A Qantas flight from Auckland to Melbourne was turned back after it was hit by lightning.

The Boeing 737, flight QF 26, had 144 passengers on board. The crew did not declare an emergency and the 737 landed safely at Auckland about 2.30pm.

Qantas said damage to the aircraft was not known but it returned to Auckland as a precaution.

All passengers would be given seats on another flight this afternoon, a spokesman said.

He said Qantas planes are built to withstand lightning strikes.

- NZPA, NZ Herald staff