Holiday traffic is building as Aucklanders make a break for the regions.

NZTA have warned drivers leaving Auckland on SH1 this morning that northbound traffic will be at its heaviest between 8.30am and 3pm today while people can expect southbound delays between 7.30am and 5pm.

The northbound carriageway of the Waikato Expressway is blocked due to a crash around 8am. NZTA advised motorists to detour through Te Rapa Rd.

One lane was also blocked just after the southbound Takanini off ramp on SH1 and delays will be exacerbated for northbound traffic today by the Warkworth A&P Lifestyle Show on at the showgrounds.

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Those travelling around Taupo can also expect traffic delays with the Grand Prix and Summer Concert flooding the region with people. NZTA advised motorists to expect delays along SH1 in this area.

SH1 eastbound traffic around Karapiro will be heavy from 8.30am to 12.30pm while eastbound SH2 Maramarua will see delays between 8am and 3pm and southbound SH1 Taupiri traffic will be congested between 8.30am and 2.30pm.

But it will all be worth it with settled warm weather flooding over the country this weekend.

"Saturday looks like being the best we have had in a long time and it is looking good for holidaymakers well into next week," WeatherWatch analyst Aaron Wilkinson said.

"People shouldn't be fooled by a bit of cloud around in the mornings, especially in Auckland, because it will burn off by the afternoon.

"Hopefully, more settled weather than we have had already is now on the way for most of the country."

From Northland to Manawatu, including Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and the central high country, it is expected to be mainly fine despite areas of cloud this morning.

Horowhenua, Kapiti Coast, Wellington, Wairarapa and the Tararua Range should also clear up today.

The North Island will have mostly fine weather, with highs in the mid- to late-20s for some spots.

Yesterday crashes, roadworks and car fires added to the traffic mayhem of holiday makers.

Travelling along both the northern and southern motorway brought long delays as hordes of people got out of the city from lunchtime.

A car billowing black smoke closed a lane and caused traffic to back up for kilometres on the Southern Motorway yesterday.

A West Harbour resident driving past said the station wagon was on fire about 200 metres from the BP service centre in southbound lanes after Papakura.

"There was a man and two women standing on the side of the road.

"The car was burnt out. All of the windows were smashed, it was black. It looked like it had been crashed in at the front. "

The journey, which would usually take about 45 minutes, took her an hour and 40 minutes.

A crash also blocked the left lane northbound on the Northern Motorway just before the Oteha Valley off-ramp around 3.30pm.

Gridlock traffic and long delays left photographer Mark Mitchell, who was travelling from Kapiti to Taupo, wondering why New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) was carrying out road works yesterday.

He said a stop/go roadworks station on the Desert Rd brought lines of traffic to a standstill. He thought it added at least another 35 minutes to his journey.


"Why are they doing it today? It seemed a bit silly to say the least.

"One would have thought they'd use their discretion and do it another time."

And more bad traffic is yet to come.

NZTA's Auckland highway manager Brett Gliddon said motorists heading back to Auckland on Monday can expect long delays. The busiest travel times are from about lunchtime through until early evening.

"If you can plan your travel outside of these times you'll be giving yourself a much less stressful start to the weekend and help ease congestion levels for everyone else."

One of the busiest highways will be the Northern Gateway Toll Road on State Highway 1 north of Auckland, which had more than 21,000 trips a day during previous anniversary weekends.

​Traffic hotspots

SH1 Whangarei

• Northbound:

• Southbound:

Monday 10.30am-3.30pm

SH1 Puhoi-Wellsford
• Northbound:
Saturday 8.30am-3pm
• Southbound:
Monday 9.30am-6.30pm
Heaviest 10.30am-5pm

SH1 Takanini
• Southbound:
Saturday 7.30am-5pm
Heaviest 8.30am-1pm
Sunday 8am - noon
Heaviest 9am-11am
• Northbound:
Sunday Noon-7.20pm
Heaviest 2pm-6.30pm
Monday 10.30am-7.30pm
Heaviest 11.30am-6pm

SH1 Karapiro
• Eastbound:
Saturday 8.30am-12.30pm
Heaviest 9.30am-11am
• Westbound:
Monday 11am-6pm
Heaviest 3.30pm-5pm

SH1 Taupiri
• Southbound:
Saturday 8.30am-2.30pm
Heaviest 9.30am-1pm
Sunday 9.30am-12.30pm
• Northbound:
Sunday 2pm-7pm
Heaviest 4.30pm-6pm
Monday 1-.30am-6.30pm
Heaviest 12.30pm-4.30pm

SH2 Maramarua
• Eastbound:
Saturday 8am-3pm
Heaviest 9.30am-2pm
• Westbound:
Sunday 2pm-6pm
Monday 10.30am-8.30pm
Heaviest 11.30am-7.30pm

SH2 Paeroa-Tauranga
• Eastbound:
Saturday 10.30am-2.30pm
• Westbound:
Monday 10am-5.30pm
Heaviest 11am-3.30pm

SH3 Kaimai
• Eastbound:
Heaviest 4.30pm-6pm
Saturday 10am-3pm
Sunday 10.30am-noon
• Westbound:
Monday 10.30am-6pm
Heaviest 11.30 am-5p