Fiordland's Climate


In this land the air is clear and climate invigorating, the weather can be mild, it is often relentless, and the results are frequently startling and memorable.

Waterfalls pour out of the sky, voluminous skirts enveloping the surrounding forest in misty shrouds. Forest floors swell closely wrapped in a quilt of moss and ferns; streams tingle and the smell of leaf litter fills the air. Fiordland's weather is what gives the region its unique character. Water is what makes Fiordland a verdant land with lakes, rivers, streams, cataracts, waterfalls and fiords. Visitors should always be prepared to enjoy some rainfall during their stay. It is recommended to bring sensible clothing for cool and wet weather to fully appreciate your stay.

The area of Fiordland transects a steep gradient from the open ocean and coastal environments to high mountain peaks and sheltered valleys. This rugged terrain can cause weather effects to be quite localised with the mountains sheltering inland areas from showers. The rainfall varies significantly from areas immediately at the coastline to mountain passes, meaning that Milford Sound can experience above average rainfall whilst Te Anau is below average.

Fiordland's steep mountain ranges sometimes cause avalanche conditions on the Milford Road over spring and winter months. The avalanches are constantly monitored and on rare occasions the Milford Road may need to be closed until safe. Most avalanche danger occurs in spring.