Central Otago has the most distinctive climate in New Zealand. Summer temperatures are among the hottest, while winters are definitely the coldest – and (this will delight cyclists) it is also the driest region.
Mountain ranges surround Central Otago on all sides, sheltering it from rain in every direction; this has created a semi-continental, semi-arid climate. As the wind (especially the nor-wester) flows over the ranges, it warms and dries the air as it descends into the valleys. Because of this low humidity even the hottest days (temperatures can reach 30° or more) are more bearable, and it is easier to sleep on summer nights.
Winter snow will sit on the mountain tops for months and the temperature quickly plummets in the late afternoon as the sun disappears. Clear, sunny days can result in cold frosty nights in winter, also in late autumn and even into spring. Winds can sometimes be gusty and strong, the prevailing direction hard to pick – so you are lucky if the wind is behind you.
Check out the local weather forecast on the Home Page.