New Zealand has mild temperatures, moderately high rainfall, and many hours of sunshine throughout most of the country. New Zealand's climate is dominated by two main geographical features: the mountains and the sea.
Since the Maori people named New Zealand ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’, climate has been of paramount importance to the people of New Zealand — many ofwhom make their living from the land.
New Zealand weather can change unexpectedly.
The warmest months are December, January and February, and the coldest June, July and August. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20 - 30ºC and in winter between 10 - 15ºC.
Summer is an excellent time for walking in the bush and a variety of other outdoor activities. New Zealand's manygorgeous beaches are ideal for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, boating, and water sports during summer.
Mountain ranges in both islands become snow-covered, providing beautiful vistas and excellent skiing.
While the South Island has cooler winter temperatures, some areas of the island experience little rainfall in winter, so this is an excellent time to visit glaciers, mountains, and other areas ofscenic beauty.
Flora of New Zealand
New Zealand's geographical isolation has meant the country has developed a unique variety of native flora.
New Zealand is one of the worlds richest bio-diverse areas on earth for flora. It is home to a large variety of beautiful plants of which 84% are endemic. Native trees include Rimu, Totara, Matai, Kahikatea and many species of ferns including somegiant tree ferns. Other notable trees include the Cabbage Tree, the Nikau Palm which is New Zealand's only palm tree, and the Giant Kauri, which hold the record for the greatest timber volume of any tree on earth.
The yellow flowers of the kowhai tree are some of the prettiest you’ll ever see, and if you visit the North Island, you won’t be far from the beautiful pohutukawa tree. Its bright redflowers bloom in December, giving it the title of New Zealand’s Christmas tree.
Over 20 percent of New Zealand is covered in national parks, forest areas and reserves. Our 14 national parks contain an incredible variety of unspoiled landscape and vegetation.
The area also contains the Milford and Routeburn tracks, two of New Zealand’s most spectacular walks, as well as Mount Cook, New Zealand’shighest mountain, and spectacular glaciers. Tongariro is situated on the North Island’s volcanic plateau, and contains the active volcanoes Mount Tongariro, Ruapehu, and the cone-shaped Ngauruhoe. The area is of special cultural significance to Maori, and also contains Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake.
Fauna of New Zealand
About 80-100 million years ago, New Zealand drifted away from themassive supercontinent of Gondwanaland into the South Pacific. Since then, a unique flora and fauna has evolved, with a large number of beautiful native birds and plants, as well as direct descendants of prehistoric wildlife, including the tuatara, weta, and giant snail. As Time magazine said, New Zealand is an ‘ultimate storehouse for discontinued zoological models’.
New Zealand fauna is unusual.With the exception of two species of bat, no indigenous mammals are native to New Zealand. The only other wild mammals at present are those that have been introduced and they are usually considered as pests. These includes deer, goats, pigs, rabbits, weasels, ferrets, and the Australian opossum, as well as domesticated animals such as dogs and cats.
New Zealand contains no snakes and has only onepoisonous spider called the Katipo, which is related to the Australian Redback. The Katipo is very rare and its bite is never lethal. Insects include the Weta which is extremely frightening in appearance, but is relatively harmles.
New Zealand's most unigue animal is the Tuatara, which is a lizard-like reptile that predates the Dinosaur and is considered a living fossil.