Average Weather in Christchurch New Zealand
In Christchurch, the summers are comfortable, the winters are cold and windy, and it is partly cloudy year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 37°F to 71°F and is rarely below 30°F or above 81°F.
Based on the tourism score, the best time of year to visit Christchurch for warm-weather activities is from early January to early March.
The warm season lasts for 3.4 months, from December 4 to March 16, with an average daily high temperature above 67°F. The hottest day of the year is January 17, with an average high of 71°F and low of 55°F.
The cool season lasts for 3.0 months, from May 29 to August 30, with an average daily high temperature below 55°F. The coldest day of the year is July 1, with an average low of 37°F and high of 51°F.
Average High and Low Temperature
The figure below shows you a compact characterization of the entire year of hourly average temperatures. The horizontal axis is the day of the year, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the color is the average temperature for that hour and day.
Average Hourly Temperature
frigid 15°F freezing 32°F very cold 45°F cold 55°F cool 65°F comfortable 75°F warm 85°F hot 95°F sweltering
Tillamook, Oregon, United States (7,285 miles away); La Ensenada, Chile (5,327 miles); and As Pontes de García Rodríguez, Spain (12,425 miles) are the far-away foreign places with temperatures most similar to Christchurch (view comparison).
On March 5, the clearest day of the year, the sky is clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 61% of the time, and overcast or mostly cloudy 39% of the time.
On July 5, the cloudiest day of the year, the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy 49% of the time, and clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 51% of the time.
Cloud Cover Categories
0% clear 20% mostly clear 40% partly cloudy 60% mostly cloudy 80% overcast 100%
Christchurch does not experience significant seasonal variation in the frequency of wet days (i.e., those with greater than 0.04 inches of liquid or liquid-equivalent precipitation). The frequency ranges from 22% to 32%, with an average value of 27%.
Among wet days, we distinguish between those that experience rain alone, snow alone, or a mixture of the two. Based on this categorization, the most common form of precipitation throughout the year is rain alone, with a peak probability of 32% on December 20.
Daily Chance of Precipitation
To show variation within the months and not just the monthly totals, we show the rainfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Christchurch experiences some seasonal variation in monthly rainfall.
Rain falls throughout the year in Christchurch. The most rain falls during the 31 days centered around June 15, with an average total accumulation of 2.3 inches.
The least rain falls around April 2, with an average total accumulation of 1.8 inches.
Average Monthly Rainfall
The length of the day in Christchurch varies significantly over the course of the year. In 2018, the shortest day is June 21, with 8 hours, 56 minutes of daylight; the longest day is December 22, with 15 hours, 26 minutes of daylight.
Hours of Daylight and Twilight
The earliest sunrise is at 5:41 AM on December 10, and the latest sunrise is 2 hours, 22 minutes later at 8:03 AM on June 27. The earliest sunset is at 4:58 PM on June 15, and the latest sunset is 4 hours, 15 minutes later at 9:13 PM on January 2.
Daylight saving time (DST) is observed in Christchurch during 2018, starting in the spring on September 30 and ending in the fall on April 1.
Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight and Daylight Saving Time
We base the humidity comfort level on the dew point, as it determines whether perspiration will evaporate from the skin, thereby cooling the body. Lower dew points feel drier and higher dew points feel more humid. Unlike temperature, which typically varies significantly between night and day, dew point tends to change more slowly, so while the temperature may drop at night, a muggy day is typically followed by a muggy night.
The perceived humidity level in Christchurch, as measured by the percentage of time in which the humidity comfort level is muggy, oppressive, or miserable, does not vary significantly over the course of the year, remaining a virtually constant 0% throughout.
Humidity Comfort Levels
dry 55°F comfortable 60°F humid 65°F muggy 70°F oppressive 75°F miserable
This section discusses the wide-area hourly average wind vector (speed and direction) at 10 meters above the ground. The wind experienced at any given location is highly dependent on local topography and other factors, and instantaneous wind speed and direction vary more widely than hourly averages.
