Whatever happened to summer? Cardrona Alpine Resort woke up to its heaviest summer snowfall in living memory yesterday, 30cm covering the base.
Temperatures dropped to -2degC overnight and snow continued falling for most of the day.
Resort summer operations manager Ewan Mackie said due to the altitude it was not uncommon to get a light dusting of snow at this time of year, but this was the resort's fourth snowfall this month.
The access road was closed and guests staying in the resort apartments had to be ferried up and down the mountain in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
Mackie said a family of eight who arrived from Vietnam on Saturday night to stay and had never seen snow before. Staff stayed up to transport another party of apartment guests who had arrived back from a wedding at 2am wearing only summer clothing.
Cardrona Resort marketing executive Matt McIvor said: "If this had been a winter's day we would have been calling it dream conditions; it's perfect powder snow."
MetService meteorologist Tuporo Marsters said it was not unusual to get snow on the hills in summer, but the freezing temperatures and snow were due to a low that had come across from Australia and deepened significantly in the Tasman Sea before moving up the country.
Queenstown and Te Anau had the lowest temperatures in the country yesterday with a high of 12degC and an overnight low of 9degC.
Wanaka had a high of 14degC and an overnight low of 9degC.
Marsters forecast summer would start in February.