Storm surges have flooded roads in the Coromandel and closed beaches and walking tracks in the Bay of Plenty as huge swells pummel the east coast of the North Island.
Moturiki (Leisure Island) and the Mauao base track will remain closed until at least 7am on Monday, Tauranga City Council said.
It follows earlier advice from Mount Maunganui lifeguards to stay off the island, the base track and the beach, as well as out of the water, due to the biggest swell this year.
The council said the closures were put in place around 3pm on Sunday due to dangerous sea swells that breached the Mauao base track and crossed over the sand bar at the back of Moturiki.
It was too dark after high tide to assess whether the tracks can be reopened safely. The next high tide is at 4.35am on Monday and workers will assess the tracks once the waves stop coming over them, likely around 7am.
Tracks to the summit of Mauao were opened but caution was recommended as there was a high wind warning in place.
The Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service said in a Facebook post the swell was the biggest of the year so far.
"We are advising people to stay out of the water and not venture onto the beach."
"The base track of Mauao and access to Moturiki (Leisure) Island have both been closed, with high tide still to peak.
"This swell will stick around for a couple of days yet, so please be careful."
Elsewhere, video shows children riding the tidal swells at an inlet at Waihi Beach. The swells at one point flood the inlet, pushing over its banks.
Another image shows a police officer speaking to the children at the inlet.
In the Coromandel, storm surges flooded roads, including in Whitianga and Tairua. There was concern the surges may damage beach infrastructure such as ladders.
MetService warned of huge swells on the east coast of the North Island
"The wave buoy at Marsden Point has seen average wave heights of 5-7m, largest up to 10m earlier," MetService tweeted.
A keen — or maybe wild — surfer tried to paddle out to catch some waves around 4.30pm at Mount Maunganui's famed Main Beach.
However, after catching a small broken wave to the cheer of some locals, a lifeguard tracked him down and gave him a stern word.
After catching one more small broken wave, the surfer retreated off the beach.
Much of the East Cape is in line for heavy rain, while strong winds are expected in Auckland, Northland and eastern parts of the upper North Island, Metservice has warned.
Strong wind marine warnings were issued at 10.34am on Sunday for the Hauraki Gulf, Waitematā Harbour, Bay of Plenty and Hawke's Bay. And marine gale warnings are in place for the Bay of Islands, Coromandel and Bream Head to Cape Colville.
The "weather bomb" - when a low-pressure system deepens by 24hPa in 24 hours at a latitude of 60 degrees - has already occurred. The resulting deep low sparked a heavy rain warning from MetService for parts of the East Cape north of Gisborne.
Up to 140mm of rain is expected in the 24 hours from 10am today, according to MetService.
A heavy rain watch is also in place for Gisborne and south of the city over the same period, while a strong wind watch has also been issued for the eastern ranges of Bay of Plenty and towards the coast east of Ōpōtiki from 6am today until 3am Tuesday.
The east coast of Northland from Whangaroa to Marsden Point, as well as Great Barrier Island and the Coromandel Peninsula about and north of Whitianga are also under a strong wind watch until 6pm today.