The central North Island has woken to a winter wonderland this morning, with a fresh dumping of snow proving a boost for skiers but a bane for motorists.

Parts of the Desert Road have been closed today due to heavy snow and ice layering the road; with the section of State Highway 1 stretching from from Rangipo to Taihape cut off.

"Both Rimutaka Hill and Desert Road reopened to traffic at 11am this morning."

The New Zealand Transport Agency issued cautions for motorists travelling on State Highways 49, 47 and 4 in the central North Island plateau.


A southerly is being blamed for the cold snap which brought heavy snow to much of the South Island and lower North Island, with the tail of the weather system the cause of road closures around the Central Plateau.

Weatherwatch's Philip Duncan said to expect more dumpings to the region later next week.

"A sou'wester is expected to head up the country; although the weather system will not bring such extreme falls that we saw last week."

While motorists may be frustrated, the ski fields will be rejoicing as 20cm of fresh powder fell on both Whakapapa and Turoa over the weekend.

New Zealand Transport Agency is advising that motorists take extra care when traveling; stating that even though a road may be open there is still the rick of icy conditions and slippery surfaces.