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Need Info for Packing for Trip to New Zealand and Australia in February

I know that no one can predict the weather for next year, but in general:

  1. Do restaurants and other buildings in those countries set the AC to the "freeze" setting like they do here? (I'm always cold)

  2. What is the likelihood that I will encounter torrential/UK type rain where I would need a Gore-tex rain jacket rather than a "water-resistant" jacket?

We will be going to Auckland, Rotorua, Queenstown, Melbourne, Cairns and Sydney.


Posted by
1400 posts

The temps in February in Australia are 80/67 and about 67/59 in New Zealand. I would dress for summer and bring a cardigan sweater, a fleece pullover, a hoody, and/or wind-breaker for evening or on a boat.

Posted by
248 posts

In my 3 weeks in New Zealand, the only time I needed an actual rain coat was one day in Auckland when it poured all day while we were on a hike. Otherwise you should be fine with water resistant. BTW you will love New Zealand - what an amazing country!

Posted by
4099 posts

Thanks for your helpful replies. Summer sounds really pleasant in these countries! It sounds like I can leave the shorts at home. Kathleen, based on our different locations, your idea of dressing for summer may be different from mine!

Posted by
5319 posts

Don’t leave the shorts at home if you are going to Cairns. It will be a lot warmer than 80F in February and it will be humid.

I visited Cairns in May some 25 years ago and I was in shorts everyday. February will be warmer.

I think you will need to check temps for each city you are visiting.

Posted by
13 posts

Hi Cala,

I live in Auckland and run small group tours of NZ and Australia (… I also lead Rick Steves tours in Scotland. Introductory advertisement over.. now to your questions… 😁

  1. Most restaurants in New Zealand have a pleasant temperature. Certainly not freezing. If they do have AC, it is not noticeable. Australia is generally warmer than NZ so perhaps more chance of a noticeable temperature difference from outside to an AC controlled space.

  2. Chance of torrential rain. We are all hoping for a decent summer here in Auckland. Last summer we had some of the worse rains on record which caused catastrophic flooding, followed 2 weeks later by a cyclone. I doubt that history will repeat itself so soon, but generally you should expect rain at some point during your time in NZ, that’s more normal especially in Auckland and in the west coast of the South Island.

It’s also a good idea to carry a light extra layer, perhaps a NZ-made merino sweater 😉 for the evenings. Once the sun goes down it gets a bit chillier.

The New Zealand band Crowded House wrote a song called Four Seasons in One Day, which pretty much some up the weather here.

Have a great time!

Colin Mairs

Posted by
362 posts

Born and raised in Melborne, fortunately haven't lived there the last 20 years.
February often produces very hot weather and is often the most dangerous month for bushfire.
Last year was a mild summer. Max temp range was 19 to 41 but only a couple of very hot days.
Forecasters are tipping a hotter summer in 23/24. Expect a few more 40 plus days, mostly though 25 to 32. Melbourne is generally a 4 seasons in one day type place but Feb tends to be less so.
Torrential rain in Feb is not common, forecasters saying a drier than average summer. Occassional thunderstorm activity often after a few very hot days. Usually not a big deal, good time to find a nice pub or indoor activity. Normally those storms pass through pretty quickly.
AC in restaurants? I don't really frequent restaurants, usually would only eat out at pubs. Never had a freezing AC at a pub.

In saying you are coming to Melbourne are you spending your time in Melbourne or are you doing sightseeing around Victoria eg Phillip Island, Great Ocean Road (the usual suspects)?
If you are interested in seeing some magnificent scenery Victoria has it by the truckload. Melbourne, well yeah I have to go there to visit family or to catch big sporting events, always wrapped to see it in the rear view mirror.

Posted by
325 posts

@ Cala

February is midsummer. Bring your shorts, swimmers, bathers, togs, whatever your local words are. Hat is a must. Wide brim. I have a collection of Panama style. My wife insists on a new one at start of summer.

Tintaldra has summarised Melbourne nicely. All over Australia the best parts are outside the big cities.

From my experience Sydney is comparable to August in Hamilton, Bermuda and I would speculate by extension, Charlston.

Cairns comparable to August in George Town, Cayman Islands and Kingston, Jamaca. Though have only spent a week or so at a time in each. Cairns in February is subject to quickly developing cyclones. Good insurance would be prudent.

A/C. Al fresco is my preferred dining. At waterfront/beach settings seems pointless wasting what nature has provided. Open air beer gardens are nice too. Cannot recall the last time I had a summer evening meal in an A/C place.

At a guess mall, shopping centres set the temperature around 22c.

Hope it helps a little.

Regards Ron

Posted by
4099 posts

All this help is even better than I expected! Thanks so much. Thanks to Laura, the shorts are back in. I was planning to take a merino wool pullover for the plane, but now I'm liking the idea of a merino wool cardigan instead. I think I will take my chances on my rain-resistant, heavily-pocketed jacket, and yes, hats are on my packing list, as is sunscreen and insect wipes. We will be on a tour, so we don't have a lot of control over our itinerary. Colin, "Four Seasons in a Day" is pretty much the norm in the Southeastern US, except in the summer, which is reliably hot and humid, without relief. Tintaldra, a friend told me about the Coastal Drive, but the penguins are my "must-see".

Posted by
362 posts

Do take something warm with you for the penguins regardless of daytime conditions. These little dudes roll up to the beach around dusk. This beach is on the southern side of Phillip Island, not a lot between you and Antarctica.
Not sure what the Tour will include but Phillip Island (which is 150 km from Melbourne) has lots of points of interest. Some terrific beaches.
Feb is probably the best time to go, good weather and our school holidays have finished. Even so you won't be on your "Pat Malone", they draw a big crowd year round.
There is also a smaller colony of Fairy Penguins at the St Kilda (a Melbourne suburb) breakwater.