`More costume changes than at the Oscars' as cold winds mix with sunny spells.

The first day of autumn brought a sudden cooling yesterday, prompting Aucklanders to break out jackets and jumpers in readiness for more fresh southwesterly winds and lower temperatures.

On Auckland's west coast, beachgoers braved a strong chilly wind and showers between bursts of sunshine.

"There's more wardrobe changes than at the Oscars going on around here," said Piha Domain camp ground operator Fiona Anderson.

"The whole weekend weather has been very changeable, because you have that cool wind and one minute you are cold and next it's burning hot.


"There's a definite autumnal tinge to the air with the cold and it's down to about 12C at night after very hot days."

At Auckland Airport yesterday's peak daytime temperature was 22C, cooled by clouds and a 20km/h wind.

But on the sheltered side of the region, sunburn was the biggest worry for parents of the 500 who took part in the annual Children's Day at Browns Bay Village Green. East Coast Bays community co-ordinator Sally Cargill said the slippery water slides were a favourite when kids were let loose to chase bubbles and play with lots of toys.

The first official weekend of Autumn and the weather is more autumnal thanks to a south to south west change right across the country. It will be cold for some in the deep south – but for those in the upper North Island expect only a slight dip in the temperatures. We update you on the two cyclone risks north of New Zealand and we monitor any potential rain or shower risks for those desperate for rain.

MetService meteorologist Mark Todd said Auckland and the rest of the upper North Island could expect more temperatures in the low 20s with fresh southwesterly breezes during the week.

"Temperatures are not falling substantially in these areas but those stronger wind speeds will make it feel a tad cooler," he said.

The wind was just "a taste of autumn" compared with a gale-force southerly expected in Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and the Wairarapa.

Southerly gales would lash Otago and Canterbury, spreading north up the east coast before easing on Wednesday morning. MetService also issued a snow warning above 800m on Milford Rd in Central Otago.

Auckland forecast
Today: 22 high, 14 low, showers frequent from midday, fresh SW.
Tomorrow: 21, 15, long fine spells. Fresh SW.
Wednesday: 22, 14, mainly fine, SW.
Thursday: 24, 14, mainly fine, SW.
Friday 22: 13, fine with little wind.
Saturday: 22,14, fine, SW.