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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Early Dec/Late November too early in New Zealand.

    I'm planning a trip to the South Island of New Zealand, but is early Dec/late Nov too early for biking in the mountains? I'd mostly be doing XC, but I would like to splurge and do a one day hell-biking trip.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Hi Eric:

    I live in Wellington, and I can say that some New Zealand summers are a bit late starting. But we had an interesting thing happen here this summer just gone: the hardest, longest drought in history, which started, in some places, way back in October. We often get Autumn droughts in New Zealand, but this was a first. I only mention it because some of the best riding (central North Island Taupo and Rotorua) is on sandy volcanic soils, and by mid-summer, some of the tracks there sported dust bowls of talcolm powder that swallowed front wheels whole.

    Anyway, the point of this ramble is to let you know that New Zealand weather, like everywhere is changing, and some of the old rules no longer apply. If you time a trip for December, there's a chance the tracks will still be soft/tacky enough without having turned to baked clay with a powder coat.

    One last tip: New Zealand is a tiny pair of islands in the middle of a big ocean, so our weather is famously fickle: typically, summers don't normally settle down until around late Feb.

    That's probably just confused you even more...

    But whatever, you'll have a great time here. Enjoy...


  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Nov / Dec is definitely not too early - as Dave indicated our weather is fickle at best of times (our most recent summer an aberration) NZ is small enough you can quickly move to respond to weather patterns and not be too stuck with garbage weather. Our mountains aren't so high that they hold snow into late autumn/summer - anywhere they would take you heli-biking would be well clear of snow by late Nov. Personally I would choose to holiday in Nov / Dec rather than the relatively crowded late Dec / all of January. Feb / March would be a good choice also.

    Come & stay when in Christchurch - can show you around, point you in the right direction.

  4. #4
    Reputation: Ridnparadise's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Go anytime and stay as long as you can. Nothing is in stone with weather. I had a March holiday on the South Island back before the climate changed with a dozen days of snowfall to 800m, 3 below 200m above sea level. It was lovely, hot, still, rainy, sunny, windy, cold and everything else when it wasn't snowing. New Zealand seems to be like Tasmania - enjoyable in all weather conditions. The people have a lot to do with that (even if they are Kiwi's). Go and have fun.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    If you decide to spend any time at the top of the Sth Island, get in touch if you want to get a small group to do a couple of tracks where you are best to shuttle.

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