Summer weather is on again today, but it is confined to the Bay of Islands.

And Thursday looks like it might be a decent day in most of New Zealand.

But other than those bright spots, cloudy, showery weather seems set to dominate the next few days.

Yesterday was warm in many places and hot in some eastern parts of the South Island.

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In Auckland, race goers took advantage of the warm weather at the New Zealand Herald New Year's Day Races held at Ellerslie.

"It's looking like a pretty unsettled week," said MetService meteorologist Claire Flynn.

She said a weak front would produce scattered rain and drizzle in much of the North Island today, except in the Bay of Islands, where Paihia and Kerikeri are forecast to be sunny and dry, with daytime highs of 29C.

Today is expected to be a good beach day in the Bay of Islands. Photo / Doug Sherring
Today is expected to be a good beach day in the Bay of Islands. Photo / Doug Sherring

In the South Island, a southerly change is expected to move up the east coast, bringing showers and cooler temperatures than yesterday's national high of 34.3C in Kaikoura.

Tomorrow a broad area of low pressure is forecast to move across the country, bringing scattered rain to the North and South islands, briefly heavy in Westland.

A front on Wednesday will bring showers to most places.

Flynn predicted Thursday will be the week's nicest day as a ridge of high pressure takes over briefly. Most of the country will be mostly fine, with just the odd isolated afternoon shower.

Friday brings another front with rain or showers for the South Island although mostly fine weather will hang on in the North Island.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research - Niwa - will this week publish its three-monthly climate outlook, covering the period to the end of March.

In its last outlook, published on December 1 and covering the period to the end of February, it said: "Typical summer conditions are expected of anticyclones crossing the North Island and prevailing westerly winds over the South Island."

Niwa's principal scientist, forecasting, Chris Brandolino, said yesterday the outlook for the next 10 days was "changeable" - some fine spells and some episodes of unusually cool weather that may last for several days.

"I think there will be some cool snaps, at least for the first week or two of January, blended with some settled periods.

"We had a hot summer last summer, particularly from January through March. Whether that happens this summer we will have to wait and see."

The forecast

Auckland
Today - Cloudy, occasional light rain, 24C
Tomorrow - Cloudy, showers, 25C

Hamilton
Today - Cloudy, occasional rain, 23C
Tomorrow - Rain, 24C

Tauranga
Today - Cloudy, a few showers, 25C
Tomorrow - Occasional rain, 24C

Wellington
Today - Showers, then fine spells, 17C
Tomorrow - Morning showers, 19C

Christchurch
Today - Showers, clearing in the afternoon, 18C
Tomorrow - Morning rain, then fine, 16C

Dunedin
Today - Morning showers, then fine with high cloud, 13C
Tomorrow - Occasional rain, 16C