The average hourly wind speed in Christchurch experiences mild seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The windier part of the year lasts for 6.1 months, from September 16 to March 18, with average wind speeds of more than 10.2 miles per hour. The windiest day of the year is December 26, with an average hourly wind speed of 11.1 miles per hour.
The calmer time of year lasts for 5.9 months, from March 18 to September 16. The calmest day of the year is April 25, with an average hourly wind speed of 9.2 miles per hour.
Average Wind Speed
The predominant average hourly wind direction in Christchurch varies throughout the year.
The wind is most often from the east for 2.9 weeks, from January 28 to February 17, with a peak percentage of 29% on February 7. The wind is most often from the north for 2.4 months, from February 17 to April 29; for 2.1 weeks, from September 3 to September 18; and for 3.5 months, from October 13 to January 28, with a peak percentage of 33% on September 15. The wind is most often from the west for 4.1 months, from April 29 to September 3 and for 3.6 weeks, from September 18 to October 13, with a peak percentage of 41% on June 12.
Christchurch is located near a large body of water (e.g., ocean, sea, or large lake). This section reports on the wide-area average surface temperature of that water.
The average water temperature experiences some seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The time of year with warmer water lasts for 3.3 months, from December 22 to March 31, with an average temperature above 59°F. The day of the year with the warmest water is February 13, with an average temperature of 62°F.
The time of year with cooler water lasts for 3.4 months, from June 17 to September 29, with an average temperature below 51°F. The day of the year with the coolest water is August 7, with an average temperature of 48°F.
Average Water Temperature
Best Time of Year to Visit
To characterize how pleasant the weather is in Christchurch throughout the year, we compute two travel scores.
The tourism score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 65°F and 80°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Christchurch for general outdoor tourist activities is from early January to early March, with a peak score in the first week of February.
The beach/pool score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 75°F and 90°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Christchurch for hot-weather activities is from late December to late January, with a peak score in the second week of January.
For each hour between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM of each day in the analysis period (1980 to 2016), independent scores are computed for perceived temperature, cloud cover, and total precipitation. Those scores are combined into a single hourly composite score, which is then aggregated into days, averaged over all the years in the analysis period, and smoothed.
Our cloud cover score is 10 for fully clear skies, falling linearly to 9 for mostly clear skies, and to 1 for fully overcast skies.
Our precipitation score, which is based on the three-hour precipitation centered on the hour in question, is 10 for no precipitation, falling linearly to 9 for trace precipitation, and to 0 for 0.04 inches of precipitation or more.
Our tourism temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 50°F, rising linearly to 9 for 65°F, to 10 for 75°F, falling linearly to 9 for 80°F, and to 1 for 90°F or hotter.
Our beach/pool temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 65°F, rising linearly to 9 for 75°F, to 10 for 82°F, falling linearly to 9 for 90°F, and to 1 for 100°F or hotter.
Definitions of the growing season vary throughout the world, but for the purposes of this report, we define it as the longest continuous period of non-freezing temperatures (≥ 32°F) in the year (the calendar year in the Northern Hemisphere, or from July 1 until June 30 in the Southern Hemisphere).
The growing season in Christchurch typically lasts for 8.5 months (256 days), from around September 11 to around May 25, rarely starting before August 12 or after October 23, and rarely ending before April 23 or after June 15.
Time Spent in Various Temperature Bands and the Growing Season
frigid 15°F freezing 32°F very cold 45°F cold 55°F cool 65°F comfortable 75°F warm 85°F hot 95°F sweltering
Growing degree days are a measure of yearly heat accumulation used to predict plant and animal development, and defined as the integral of warmth above a base temperature, discarding any excess above a maximum temperature. In this report, we use a base of 50°F and a cap of 86°F.
