Key Points:

The long weekend is upon us and although the weather isn't perfect it's certainly more in the "better" category than the "worse".

Today I'll give you a rundown on the weather in our holiday spots (independent forecasts by the way) and all the details for your travels, whether you're going by car, plane or ferry.

Weather in general

It's looking pretty good for the popular holiday spots. Plenty of high pressure over the country coupled with the fact any moisture will be coming in from the west and those eastern places - Bay of Islands, Coromandel, Bay if Plenty, Hawkes Bay - all look pretty good. In the South Island I guess we expect a chill in the air and places like Nelson, Wanaka and Queenstown all look chilly but relatively dry and sunny.

A few weak - and I mean weak - fronts will move up the country during Friday and try their best to dampen conditions in western regions right through until late Sunday. The good news - the fronts are weak and the high pressure system is standing strong.

Forecast for holiday spots

Bay of Islands, Auckland, Hamilton, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty: a few showers on Saturday but it will be drier more than wet so you can still get outside with your family or mates. Sunday those showers will clear and Monday is looking much better thanks to a south easterly change.

Gisborne, Napier: Great start to the weekend but a few clouds on Sunday and by Monday a cold southerly will drift through bringing the odd shower.

Taupo, New Plymouth, Palmerston North: Saturday looks okay but a late Southerly means a few showers here and there. Sunday and Monday will see a few isolated showers and colder winds. It sounds worse than it will be.

Wellington: Late southerly on Saturday will see showers developing, it'll be cold and showery on Sunday and improving slightly Monday. Sorry - that does sounds as bad it will be.

Nelson: You guessed it - a great weekend - probably the driest place in the country - except for maybe Gisborne. Risk of an isolated shower on Sunday morning.

Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill: Sorry but a southerly will spread up from Southland on Saturday bringing showers and a cold southerly change. This will last most of the weekend hopefully easing by Queen's Birthday Monday.

Queenstown, Wanaka: Not bad really - some high cloud and nor'westers should mean warmer nights than the past few nights. Tiny risk of an isolated spot of rain on Sunday.

Gremouth/West Coast: Showers turning to rain on Saturday, rain easing Sunday and fingers crossed for a pretty good Monday.

Travel forecast for late Friday and Monday afternoon
Road: Showers along New Zealand's west coast on Friday means roads could be greasy. Drive with care and with your lights on. With the sun setting early make sure you flick those lights on as soon as you leave for the day. Some studies have proven driving with your lights on during the middle of the day can reduce your chances of an accident by as much as 50%. So what have you got to lose? Just make sure they're not on full beam!

On Monday the showers shift to the nation's east coast from Dunedin to Gisborne and it should be dry everywhere else.

Air: It's looking pretty good if you're flying. Turbulence should be at a minimum at both ends of the weekend and thanks to a westerly air flow picking up, and turning southerly by Monday, the chances of fog remains extremely low from Friday night to Monday night across all of New Zealand's airports.

Sea: Cook Strait has seen far worse weekends than this. Smooth sailing Friday and Saturday but a southerly late on Saturday will see bigger swells for Sunday - according to our crown forecaster - but both Friday and Monday look relatively good. Monday may be a little rougher thanks to that southerly, but it's still at the bottom end of the "bad" scale!

Australian forecast

And if you're flying across the ditch this weekend it's looking really good for Australia's east coast, according to my mates at Weather.Com. Just watch for some rain around Brisbane. Shouldn't be too bad in Melbourne and Sydney though.

Melbourne - Highs around 18, mainly sunny for all 3 days.

Sydney - Highs around 21, mainly sunny for all 3 days

Brisbane - Highs around 22 with torrential rain and strong winds on Sunday!

Have a great weekend! I'm off to Whangamata in the Coromandel Peninsula where I hope it will be sunny and warm during the day - with a heater and some nice red wine for those cold nights!

Philip Duncan

For more information see the Newstalk ZB weather website or the NZ Herald weather section.