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Dunedin Climate

Dunedin New Zealand lies within the Southern hemisphere, so we rarely see snow during the Christmas period and even in winter it snows a lot less in Dunedin than many people assume. The Dunedin summer climate is cool during the Christmas season, and the winters are short and moderately cold with changeable cloudy weather.

During the year, the temperature typically varies from 4 to 18°Celcius and is rarely below 1 or above 22°Celcius. The coldest month is usually July, and the warmest month is normally January or February.

In this article, we will provide you with helpful information about the Dunedin climate along with some forecast data.  As you will see Dunedin is uniquely different from other parts of the world.


beautiful night and the Dunedin city scape.

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Climate in the South Island of New Zealand

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 in winter! However, Dunedin sits in the Otago region, more than 8 meters 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.

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Warmest Months of the Year

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

Summer holidays also mean more Kiwis are travelling the country too, 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.  From mid-January to late February, the temperature typically ranges from 11°C to a more balmy 17°C. The average water temperature during the summer months is 14.1°C – swimmable for short periods or with a wet suit!

If you enjoy sunny days but with fewer crowds, the best time to travel is in autumn. From March to May 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.

Coldest Months of the Year

Dunedin winter months are from June to August and are distinctly different to what you might experience in the Northern hemisphere. You will be able to enjoy cool clear sunny days for outdoor activities but have a crisp, cool evening and night. From mid-June to late August the temperature in Dunedin typically ranges from 6°C to 10°C. The average water temperature during these months sits around 9.8°C.

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 is transformed into a winter wonderland where you can ski or snowboard your way down the slopes of the Southern Alps.

Sunshine Hours in the Year

The length of the day in Dunedin varies significantly by season, the variation can be as far as 8 hours apart! The shortest day of the year is 21st June at 8hrs: 39mins of daylight and the longest day is 22nd December with 15hrs: 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: 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:32 mins later.

Average Dunedin Temperature

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

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.

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It helps to be aware that it does rain a fair bit in Dunedin, with significant rainfall throughout the year, so pack your umbrella and raincoat!  Even the driest month has a lot of precipitation and plenty of cloud cover with fluctuating winds/windspeed. The Dunedin rainfall seasons are from 9 October to 9 June. The drier season lasts 4 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 – Dunedin is for you!

Here are some interesting Dunedin weather facts:

  • 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.
  • The coldest month is July with an average maximum temperature of 10°C.
  • December is the wettest month and coincidentally a month with the most sun hours.
  • The least amount of rain falls around the end of August.
  • September is the driest month.

Seasonal Attractions in Dunedin City

Because of Dunedin’s year-round moderate temperatures and calm weather averages, along with its predictable prevailing wind direction, Dunedin makes a favoured tourist destination. There’s 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. You can be sure that we are here to help you have the most comfortable travel experience possible.