What's Nelson weather like?

The climate in Nelson on New Zealand's South Island is considered to be mild with little to no extreme temperatures, either hot or cold. During the summer months, temperatures only reach the low to mid-20°s on average with January and February being the months that experience the highest temperatures.

It is unlikely for temperatures to reach over 28°C due to Nelson's geographical location but it's not impossible. January is the month with the highest average of expected sunshine with just over 250 hours per month. This is closely followed by October and December. 

Surprisingly, December has one of the highest expected averages of rainfall, along with May and June, collecting around 80mm per month. However, this is fairly even throughout the year with the lowest months (January, July, and November) collecting around 75mm. Humidity levels also coordinate with the rainiest months of June and December experiencing 80% humidity on average. 

How cold does it get in Nelson? 

The low temperatures during winter in Nelson sit at around 8°C on average with July being the coldest month. Temperatures are likely to drop below 5°C at night in the central area of Nelson so frosts can be expected in the mornings. June, July, and August average around 5 hours of sunshine per day so this might not be the best time to travel if you plan on making the most of Nelson's gorgeous scenery and various national parks. 

Nelson's surrounding mountain ranges do experience snowfall from June to August with a nearby ski field offering you the chance to hit the slopes during your holiday. The temperatures on these mountain ranges are usually at freezing levels so make sure you're dressed in snow-appropriate clothing. 

When is the best time of year to ski in Nelson? 

The best time to ski in Nelson is during the winter months of June, July and August, when the snowy season is at its peak. The best place to ski is at the nearby Rainbow Ski Area as it offers a whole heap of winter activities available, including snowboarding, sledding, skiing, and other snow sports.

When's the best time to visit Nelson?

One of the most popular times to visit Nelson is in summer as the weather is usually at its best (warm but not too hot) and there are 8+ hours of sunshine per day to enjoy the great outdoors. While the whole season is generally a great time to travel, January and February are the best months out of the three as December can experience quite a bit of rainfall. If you prefer to holiday without the chance of rain, travelling in January, July, and November are the safest bets. 

The summer months are the perfect time to explore the various national parks and beaches Nelson has to offer, however, it is peak season during this time so expect crowds of travellers wherever you go. The UV rays are also at their highest in summer with January recording a level of 11 per day so make sure you're being sun-smart and applying sunscreen whenever you go outside. 

If you want to avoid the crowds, try travelling in Autumn (March, April, and May) or even in October as the weather will still be warm and rainfall minimal. 

Average temperatures in Nelson


Average high

Average low

March to May



June to August



September to November



December to February



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