Forecasters are heralding the end of chi' />

Say goodbye to an unusually cold winter - yesterday's sunshine should carry on for the rest of the week.

Forecasters are heralding the end of chilly temperatures that have plagued the country since May. July was colder than usual but not as extreme as this year's record-cold May and June.

The MetService expects sunny patches and the odd shower in the north to last until Thursday, with rain arriving for some places on Friday.

Aucklanders can expect temperatures around yesterday's comparatively balmy 15C for the next few days, falling to around 7C at night.

Climate experts at the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research say the country is coming out of an exceptionally cold winter. They expect normal rainfall and temperatures - meaning average temperatures of about 13C for Auckland - this month, next month and in October. Niwa's Georgina Griffiths said national temperatures moved closer to normal in July, with an average temperature about 0.4C below normal.

Westerlies would bring rain to the western South Island and parts of the western North Island this month.

The El Nino weather pattern developing in the Pacific was not expected to affect New Zealand in the next three months but people should "watch this space for summer", she said.

An El Nino could mean more westerly winds and cooler temperatures in the North Island.

Aucklanders have some reason to feel smug about their weather despite the recent chilly three months. The biggest city was also the warmest and sunniest of the main centres in July, with a quarter more sunshine than normal. It rained a quarter less than normal in Auckland, while Wellington got less rain but only 70 per cent of its normal sunshine.