South Island Weather in April


With generally mild temperatures, low rainfall and stunning autumn colours, April is a great time to visit the South Island of New Zealand.

Marlborough heart of wine country

Bridging the gap between summer and autumn, South Island weather in April often brings crisp, clear days with plenty of blue skies and relatively low rainfall. The combined public-holiday weekends of Easter and ANZAC Day (25th April) mark the unofficial end of summer in New Zealand, while the onset of stunning autumn colours shows there’s still plenty to look forward to!

Average Temperatures in the South Island in April

Broadly speaking, South Island temperatures in April are relatively mild, with some warm days and some cool nights. Knowing what to expect, however, depends largely on where you plan to go on your South Island itinerary.


You can still enjoy some lovely, warm days over 20°C during April in Nelson, with an average daily high of 18.1°C (64.6°F). The average nightly low is 8.3°C, with an overall average temperature of 13.2°C.


Crisp days and clear skies are a feature of April in Queenstown, with an average temperature of 9.7°C (49.5°F) across the month. Daily highs average 15°C, but often push higher on sunny days. They are balanced out by cool nights, though not freezing, with average lows of 4.3°C. 


April is a nice time of year in Christchurch, when you can enjoy the last of the summer sun with the occasional cooling breeze. The average temperature is 12.7°C (54.9°F), but many days still sneak into the low 20’s. The overall average high is 17.7°C, dropping to around 7.7°C at night.


April can be a beautiful time of year in Dunedin, with relatively little rain and mild temperatures, mediated by the sea currents. The average daily high for Dunedin in April is 15.3°C (59.5°F), with lows of 8.2°C and an overall average of 11.7°C.

Average Sunshine Hours Per day in the South Island in April

Some say it’s the month to enjoy the “last of the summer wine”, while others are busy with the actual wine harvest. And some just want to see the South Island’s stunning autumnal colours sparkle in the fading sunlight. Wherever you want to go and whatever your plan is for visiting the South Island in April, you can still expect more than enough sunshine for some great photo backdrops.


Although the days are getting shorter and the nights cooler, you can still expect plenty of sunshine in Christchurch during April, with 5.42 average sunshine hours per day and 162.6 total sunshine hours for the month.


Unsurprisingly for New Zealand’s sunniest place, Nelson enjoys a brilliant 6.54 sunshine hours per day on average across April, totalling 196.2 sunshine hours for the month.


Dunedin has a habit of turning on beautiful sunny days while the rest of the country starts to get more rain and/or cloud cover – and April is no exception. The start of Dunedin’s famous “Dunners Stunner” season, April sees 125.9 total sunshine hours in Dunedin, or 4.19 hours per day, despite shortening day lengths


April is typically a gorgeous period in Queenstown, with crisp, clear days and a hefty 4.85 average sunshine hours per day, totalling 145.4 for the month. It’s the perfect setting for enjoying the autumnal colours of Central Otago.

Average rainfall in the South Island in April

Overall, April is a relatively dry period across the South Island, compared with other times of the year. Depending on where you plan on visiting, here’s what to expect:


With an average total rainfall of just 50.9mm, April is typically one of the driest months of the year in Dunedin, making it a fabulous time to visit.


Much like the previous month, and unlike during winter, Christchurch doesn’t see much rain during April, with a total of 46.2mm for the whole month. 



Queenstown’s 56.2mm total average rainfall for April is similar to its summer months. It’s also typically the last month before the snow arrives, although super keen skiers could be lucky and get an early dump, in an unusual season. 

West Coast:

As always, the West Coast is wet during April. However, by its own world-leading rainfall standards, it’s actually a month of relatively low rainfall, with Milford Sound “only” getting 533.2 mm, Hokitika getting 231.5mm, and Westport receiving 156.7mm.


Although the area still sees plenty of sunshine, rains typically arrive in Nelson in bursts at the end of summer, totalling 80.9mm for the entire month.


Summer lingers on in the South Island’s premier wine-growing region, and it’s often a relief to see the arrival of showers in Blenheim and Marlborough in April. Still, with only 52.7 mm total rainfall on average, it’s the last truly ‘dry’ month before steady rains increase throughout winter.

Best Things to do in the South Island in April 

See Stunning Autumnal Arrowtown

Known for its trees’ brilliant autumnal colours, Arrowtown is a charming 19th-century mining town with an outstanding local bakery, a cute cinema, and even the river where Arwen’s famous “If you want him, come and claim him” line from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was filmed. 

Get out on the Water

Although it can be quite chilly for swimming, April is a superb time of year to go kayaking in the South Island. Explore some hidden gems like the Mavora Lakes and Okarito Lagoon, or enjoy the breathtaking sea-and-mountain views around Kaikoura from on a kayak.

Get a South Island road trip in the books

If you’re ready to start planning a South Island trip, take a look at First Light Travel’s range of South Island self-drive itineraries. If you’d rather customise your own itinerary, then FLT’s South Island travel experts can help you do so, free of charge. For any other information about visiting the South Island, check out their New Zealand travel blog.


David Mckenzie
David Mckenzie
: 2 Dec 2022 (Last updated: 2 Dec 2022)

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