Dunedin Weather Guide

Discover our top tips for adjusting to Dunedin’s climate – plus some handy forecast data for this unique city.

Does it snow in Dunedin over Christmas?

Since Dunedin is in the Southern hemisphere, we rarely see snow during the Christmas season. During the summer months of December to February, temperatures are generally cool. Even through winter and the colder months, it snows a lot less in Dunedin than many people assume.

Winter weather trends

Winters are short and moderately cold. Many days are sunny, but most are partly cloudy. During the year, the temperature typically varies from 4°C (39°F) to a high of 18°C (64°F) and is rarely below 1°C (34°F) or above 22°C (72°F). The coldest month is usually July, and the warmest months are typically January or February.  7 February is the calmest day of the year, with light winds averaging 19.1 km per hour (11.9 mph).

beautiful night and the Dunedin city scape.

Photo Credit: https://www.dunedinnz.com/visit/around-and-about

Getting to know the South Island climate

Generally, the higher north you are, the warmer it will be, and as you travel further south, it will become colder. If you are inland or around the alpine areas of the South Island, the average temperature can drop to as low as -10°C (14°F) in winter! However, Dunedin sits in the Otago region, more than 8 metres (26 feet) above sea level, so the climate summary for the Dunedin coast is typically mild, with mostly warm temperatures year-round.

Beautiful Garden and University of Otago Clocktower Building.

Photo Credit: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/new-zealand/dunedin-and-otago/dunedin

When are the warmest months of the year in Dunedin?

From December to February, when Dunedin is at its warmest, the number of international visitors to Dunedin increases. If you plan to hire a car during the warm summer period, it pays to book in advance as rental cars are in high demand. You can hire a vehicle from our Pegasus branch at the Dunedin International Airport to explore this beautiful coastal city and embrace our warm weather conditions.

When’s the best season to book a rental car in Dunedin?

Summer holidays also mean more Kiwis are travelling the country, making the most of the sunshine and Christmas break. At Pegasus Rental Cars, we are here to accommodate your summertime travel and get you on the road ‘pronto’ in a rental car you can rely on.

If you love warm-weather activities, then visit Dunedin in the summer.  This season brings enough sun to enjoy the surf, but expect partly cloudy days with light winds. From mid-January to late February, the temperature typically ranges from 11°C (52°F) to a more balmy 17°C (63°F). The average water temperature during the summer months is 14.1°C (57°F) – swimmable for short periods or with a wet suit!

If you enjoy sunny days with fewer crowds, the best time to travel is in autumn. From March to May, the sun is shining, the weather is still reasonably warm, and crowds are at their minimum. Because autumn is a shoulder season, you can enjoy better rates on accommodation and activities. We have incredible deals to help you take advantage of the shoulder season.

What are the coldest months of the year?

Dunedin winter months are from June to August and are distinctly different to what people from the Northern hemisphere may experience. You can enjoy cool, clear, sunny days for outdoor activities but have a crisp evening and night. From mid-June to late August, the temperature in Dunedin typically ranges from 6°C (43°F) to a high of 10°C (50°F). The average water temperature during these months sits around 9.8°C (49.6°F)

Winter in Dunedin means cloudy skies 52% of the time. The wind experienced at any given location depends on local topography and other factors. The windiest day is 28 May, with winds averaging 23.2 km per hour (14.4 mph). The lowest average wind speed is in late July, at 21.1 km per hour (13.1 mph).

If you’re a winter sports enthusiast, you can simply hire one of our affordable vehicles from one of three Pegasus Dunedin branch locations and hit the slopes.  A 3 ½ hour drive away, Queenstown transforms into a winter wonderland where you can ski or snowboard your way down the slopes of the Southern Alps.

Dunedin sunshine hours

The length of the day in Dunedin varies significantly by season. The time between sunrise and sunset can be as far as 8 hours apart! The shortest day of the year is 21 June when the sun shines for 8hrs and 39mins. And the longest day is 22 December, with sunrise at 5:43 am and sunset at 9:28 pm – that’s 15hrs and 44mins of sunshine.

The earliest sunrise was recorded at 5:41 am on 11 December, and the latest sunrise was recorded at 8:20 am on 27 June  – almost 2hrs and 39 mins later.

The earliest sunset was at 4:58 pm on 15 June, and the latest sunset was at 9:31 pm on 1 January, a whole 4hrs and 32 mins later.

What is the average temperature in Dunedin?

Dunedin’s average temperature is 9.7 °C (49.5°F). The below guide will help you plan for Dunedin’s varying temperatures throughout the year and ensure your comfort level while travelling.

a table listing the average Dunedin temperature.

Average Dunedin Temperature

 Rainfall in Dunedin

A woman with a colourful umbrella during a rainy day in Dunedin St Clair beach.

Photo Credit: https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/destinations/nz/dunedin/91713200/dunedin-where-the-city-meets-nature

It helps to be aware that Dunedin always has a good chance of precipitation. We can experience significant rainfall throughout the year, so pack your umbrella and raincoat! Even the driest month is quite cloudy, with a lot of precipitation and fluctuating winds/wind speed. The Dunedin rainfall season is from 9 October to 9 June. The drier season lasts four months, from 9 June to 9 October.

The humidity comfort level is based on the dew point, as it determines the rate of evaporation of perspiration on our skin. Lower dew points feel drier; higher dew points feel more humid. The perceived humidity level in Dunedin does not change significantly and remains virtually at a constant 0% throughout the year.  Great news if you prefer a less humid environment!

Here are some interesting weather facts for Dunedin:

  • The months of January and December have a high chance of precipitation.
  • The warmest month is January, with an average maximum temperature of 19°C (66°F).
  • The coldest month is July, with an average high of 10°C (50°F).
  • December is the wettest month and coincidentally, the sunniest.
  • The end of August experiences the least amount of precipitation.
  • September is the driest month, but it still sees some light precipitation.

Seasonal attractions in Dunedin City

Because of Dunedin’s year-round moderate temperatures and calm weather averages, along with its predictable prevailing winds, Dunedin makes a favoured tourist destination. There are just so many things to do in Dunedin and places to see year-round.

Check out Pegasus Rental Cars on your next visit to Dunedin and choose one of our affordable vehicles. We’re here to help you have the most comfortable travel experience possible, whatever the weather!