Hawke's Bay's first scorcher of a predicted hot summer didn't quite go to plan.

The region didn't hit the predicted 30 degrees Celsius, which would have been a rarity for early November.

Hastings hit 29C, but in a tight race to be crowned NZ's hottest city, a bolter came from the back.

MetService meteorologist Gerrit Keyser said early on Thursday morning it was a race between Napier, Hastings and Christchurch - a so-called the "Melbourne Cup" of NZ heat.

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Much like the Melbourne Cup, it did not go as predicted, as Kaikoura stormed home to reach 31.2C.

Hawke's Bay had earlier shot out of the gates. By 9am it had already hit 24C in Hastings, and 22C out by the airport.

Keyser said the warm weather was caused by a north-westerly wind.

"Hawke's Bay, with the ranges to the west of it, when you get these westerly, north-westerly winds, just coming down those ranges, heating up as it accelerates down the ranges, and then you get these nice warm temperatures."

It meant that inland areas of the Bay were be slightly cooler than those further away.

Keyser said the warmest areas in these conditions were between 1km away from the coast and 15km.

In the end it didn't come close to Hawke's Bay's record November heat (Nov 24, 2016 when the airport gauge read 33.4C.

Still, the warm weather was good for those selling icecream. Assistant manager at Rush Munroe Nicole Brailfford said it had been crazy at the shop.

She said on Wednesday they had rolled 500 scoops of ice cream, and were on track to do the same on Thursday. The previous Wednesday they had rolled 165.

For those working outside, a slight sea breeze and a bit of afternoon cloud cover were a welcome relief.

Tom Wildermoth, who was installing broadband wiring along Waimarama Road, said the heat was better to work in than the 10 years he spent working in Australia.

"I've just come from Queensland, so I was over there for 10 years, so this is quite sort of mellow for me!"

For those who found Thursday a bit too hot, Friday is looking slightly cooler, with highs of 26C predicted.

The weekend is looking colder still, with temperatures possibly plunging to below 20C.