Winter in Auckland

Last week we had the longest and the coldest night of the year! Temperature in some towns in South Island went down to -8c, and it was -20c in mountains! I think it’s a good time to make a summary about winter in Auckland and New Zealand in general.

All depends whether you have anticyclon or cyclon – first brings warm and sunny weather during the day time and also some chill during night time. It is really awesome during the day – sunny and warm +13c in the shadow, so I feel pretty comfortable in my casual shoes, jeans, hoodie and light jacket. Under the sun which is very aggressive here in New Zealand it might be +18c so you have take care and apply sunscreen and wear glasses especially if you plan go for a walk longer then 30 minutes!

Of course you can’t do sunbathing and go for swimming as you guys used to do during summer but some extremals do serfing even in June despite cold water in Tasman sea and Pacific Ocean!

After sunset temperature gradually goes down to +7c. Also 3-4 times per winter we have cold snaps from Antarctica when temperature in Auckland goes down to +4c and you can see frost on grass and cars windows in the morning. Honestly I’m not ready to leave my warm bed at such early and cold time but thanks to my friends I have attached couple of pictures:

During these days we actively use electro heaters in our bedroom and lounge room. Actually, since we spent most of the time in the lounge room know we use only one in lounge room plus, recently I got electro blanket which is very convinient! Turn it on 15 minutes before going to bed, clean your teeth in meanwhile and viola! Your bed becomes warm, magic 🙂 Last year, during cold snap we had such a cold night so we were shivering despite wearing thermal underwear and two blankets above. I even had to hide my ears under the blanket! I have to mention, school children are wearing same uniform all these days – short, skirt and shirt regardles of weather!

Cyclons bring thaw and increase temperature upto more comfortable +19c during the day and +12 during night but they also bring wet and rainy weather. You have to wear waterproof jacket, take your umbrella and wear a bag on your backpack. So I don’t know what is better, a cyclon or anti-cyclon? 🙂 And yes, every year during autumn and winter there are lots of floods and landslides in New Zealand because of downpours and rainfalls.

Another conclusion we did since last winter – bedroom in house should be on second floor only because it is quite chilly on ground floor. I have a dream to make warm floors in the bathroom and in the kitchen floor in our own house if we ever will have it here in New Zealand. All other rooms in house we live at the moment have carpets, bedrooms have very thick certains and blinds. Hallway, lounge room and garage are separated with sliding doors so you can always cut cold air from one room to another and use heaters where do you need them exactly. Unfortunately this house is not made from bricks or concrete so it cools down quite fast after sun goes down especially because of thin walls and one frame windows. I think that apartments much warmer comparing to private house. I haven’t seen central heating systems anywhere in New Zealand but Rotorua which stands on free source of heothermal energy.

During winter our power bills for the whole house we live grows from $210-220 upto $300 per month comparing to summer. I do remember, I asked kiwis how do they save money on power bills and the said: oh, it’s very easy! We suffer from cold!” 🙂 All right.. And what russians do? Like the others, they put isolation materials into their house walls, seils and floor, install heat pumps and HRV system to push warm air from the roof into the house:

Installed solar panels help but I can say how much exactly when I’ll calculate and compare power bills later when I have time. If you’re interested, I can post about this as well, so don’t be miss – subscribe for an updates, I still have free postcards from South Island!

Rhododendron blossoms in May, Kalanchoe blossoms in June, white Magnolia in July, red Magnolia in August. Currently we have bean blossom in our green house and also waiting for second harvest of capsicums which were growing occasionally from compost bin two month ago.

Thanks to evergreen trees and subtropical flowers winter here in New Zealand is less depressive comparing to Russia even despite gloomy weather. Oh yes, when winter comes in New Zealand, grass is growing very intensively and becomes very green!

For example, compare picture from March last year when the grass is totally burn after sun. Remember, New Zealand become 100% green only in winter!

Apart from cold nights, another feature of New Zealand winter is mold which is almost everywhere – in bathroom, in bedroom, in kitchen and even lounge room, everywhere where you have wet. It depends how old is your house, which floor do you live and so on. We have programmed air dryer in bathroom so there is almost no mold there comparing to my friend’s bathroom but anyway.. Picture below shows you mold on window frame.

Although you might have warm weather outside in the morning but inside house it is very chilly! So I have to jump like my Tishka the cat from one warm spot on the floor to another one and let the steam out of my mouth. To be honest, if I were a cat I would lie under sun beams and have warm sunbathing 🙂 By the way, bathroom is the warmest room in the house and I have no idea why!

So you can only guess what happen usually on South Island these days and how big are power bills there if you don’t have a fireplace in the house. Recently I got a call from my friend who sold his house in Ellerslie and moved to Raglan: -Ivan my water pipe is completely frozen! What do you Russians do? -Dig a trench! I mean, bury pipe under the ground! -How deep! Half a meter should be enough, or may be one meter to be 100% sure! 🙂

One day when I was sitting in a pub with my manager who grow up in Christchurch he told me a story about one case his class had when he was 14 years old: they were traveling in a bus and then stopped somewhere in mountains and were told: we are staying here for a night – get your sleeping bags, dig a hole in the snow, this is survival lesson you would remember for the whole life! He said, in the morning his head was so frozen so he behave like a drunk man for another two hours! So when somebody complains in Auckland about cold weather he is just smiling 😀

One-two times per year we have hailstorms in Auckland. Thankfully we are quite lucky to have no snow here. At least it fails to reach ground before it melts what I can’t say for towns in South Island. So if you miss snow, wanna go skiing or snowboarding or feel nostalgia about temperatures below -5c, welcome to strato volcanoes like Mount Ruapehu and Taranaki or South Island skiing resorts!

Recently we have visited Korean sauna to warm up, also hot thermal pools are quite close enough so, nothing impossible to survive here, moreover it is just two month till spring officially comes to New Zealand! 🙂

The undoubted advantage of winter in New Zealand is the harvest of citrus (lemon, orange, tangerine and grapefruit) as well as the kiwi fruit and persimmon! What winter you have in your town?

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Ivan Grigoryev's Blog
Living in New Zealand. Blogging about the country, beautiful places, everyday life.
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