounts of rain and high winds common around this time. In the mornings you will start to see frost, with the potential of snow in the coldest parts of the South and North Island.


2. The water’s still warm
Though the temperature may be dropping quickly, the water temperature is reasonable and doesn’t change too much (three degrees over three months). The big drop comes in winter, when the temperature can drop two-three degrees in a month. Like with temperatures, the further South you go, the colder it gets. We recommend getting as many water activities in as possible before the water gets too cold in the winter. Surf lifeguard patrols finish in March or April, so swim between the red and yellow flags and if there aren’t any take extra care. If you are heading to the river or the lake, don’t go alone!

3. Daylight Savings ends the first weekend of April
In the first weekend of April, Kiwis turn their clocks backward an hour from 3am to 2am. Be prepared for a disruption of your routine and make sure that you update your phone, watch and alarm clock so that you don’t miss your bus, classes or lectures. As the days get shorter, after-school and post-University extra-curricular activities become lighted or moved indoors and the nights get crisper. Sunrises are particularly striking in the autumn season, with the adage “red sky in morning, shepherds warning” signalling a rainy day that day, while its counter-saying “red sky at night, shepherds delight” usually accurately predicts a calm tomorrow.

4. Crowds thin
As the weather gets colder, crowds at some of the most popular spots thin-out considerably. Most people would rather spend their time wrapped up and warm at home, rather than making the most of the empty spots, so it’s the perfect chance to explore! In autumn you can take advantage of the extra space and get to those spots you’ve always wanted to visit but were too busy to see in the warm summer months. What are you waiting for?

5. Evergreen mixes with falling leaves
Most of New Zealand’s native flora is evergreen, so you won’t see the traditional yellows/oranges/reds of autumn in areas that native plants are prevalent. However, NZ is also home to plenty of exotic species of plant that will provide a spectacular patchwork of colour as the leaves fall. The most recommended places to visit to experience a traditional autumn are mostly in the South Island (Central Otago, Hawkes Bay and Canterbury), however Gisborne, in the North-East of the North Island, is also a great place to see autumn colours. We recommend visiting Eastwoodhill.

6. What to wear
You will quickly learn to appreciate how important it is to layer your clothes after spending some time in NZ in autumn. You shouldn’t need a big winter jacket just yet, but remember to have sweaters, woollen jumpers and a light rain jacket/wind-breaker handy. You never know when you might need it! In New Zealand, especially in these months, the weather can change quickly from a still sunny day to a windy rainy one, so pack appropriately, especially if you know you will be in the outdoors for long periods of time.

7. Outdoor Activities
Throughout autumn there are plenty of leisure activities you can participate in to make the most of the good weather while it lasts; kayaking, tramping, swimming and other water sports are still great to do. Autumn is the season that people often identify as the season to enjoy the last of the warmer weather/water leftover from summer before winter really kicks in and NZ’ers head either indoors or to the ski fields.

Don’t forget that in late April it’s the Easter holidays (Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Sunday and Monday) and ANZAC Day also happens every year on the 25th. It’s important to remember to stay safe when you head outdoors.

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iStudent Complaints is an independent dispute resolution scheme established by the New Zealand Government. Our objective is to encourage swift settlement of contractual and financial disputes between international students and their providers in New Zealand. As an independent and impartial service, we are not affiliated with any Education providers.

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Even if we need to step in one day to help you resolve a dispute, we want you to enjoy studying and living in our amazing country as much as we do. To that end, we’ve created this content so that you may continue to explore and experience the best New Zealand can offer.