An Antarctic blast has hit the Bay of Plenty, with snow falling in Mamaku near Rotorua this morning.

Some Mamaku residents woke up to a white layer carpeting the landscape after the temperature in the village dropped to 0.6C between 6am and 7am.

Mt Ngongotahā had a dusting of snow also.

According to MetService, the temperature in Rotorua dropped to a low of 3C at 6am this morning.

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Metservice meteorologist Peter Little said it was unusual for it to snow in Rotorua but it was also unusual that the cold snap had come so late in the season.

Little said a cold and showery southwesterly flow is covering the country today - bringing snow down to low levels in the South Island - but this would ease off.

Mamaku resident Giovanna Fredricksen said it had been a couple of years since the area had had a decent snowfall like this.

Snow at a Mamaku property this morning. Photo / Bron Fleet
Snow at a Mamaku property this morning. Photo / Bron Fleet

"The kids have been out in it since 6.45 this morning building snow men, playing follow the footprints and hide and seek. We are taking a snow day and they are having some friends up for a snow play date," she said.

Mamaku resident Bron Fleet said the heaviest fall seemed to be at the top of South Rd which is quite a bit higher then the village.

"I've just driven through the village and it's light there. Pretty much nothing past the top of Dansey Rd."

Mamaku School pupils had a broom and shovels at hand as they gathered snow from the deck outside the office, adding to the growing snowball.

Principal Gary Veysi was more than happy with this because as well as the children having fun, they were clearing the snow.

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A dusting on Mt Ngongotahā this morning. Photo / Supplied
A dusting on Mt Ngongotahā this morning. Photo / Supplied

He said pupils arrived a lot earlier than usual and took to the decks, sliding around.

Cloe Fagan, 10, was unfazed by the cold as she cupped a ball of snow between her gloved hands.

Fagan loved the snow and had woken up before 7am to go outside and play.

Although the morning air cut to the bone, it could have been the middle of summer for some of the pupils, and one used his head as the base of a snow cone.

Mamaku School this morning. Photo / Stephen Parker
Mamaku School this morning. Photo / Stephen Parker

Mamaku mother Renee Smith had come to the school after her children had left their bags and lunch boxes at home in their eagerness to get their fingers in the snow.

"It's the fastest they've got to school," she said.

As someone who loved the snow, she was planning on having a roast dinner tonight - an ideal winter feed she could just put on in advance.

But the winter wonderland won't stick around long with temperatures set to rise by midweek.

Metservice meteorologist Peter Little said it was unusual that the cold snap had come so late in the season.

Meanwhile, the Desert Rd through the central North Island is closed by snow and the main alternative route has also been blocked because of a crash, causing major headaches for motorists.

Sariah Hulton, 13, enjoying the snow in Mamaku this morning. Photo / Stephen Parker
Sariah Hulton, 13, enjoying the snow in Mamaku this morning. Photo / Stephen Parker

The Desert Road, between Waiouru and Rangipo, is closed, and a crash in Erua closed SH4 from National Park to Tohunga Junction.

Police said a truck became stuck on a hill at Erua at 2am and was rear-ended by another truck. No one was injured.

Summer Fredricksen is enjoying the snow. Photo / Giovanna Fredricksen
Summer Fredricksen is enjoying the snow. Photo / Giovanna Fredricksen

Weather forecast for Tauranga and Rotorua

Rotorua

Today
A few morning showers, then fine spells developing. Southwesterlies.
9C High
3C Overnight

Tomorrow
Partly cloudy. Westerlies.
11C High
4C Overnight

Wednesday
Cloudy periods. One or two late showers. Northwesterlies.
12C High
8C Overnight

Thursday
Showers, clearing afternoon and fine spells increasing. Westerlies.
13C High
7C Overnight

Friday
A few showers developing. Northwesterlies.
13C High
7C Overnight

Tauranga

Today
A few showers until early afternoon, then fine spells increasing. Southwesterlies.
11C High
6C Overnight

Tomorrow
Partly cloudy, chance afternoon shower. Westerlies.
14C High
6C Overnight

Wednesday
Cloudy periods. One or two late showers. Northwesterlies.
15C High
10C Overnight

Thursday
Showers, clearing afternoon and fine spells increasing. Westerlies.
16C High
9C Overnight

Friday
A few showers developing. Northwesterlies.
16C High
9C Overnight