Written on Tuesday, 29 June 2010 by NZTravelInsider
Read about the conclusions I’ve come to for the weather in Queenstown and its surrounding region in winter and in particular June on the South Island of New Zealand.
Fog and low clouds have been plaguing me this entire trip.
Today the weather in Queenstown was predicted to start out with fog and then become fine.
I expected everywhere else to have fog or low clouds, so decided to do some waterfall photography today. And where else do you go for waterfalls when you’re in Queenstown?
Yes, the West Coast. You could also go to the Catlins for waterfalls, but that’s a much longer drive.
But while I was driving on State Highway 6 in the direction of Makarora, I could see the sun piercing through the clouds as you can see in the picture above, which I took while driving on State Highway 6 with Lake Hawea on the right. From this I guessed that it would be sunny on the West Coast.
Once I left Lake Hawea behind me and crossed over to the Lake Wanaka side of State Highway 6, my hunch became reality. While there was some fog over Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountains, it was sunny with a clear blue sky.
The mountains were looking gorgeous with snow on their tops…
It was a fairly long drive from Queenstown to Makarora Valley; approximately 2 hours in total. But this includes driving carefully because of slippery roads. After Makarora, I drove onto Thunder Creek Falls, stopped there for a while, and then headed back.
On my way back, the clouds took over again as I reached Lake Hawea…
If I’ve learned one thing from this trip is that the weather tends to be better in winter the more west you go. Inland areas tend to have fog and low clouds. A similar situation took place when I was in the Southern Lakes and Central Otago region in July about 3 years ago.
This trip is certainly one that I hope to repeat in the future, and I’d recommend anyone to visit Queenstown in winter. While you might need a bit of luck to arrive just before a snow storm hits New Zealand, the weather in Queenstown is generally very cold (between -2 and 6 degrees Celsius) but overall very good. I’d say it is even better than in autumn. Wanaka on the other hand seems to enjoy better weather in autumn than it does in winter. Both Wanaka and Queenstown enjoy good weather in summer.
Disclaimer: These weather conclusions are not based on any scientific data, but on personal observations and experiences while spending time in Queenstown, Wanaka, and Cromwell.
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