Based on growing degree days alone, the first spring blooms in Christchurch should appear around September 20, only rarely appearing before September 7 or after October 3.
Growing Degree Days
This section discusses the total daily incident shortwave solar energy reaching the surface of the ground over a wide area, taking full account of seasonal variations in the length of the day, the elevation of the Sun above the horizon, and absorption by clouds and other atmospheric constituents. Shortwave radiation includes visible light and ultraviolet radiation.
The average daily incident shortwave solar energy experiences extreme seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The brighter period of the year lasts for 3.6 months, from October 29 to February 16, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter above 6.2 kWh. The brightest day of the year is January 4, with an average of 7.4 kWh.
The darker period of the year lasts for 3.7 months, from April 28 to August 19, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter below 2.6 kWh. The darkest day of the year is June 21, with an average of 1.4 kWh.
Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy
For the purposes of this report, the geographical coordinates of Christchurch are -43.533 deg latitude, 172.633 deg longitude, and 36 ft elevation.
The topography within 2 miles of Christchurch contains only modest variations in elevation, with a maximum elevation change of 121 feet and an average elevation above sea level of 36 feet. Within 10 miles contains only modest variations in elevation (1,798 feet). Within 50 miles contains very significant variations in elevation (6,529 feet).
The area within 2 miles of Christchurch is covered by artificial surfaces (86%) and grassland (10%), within 10 miles by grassland (30%) and water (28%), and within 50 miles by water (61%) and grassland (16%).
This report illustrates the typical weather in Christchurch, based on a statistical analysis of historical hourly weather reports and model reconstructions from January 1, 1980 to December 31, 2016.
Temperature and Dew Point
There is only a single weather station, Christchurch International Airport, in our network suitable to be used as a proxy for the historical temperature and dew point records of Christchurch.
At a distance of 10 kilometers from Christchurch, closer than our threshold of 150 kilometers, this station is deemed sufficiently nearby to be relied upon as our primary source for temperature and dew point records.
The station records are corrected for the elevation difference between the station and Christchurch according to the International Standard Atmosphere , and by the relative change present in the MERRA-2 satellite-era reanalysis between the two locations.
Please note that the station records themselves may additionally have been back-filled using other nearby stations or the MERRA-2 reanalysis.
All data relating to the Sun's position (e.g., sunrise and sunset) are computed using astronomical formulas from the book, Astronomical Tables of the Sun, Moon and Planets , by Jean Meeus.
All other weather data, including cloud cover, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and solar flux, come from NASA's MERRA-2 Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis . This reanalysis combines a variety of wide-area measurements in a state-of-the-art global meteorological model to reconstruct the hourly history of weather throughout the world on a 50-kilometer grid.
Land Use data comes from the Global Land Cover SHARE database , published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Elevation data comes from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) , published by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Names, locations, and time zones of places and some airports come from the GeoNames Geographical Database .
Time zones for aiports and weather stations are provided by AskGeo.com .
Maps are © Esri, with data from National Geographic, Esri, DeLorme, NAVTEQ, UNEP-WCMC, USGS, NASA, ESA, METI, NRCAN, GEBCO, NOAA, and iPC.
The information on this site is provided as is, without any assurances as to its accuracy or suitability for any purpose. Weather data is prone to errors, outages, and other defects. We assume no responsibility for any decisions made on the basis of the content presented on this site.
We draw particular cautious attention to our reliance on the MERRA-2 model-based reconstructions for a number of important data series. While having the tremendous advantages of temporal and spatial completeness, these reconstructions: (1) are based on computer models that may have model-based errors, (2) are coarsely sampled on a 50 km grid and are therefore unable to reconstruct the local variations of many microclimates, and (3) have particular difficulty with the weather in some coastal areas, especially small islands.
We further caution that our travel scores are only as good as the data that underpin them, that weather conditions at any given location and time are unpredictable and variable, and that the definition of the scores reflects a particular set of preferences that may not agree with those of any particular reader.