Queenstown is basking in the sunshine of one of its best summers in decades.
December saw less than half the normal rainfall in Central Otago – the lowest since 1980.
Temperatures were two degrees Celsius above average and the good spell is expected to last for most of January, with 30C days on the way.
Met Service weather ambassador Bob McDavitt: “There’s a buffer between the easterly trade winds in the tropics to the north and the westerly Roaring Forties in the south.
“That’s what you’ve been enjoying the last few weeks – the subtropical ridge.
“It is not wide enough to cover the whole country, so what happens in one place, normally the opposite happens in the other.”
The North Island recorded double its usual rainfall in December.
McDavitt expects several days in January to exceed 30C, but fronts will bring some cloudy, rainy days.
The subtropical ridge should head north by mid-February due to the changing seasons.
The Met Service predicts a good weekend for the Glenorchy Races and National Sevens. Saturday and Sunday will be sunny with light winds, and about 21C.
Monday and Tuesday are tipped to be scorchers with temperatures at 27C. There is likely to be a few showers on Wednesday before the sun returns on Thursday, with both days about 25C.
Next weekend is predicted to be wet with cloudy skies, showers and a 22C maximum.
New Queenstowners Florencia Aranda and Guadalupe Halfon, of Argentina, are lapping it up.
“We love Queenstown – and we like the weather very much,” Halfon says.