This famous upcountry town is situated 1868 meters (6128 feet) above sea level and is in the Nuwara Eliya District. Due to it’s high altitude, it has a Sub Tropical Highland climate . The average annual temperature varies between 11-20 C° and the recorded lowest temperature is 0.4 C° and the recorded highest temperature is 27.7 C°. Monthly rainfall varies between 70-225 mm and has an average annual rainfall figure or precipitation of 1900 mm. The maximum rainfall is generally in October and the minimum rainfall is in March. During the year it has a relative humidity between 65%-87%. Sri Lanka’s highest mountain Pidurutalagala with a height of 2,527 m (8,292 ft) is very close to this town and can be seen prominently.The distance to the mountain is about 5 Km as the crow flies. During the British period this mountain was called as Mount Pedro. Today the mountain area is a high security zone since the summit is made used for state communication and TV transmission towers. Horton Plains situated south of Nuwara Eliya is a unique Ecological zone of Wet Patana Grassland with a Cloud Forest. The extend of Nuwara Eliya district is 1741 sq. Km. It consists of Nuwara Eliya, Maskeliya, Kothmale, Wapane and Hanguranketha electorates. One can access Nuwara Eliya through Kandy- Nuwara Eliya road via Gampola, Kandy -Nuwara Eliya road via Hanguranketha and Walapane, Badulla- Nuwara Eliya Road , Haputale- Nuwara Eliya road, Avissavella- Nuwara Eliya road via Hatton and through Bandarawela- Nuwara Eliya road. Nuwara Eliya is about 75 Km from Kandy (along A5 Main Road) and about 90 Km from Ginigathhena (along A7 Main Road). Nuwara Eliya district is famous for Tea Plantation and the cool and moist climate are factors for the Tea leaves to thrive on. Areas such as Hatton, Talawakele, Maskeliya are around Nuwara Eliya and tea grown in this region has a high market and is in good demand worldwide. Famous waterfalls such as Devon and St.Clair falls are situated close to Nuwara Eliya and the Lake Gregory in the heart of the city is a much sought out tourist attraction.
Topography and Geographical features of Nuwara Eliya surroundings
Physiographically, Nuwara Eliya is situated in the middle of the country’s highest Peneplain , a level land surface that has an advanced stage of erosion. It is a complex of massifs, mountain ranges, plateaus and basins. The Southern border of this peneplain runs about 50 miles from Sri Pada or Adam’s Peak ( 7,360 feet) which is on the Western side to Namunukula (6,360 feet) of the Eastern side. From the middle of this Southern border and running towards North is the High Plains that extends between Kirigalpotta (7,875 feet) and Pidurutalagala (8292 feet). It is near this Pidurutalagala mountain,that Nuwara Eliya town (6128 feet) is siuated.The scenic grasslands of Horton Plains, Moon Plains, Kandepola-Sita Eliya Plains and Elk plains all are situated in this altitude range of 6000 to 7000 feet , few tens of kilometers away from Nuwara Eliya.
The highlands of Sri Lanka can be considered as a great upheaval of land mass having an area of about 4000 sq. miles. From the base of this massive upheaval, rises four extensive ledges. They consists of mountains of different elevations between 5000-8000 feet above sea level. Pidurutalagala , which is the highest peak among these is 8280 feet high. It is positioned about 3 miles North East of Nuwara Eliya town.The plain which Nuwara Eliya is situated is upwards of 6000 ft above sea level . This plain is about 6 miles in length and 1 ½ miles in breadth. The circumference of this area is considered to be around 15 miles. In around 1833, before any plantations took place, the whole plain was divided into two parts with a thick stripe of jungle appearing in the middle. This plain was surrounded by steep rocky mountains , covered by thick forest from the level of the plain upto the top of those steep and irregular heighted mountains. The temperature of Nuwara Eliya never approaches the Tropical heat but can touch low temperatures that make ice flakes on grass patna in early mornings. There are four gaps accessing the Nuwara Eliya plains through surrounding hills. The gap at North-East leads to Kotmale valley, the South-East gap leads to Uva basin, the West gap to the Dimbula valley and the East gap to Kandapola and Udapussellawa. Some other important mountains and places around Nuwara Eliya are Kikilimana (7345 feet, 1 mile NW of Nuwara Eliya ), Kudugala (7607 feet), Totupola (7746 feet), Kirigalpotta (7832 feet), Lover’s Leap (7098 feet, 2 miles E of Nuwara Eliya ) and One Tree Hill (6903 feet, 1 mile S of Nuwara Eliya )