South Island New Zealand Weather in October

 

Did somebody say spring is in the air? It certainly feels like it across the South Island in October, where temperatures are well on their way towards summer highs. Better yet, a lot of wildlife and plants are also starting their new life cycles, making it a lovely time to be out and about. 

 

Spring at Mt Cook

Spring has sprung in the South Island by October -  wildlife and plants are  starting their new life cycles, making it a lovely time to be out and about. If you’re looking at planning a South Island holiday in October, read on to find out everything about what weather, temperatures, rainfall, and sunshine hours to expect along the way: 

 

Average Temperatures in the South Island in October

Things are certainly warming up across the South Island throughout October. Temperatures early in the month still carry a winter chill in the mountains, but balmy, summer days are the norm across pretty much the entire South Island by the end of October. In terms of average temperatures for the entire South Island across October, here’s what to expect in different locations:

Location

Min °C

Max °C

Average °C

Min °F

Max °F

Average °F

Christchurch

7.1°C

17.2°C

12.2°C

44.8°F

63.0°F

54.0°F

Nelson

7.8°C

16.9°C

12.4°C

46.0°F

62.4°F

54.3°F

Queenstown

4.3°C

15.3°C

9.8°C

39.7°F

59.5°F

49.6°F

Dunedin

7.2°C

14.7°C

10.9°C

45.0°F

58.5°F

51.6°F

Average Sunshine Hours Per day in the South Island in October

October is a great time to be out and about in the South Island, with warming temperatures, mild days and a lot of native flora and fauna bursting into life for springtime. Although there’s still clouds around, and some overcast days to be had, on the whole October is a lovely spring month to enjoy sunshine around the South Island.

Depending on where you plan to go, here’s what to expect in terms of average sunshine hours across the South Island in October:

Location

Ave Sunshine Hours per month

Ave Sunshine Hours per day

Median Daylight Length (hours)

Christchurch

203.8

6.57

13.18

Nelson

221.4

7.14

13.10

Queenstown

197.7

6.38

13.28

Dunedin

165.5

5.34

13.28

Average rainfall in the South Island in October

The changing of the seasons heading into summer can make October weather a bit changeable in parts, with showers common in many places. Still, between those showers there plenty of dry days and clear skies, too. Even better, rain in the South Island doesn’t even necessarily mean a bad thing – the waterfalls of Milford Sound, for one, are stunning to witness under an October downpour!

Here’s a breakdown of average rainfall to expect around the South Island in October:

Location

Rainfall (mm)

Rainfall (inch)

Relative Humidity

Wet Days

Christchurch

52.8

2.08

78.9%

6.9

Nelson

87.2

3.43

76.9%

9.4

Queenstown

66.4

2.61

70.9%

8.8

Dunedin

61.7

2.43

71.6%

10.1

Milford Sound

640.3

25.21

91%

18.5

Best Things to do in the South Island in October 

Go White Water Rafting

The spring conditions and continued snow melt make October one of the best times to try river rafting, kayaking or white water rafting in South Island rivers. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a newbie or an experienced adrenaline junkie, with a whole range of options around the South Island from grade 5 rapids to gentle, family-friendly paddles. Popular options for thrill-seekers are the Rangitata Gorge in Mid Canterbury and the breathtaking gorges of the Shotover River in Queenstown.

Enjoy Central Otago’s Best Produce at Eat.Taste.Central

From late September until late October each year, cafes, restaurants, wineries, farmers and food producers around Central Otago put on special events and dishes as part of the popular Eat.Taste.Central festival. Central Otago is one of New Zealand’s most famous areas for high quality produce, be it succulent merino lamb, delicious wines, or world-class stone fruit. This is the best time to get a taste of it, as well as a lovely time of year to see the landscapes.

Kaikōura SeaFest

During the first week of October, the funky East Coast town of Kaikōura plays host to one of the country’s most popular seafood festivals, Kaikōura SeaFest. Kaikōura is famous for having world-class crayfish (a.k.a. lobster), but there’s a whole lot else on offer to enjoy. Kaikōura is also the whale watching capital of New Zealand, and in October you have a very good chance of seeing migrating humpback whales as they make their way back to Antarctica, having moved to warmer waters to breed over the winter.

Beat the crowds to Aoraki/Mt. Cook

With spring thaws well underway in the Southern Alps during October, the frozen, slow-laden tracks through Mount Cook National Park’s stunning Hooker Valley and other walking trails begin to open up. Still, the summer crowds haven’t yet arrived, and so October can be a great time to see this iconic landmark and enjoy this wonderful part of the country. 

Start Planning Your South Island Holiday Now!

If you’ve read enough about visiting the South Island in October, and actually just want to get on and do it, then don’t worry, you’re (almost) in the right place: take a look through First Light Travel’s curated South Island self-drive itineraries, which cover a huge range of different sites and activities.

If you prefer to piece together your own itinerary, then that’s easy, too: just get in touch with FLT’s South Island travel experts and they can help you do so, free of charge. On the First Light Travel website, you’ll also find an entire New Zealand blog page, dedicated to answering the most frequently asked questions about travelling in New Zealand

David Mckenzie
By
David Mckenzie
: 20 Dec 2022 (Last updated: 20 Dec 2022)

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