South Island Weather in June

Looking out the back of Porters Skifield to Lake Coleridge

With winter arriving  the South Island has plenty to offer the traveller from world-famous wildlife and world-class ski resorts, to jaw-dropping starry skies and a surprising amount of sunny days.


Skiing in the south Island's Craigieburn Range

South Island weather in June is marked by the official arrival of winter. While this might sound like a downer, don’t worry – down here, many people say that this is the start of the most exciting time of the year! From the South Island’s world-famous wildlife and world-class ski resorts, to jaw-dropping starry skies and a surprising amount of sunny days, there’s a lot to love about visiting the South Island in June.


Average Temperatures in the South Island in June

Although it’s not as cold as later in the year, things do start to cool down a bit across the South Island, with the official arrival of winter, in June. Be sure to pack plenty of warm clothes! So, here’s what to expect from the main centres:


June marks the start of the world-famous snow season in Queenstown. Expect daily temperatures around 4.1°C (39.4°F), with average daily highs of 8.4°C and average lows of -0.3°C at night.


Christchurch has average daily temperatures of 7.1°C (44.8°F) throughout June, with nightly lows of 2.3°C and highs averaging 12.0°C.

Hanmer Springs hot pools


Dunedin gets plenty of nice sunny days in June, and not many cold frosty nights. The average temperature for Dunedin across June is 7.3°C (45.1°F), with average highs of 10.6°C and mild nightly lows around 4.0°C. 


June in Nelson has an average daily temperature of 7.9°C (46.2°F), reaching highs of 13.1°C on average, and lows around 2.7°C.

Average Sunshine Hours Per day in the South Island in June

With the start of winter comes the arrival of snow in some parts of the South Island. However, other parts of the South Island see some of their clearest and sunniest days of the year.


With common cloud and occasional snow, you can expect around 2.32 average sunshine hours in Queenstown per day in June, with a total of 71.8 for the month.


No surprises for guessing the sunniest place in the South Island in June – it’s New Zealand’s sunniest city, Nelson (143.3 total sunshine hours, 4.62 sunshine hours per day on average) and its neighbour, Blenheim (151.6 in total, or 5.05 average sunshine hours per day).


You can look forward to around 3.78 average sunshine hours per day in Christchurch during June, or 117.1 total sunshine hours across the month.


Early winter is prime season for a famous ‘Dunners Stunner’. This means that, despite the short days, you can still get superb clear-blue-sky days, with over 3 hours of average sunshine per day (3.07, totalling 95.3 for the month) this far south. It makes for stunning photo backdrops.

Lake Tekapo & Mount Cook:

The difference a gigantic mountain makes is evident between Lake Tekapo (139 average sunshine hours for June, or 4.63 per day) and nearby Mount Cook (66.1 total sunshine hours, or 2.2 per day). However, the short distance between the two makes it easy to skirt the clouds and enjoy the views! 

Lake Tekapo

Average rainfall in the South Island in June

June often gets the reputation of being the wettest month in New Zealand – however, this assumption is greatly skewed by winter being the rainy season in many parts of the North Island. In the South Island, it’s a completely different story:

Average rainfall in the South Island’s major coastal cities, such as Christchurch (60.9mm) and Dunedin (57.9mm), is actually quite low compared with other times of the year. June is, however, a wet month in Nelson (92.7mm) and, as always, the West Coast (273.5mm in Hokitika, 212.5mm in Westport, and 487.1mm in the world-leading rain location of Milford Sound). There are also high precipitation levels in the mountains and alpine regions, such as Queenstown (71.5mm) – however, a lot of this also falls as snow! 

Best Things to do in the South Island in June 

See the Southern Lights

With the longest day(s) of the year, there’s no better time than June to try and spot the spectacular Aurora Australis (otherwise known as the ‘Southern Lights’) in the South Island. Lighting up the sky with a celestial show worthy of any bucket-list addition, good spots for seeing the Southern Lights include the UNESCO-listed Dark Sky Reserve around Lake Tekapo, the Otago Peninsula (just outside Dunedin), the mighty Catlins coastline, and Invercargill, New Zealand’s southernmost city.

Go whale watching in Kaikōura 

Although it’s possible to spot seals and other amazing wildlife year-round along the Kaikōura coastline, the main, majestic attraction – migrations of humpback, blue and southern right whales – begins in late May and picks up steam in June, making it a fabulous time to go whale watching.

Hit the Slopes…if you’re lucky

For any keen powder hounds circling the likes of Queenstown, Wānaka, Methven and other South Island ski towns as potential South Island road trip destinations, June is a good time to take a chance on getting the freshest, first tracks of the season, with early (but heavy) snows a common occurrence.

Ready to make your South Island trip happen?

The South Island has a lot to offer in June, and there’s a lot to look through. To help you sift through the information, First Light Travel has a dedicated New Zealand travel blog that cuts right to the chase in answering any questions you might have. If you’re ready to start booking, have a look through their wide range of pre-crafted South Island self-drive itineraries. Or, if you prefer to do things your own way, then contact FLT’s online travel experts, and they can help you put your own customised itinerary together.

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

Download Our Free NZ Travel Guide

Get our free guide which is full of actionable tips and information about how to make the most of your time in New Zealand.

Blog archives

Pricing terms

The price is based on current exchange rates but is only an approximation. Please contact us for a final price