What to Expect from the Weather in a normal Year
I am quite happy with the weather and temperatures in Christchurch – and on the other side of the hills in Lyttelton I enjoy it even more because the winter nights in the sheltered harbour are much warmer, often up to five degrees, and we do not get the winter smog that hovers over the city. This problem , however, should diminish in 2011 (or was it 2013?) when all homes should have clean heating systems.
Located on the East Coast of the South Island, the climate is rather mild, with winter temperatures rarely below zero, and not a lot of rain – the Southern Alps keep it on the West Coast ;-) The rain average is only 648 mm per year – this is less than half the amount that rains down on Wellington. As the East Coast enjoys rather dry air summer feels much nicer than in Auckland, as we do not have this humid air that makes you sweat from all pores on hot days. I especially enjoy hot summer days with light wind. Already about 22 to 25°C feel fabulous, and when I travel to hotter countries I do not really like higher temperatures anymore. In winter we can often walk up the hill in shorts and t-shirts, as the days can be mild, and in the sun it is perfect.
What makes winter sometimes feel much colder than in my much colder home country (Germany) is the lack of thick walls, insulation and central heating running day and night...
What I also like is that we do not have a lot of days with no real weather, as I call it. You know, days with fog, overcast days. We so often have blue skies, and I really enjoy this, having lived in the city of Ulm in Germany at the confluence of three rivers, creating a lot of fog with countinuous days with milky skies. When you have those milky skies here they are normally warm days, with norwesterlies bringing warmth and walls of thick clouds. When you are not used to this and only look out the window, you dress up like in winter – and step out of the door and race back into the house and get dressed for summer LOL
Some weather statistics from the http://www.christchurch.org.nz/About/ website:
Mean Daily Maximum: Jan 22.5 °C, July 11.3 °C
Mean Temperature: 12.1°C
Mean Daily Minimum: Jan 12.2°C, July 1.9°C
Mean Annual Maximum: 32°C
Mean Annual Minimum: -4°C
Mean average bright sunshine: 2,100 hours per annum
Average rain days (1mm or more): 85 per annum
• Average annual rainfall: 648 mm
Average days of screen frost (minimum air temperature less than 0°C): 36 days per annum (which would rather read: night)
Average number of days with gusts reaching 63 km/h or more: 54 per annum
• Average Relative Humidity
January: 3am 83%; 3pm 57%
July: 3am 88%; 3pm 70%
What a friendly place this is!
People are extremely friendly here, extreeeeeemly. Don't get that in Norway. Even my first impression, the customs officer, let alone the MAF people screening and searching my luggage for food at arrival and seizing the sausages I had brought with me from Singapore, they did it with a smile. I didn't even feel like I had been caught doing something I shouldn't have. If you've ever been to the US lately, you will know the difference.
Now, I've heard different tales from other parts of NZ, but as far as Chch goes I am really taken aback by all the friendly people around here.
I almost would like to move here, if it weren't for the trouser thing, as explained in this forum posting.
Kite and Wind Surfing in Ferrymead
If you are into kite-surfing and want to meet people with the same hobby there are three great places to do so: New Brighton near the pier, Sumner and Ferrymead. As Ferrymead is on the way to Sumner you can check out where the conditions are best. The last time I was there in gusty wind conditions and during high tide the bay was nearly overfloating with people, and it was fascinating to see them speed through the waves.
There is even a carpark which is just indicated with the words Wind Surfing. To get there you travel towards Sumner from the city centre, on Ferry Road (from High, Manchester or Madras Street) or Moorhouse Avenue. Just follow the Sumner signs. Take the turn to the left further out from the city and follow the sign Sumner/Ferrymead is indicated. You drive along a river. Shortly before you reach the commercial zone of Ferrymead with Woolworths and Mitre 10, the carpark is on the left side of the road.
It is rather safe there to surf as this part of the sea is nearly as sheltered as a lake, with the near-endless peninsula of South New Brighton separating the bay from the open sea. You can only surf there at high tide as at low tide the sea retreats as far as New Brighton. In this bay off Ferrymead and Mt. Pleasant the waters of the sea mix with the waters of the Avon and Heathcote rivers. The area is called the Estuary and is renowned for its wonderful birdlife, including the summer home of the migrating godwits.
Victoria Street and Beautiful Victoria Clock Tower
Although the Victoria Clock Tower sits in the city centre it is a little off the beathen path, as is Victoria Street with its many, many cafés, restaurants and shops. I think there are some of Christchurch's nicest shops in this street, well perhaps not tourist shops, but for furniture and interior decoration, and art works.
If you go to the Casino which is also some steps from busy Colombo Street you are right there. And if once you are in Victoria Street do not miss to take a look at the wonderfully restored Victoria Clock Tower.
This tower which is classified Cat. B by the NZ Historic Places Trust has a very interesting history. The upper part of the tower was designed to be a feature of the Durham St frontage of the Provincial Council buildings. But when it arrived from England in 1861, it was found to be too heavy for the building. So instead it was erected on the north stone tower of the Provincial Council buildings. The clock was however there for only a short time before it was removed. It sat idle for some time before being re-erected on a stone base at the corner of High St and Manchester St to mark the 60th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign.
Increasing traffic in this area meant that in 1930 it was relocated again, complete with its stone base, to its present site in Victoria St. Some restoration was carried out in 1978 but in 2000 another substantial overhaul was overdue. Those restauration works lasted until 2004 when the tower was unveiled again to the public.
If you're coming to New Zealand from overseas and your flight to Christchurch has you transitting through Auckland, you need to collect your baggage and take it with you as you change terminals. There is no facility to hand it in at the International Terminal and have it ferried over to the Domestic Terminal. It's about 1km to walk and although there is a shuttle bus, if you arrive very early in the morning it may not be running! Be prepared for a long walk!