Understanding spatial variability of emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O) is essential to understanding of N2O emissions from soils to the atmosphere and in the design of statistically valid measurement programs to determine plot, farm and regional emission rates. Two afternoon, ‘snap-shot’ experiments were conducted; one in the summer and one in the autumn of 2004, to examine the statistics and soil variables affecting the spatial variability of N2O emissions at paddock scale. Small, static chambers (mini-chambers) were placed at 100 locations over an 8,100 m2 area of irrigated dairy pasture in northern Victoria, Australia. Chamber headspace was sampled for N2O and soil samples taken below each mini-chamber were analysed for soil nitrate (NO3 -), ammonium (NH4 +) and other chemical and physical properties known to affect N2O emissions. The experiments took place immediately after the sequence of grazing, urea application and irrigation. Nitrous oxide emissions and soil variables were analysed using classical statistics to investigate the effect of soil variables on N2O emissions. Geostatistics were used to investigate spatial patterns of N2O emissions and soil variables over the measurement area. Nitrous oxide emissions were extremely variable; 45–765 ng N2O–N m−2 s−1 and 20–953 ng N2O–N m−2 s−1 for the two experiments with corresponding averages of 165 and 138 ng N2O–N m−2 s−1. Nitrous oxide emissions showed spatial dependence up to 73 and 51 m for the two experiments. Nitrous oxide emissions showed significant correlation with soil nutrients in decreasing order of NO3 -, NH4 + and available-P concentrations. There was no significant correlation of N2O emissions with measured soil physical properties.