The weather in New Zealand ranges from glorious to wild and as a cyclist you should come prepared for a bit of everything.
The best time to visit is between December and February, when the Southern Hemisphere has its summer and autumn. If you’re lucky the days will be sunny and beautiful but don’t be surprised if a rainstorm dogs you for days in a row, with surprisingly chilly nights in the high mountains.
This particularly applies to the ‘wild west coast’ of the South Island, where rainy stretches of 3-5 days are not uncommon.
There’s no sense getting depressed about it though. Remember that in the wettest parts of New Zealand you’re also in a magnificent rainforest, which does require a measure of moisture to survive. In wet weather, the rainforest comes to life with its lush colours and smells and because it usually doesn’t get very cold, this can actually make for very enjoyable cycling.
Remember too that while the rain is frequent, it often doesn’t last long, blowing in and out with every fresh gust of wind. And when the sun does arrive, you’ll appreciate the sight of those green hills and snow-capped mountains against a blue sky even more.
Just ensure you arrive armed with the best waterproof panniers and wet-weather gear you can find, as well as a few extra dollars in your wallet so you can splurge on a room for the night when you need to dry out. Accommodation is plentiful enough that you’ll rarely need to cycle far before finding some sort of refuge.