Does it snow in New Zealand?

How about Australia? You certainly look to be far south enough for snow. At least on the southern coast

How about South Africa? Cape Town is only 33 degrees south. So maybe not.

I’m at 39 degrees north at a very high elevation so I have snow for six months out of the year. It plays a big part in my life.

Yup. Today, even. In the middle of July! Those Heathens with their backwards calendar. Their ways are not our ways.


In New Zealand you get annual snow on the mountains (generally from around 2000’ upwards in the South Island. However, although it snows occasionally down to “ground level”, it is a relatively rare event. I used to live in both Queenstown and Wanaka which are South Island skiing towns in the winter months. They are a short drive to the ski fields (15-20mins) but are only about 1000’ above sea level (although NZ has reasonable mountains, they tend to rise up out of quite low lying plains, this makes them more impressive, but tends to mask the fact that the towns near them are not very high themselves.) Temps get below 0C sometimes overnight. It will normally snow down to the ground in these towns once or twice a year, with the snow settling for a day or two. Every few years there’ll be a decent drop of snow that’ll stick around for a week.

As it is a group of small islands, surrounded by the ocean, it is more temperate than its latitude would suggest. The sea doesn’t cool as much as the land does over winter so any land lying adjacent to the sea has its climate moderated by the relatively warm air coming off the ocean.

Snow is definitely NOT a part of NZ life in winter.

Australia is much warmer than NZ but has it’s share of so called “mountains” that get some snow over winter. There are no towns in Australia that get significant, sustained snowfall.

New Zealand gets plenty of snow in the mountains of both the North and South Islands. I was once caught in a blizzard while backpacking on Mt. Tongariro on the North Island.

And there’s plenty of snow in Australia’s mountains in the southeast, particularly in (not surprisingly) the Snowy Mountains. I also once hiked through a blizzard on Mt. Koscuisko.

The snow-line in NZ is also above the tree-line, so you don’t get the kind of pine-tree-covered ski slopes that you do in North America.

You are correct, but the towns themselves are below the snowline, we don’t have any kind of “living with snow” period, that you can get in other countries.

Those Aussies and their imaginative names!

Yeah, but Wellington is dank enough even without snow.

And they are a bit ass-backwards on their graphics too. On these maps the snow is green and the rest of the land is white. :smack:


Snow is good! Therefore green. Green for GO!, GO skiing!

Colibri, as I was discussing today with a work colleague, dank miserable places can be absolutely fantastic provided you have the right accessories:

  1. Cosy bar with roaring open fire along one wall.
  2. Group of jovial drinking buddies who stand around said fire drinking jugs of Speights (Pride of the South) and sometimes throw another log on the fire, comfortable in the knowledge that outside is brrrrrrr cold, yet they are warm.
  3. “Doorstop” toasted sandwiches made to order by friendly bar-maid/owner.
  4. Warm clothes.
  5. Electric blanket.
  6. Two thick feather duvets stuffed into the one duvet cover.
  7. An assortment of cuddly animals (non-malting cats and small dogs preferred) curled up on the bed making use of the duvets prior to your arrival home.
  8. Last but not least, a really nice girl to snuggle up to come bedtime.

The problem with places like Wellington, is that they are not cold enough for long enough to warrant providing the above accessories.

Yeah, that’s why I moved to Auckland. :slight_smile:

Possibly a wise decision.

I have not spent a lot of time in either Wellington or Auckland, however I do have a friend who recently come back from a holiday in Wellington, he said it blew him away.

I thought that the ocean must play a huge, or complete role in your weather. For me it’s mostly altitude.

Denver gets it’s share of snow in the winter, but for the most part it’s a very comfortable city. Though you can have wild temperature swings.

Where I live, west of Denver at 11,200 feet, we can have snow anytime of year. We had about 5 inches on June 10th.

Or a nice 50-60 degree day F. Even in winter. Summer maximum temp is about 75 degrees or so. No need for air conditioning, though we do have ceiling fans.

Thanks for your responses. Learn a little every day. The response from 1920’s death ray mentioned ‘snow fields’. In the US a field is a flat expanse of land. I guess that’s a green run :wink:

Ah yes, it’s just an expression. Just as likely to be black as green.

I’ve lived in Colorado too. I have to say I preferred winter in Boulder to that in Wellington.

But I like winter in Panama best of all. :cool:

I do need to write everything I want to before submitting.

Central South Island temperatures (i.e., Wanaka and Queenstown) are around 5 to 15C in winter and low to mid 20s in the summer with the rare maximum being in the low 30s (about 90-95F.)

We call them slopes. Or runs. Or ‘The Mountain’ (depending on what town you happen to be in)

I’d love to get down there someday.

I’m not much of a skier. Don’t really like it that much. But I ended up in the middle of some of the best skiing in North America.

Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain are all in the County that I live. Vail and Beaver Creek are just over an hour away.

Funny how things work out.

My father was fond of the tidbit that Australia has more snow (which I assume to mean a greater area of snow fields) during winter than Switzerland.

41-59 fahrenheit is about as warm as it gets on a nice day in the winter here. The sun we get makes all the difference. Once the snow comes to stay, it reflects most of the heat back up. It can be quite nice during the day. And very, very bright. But it gets cold quite quick at night. Even in summer.

Mrs Enipla and I are off to Keystone for a Jazz/Arts fest. And a beer or two.

Have a nice day.

You can get snow in Australia at a surprisingly northern latitude (we’re talking sub-tropical Queensland here), but it’s a rare event. The Snowy Mountains are just the bottom part of the Great Dividing Range, which runs up the eastern part of the country, all the way to top, in the tropics, and with unusually cold weather the snow will fall on these mountains much further north than usually. It snows a few times a year in the towns in the Blue Mountains, an hour west of Sydney (part of the same range). This is usually a light dusting - just enough to get a few seconds of footage of kids playing in it for the evening news. Sometimes there are more significant falls there. One year in the early 1970s, the town of Lithgow, north west of Sydney, had a white Christmas (of sorts). When it snows in the Blue Mountains, Sydney tends to get a bitterly cold wind, which we’re getting at the moment, so there may have been some falls up there. The western suburbs of Sydney are also prone to winter frosts.

It has even snowed (lightly) in the suburbs of Sydney, but I don’t remember ever seeing it.

We ain’t all about sun, surf, and sand. :slight_smile: Much of the country can be downright bleak and miserable in the winter. We don’t mess with any of that -20 degrees shit though. Or the shovelling your driveway sort of stuff.

And yes, as has been mentioned, Australians will use the word ‘mountains’ rather more readily than will Europeans, North Americans, or Kiwis. We do have mountains, and they are beautiful and impressive in their own way - just don’t come here expecting alps.

It has snowed in Panama once, for 20 minutes, in the 1960s.

(And that’s not a joke - a flurry was once seen on the top of Volcan Baru at 11,000 feet altitude. We are at about 9 degrees North here).