The big wet which ushered in the new year is on its way out for now, but respite from the rain won't last long warns MetService.

Rough seas caused a launch to come off its mooring near Kawau Island, and it is now high and dry on rocks.

The Coastguard said the boat, which is around 12m long, was washed ashore near Buckleton Beach on the afternoon of January 1.

No one was on board at the time, so the Coastguard has handed the rescue mission over to the boat's owners and the Harbourmaster.


It is unknown if the boat is damaged.

The heavy rain and high winds disrupted the plans of hundreds of holidaymakers, forcing people to pack up their tents and go home early and caused campsites to miss out on hundreds of new year's bookings.

READ MORE: Where has our summer gone?

Today only the eastern Bay of Plenty was still covered by a weather warning and the area should expect heavy rain until later this afternoon.

Although most of the country would experience another wet day today, tomorrow and Tuesday were looking drier as the weather system which brought the rain moved away and a high pressure built over the country from the west, said MetService meteorologist Emma Blades.

"We are going to have a respite as a high builds over the country which will give us some drier weather at the start of the week."

People should make the most of those drier days, as by Friday the rain was expected to return, she said.

Heavy traffic was predicted by the New Zealand Transport Agency in most parts of the North Island today and people returning from holiday should expect delays particularly during the middle of the day to late afternoon and early evening.

NZTA traffic congestion predictions for the North Island January 3:

•SH1 Kawakawa (south of Paihia/Bay of Islands) heading south: 10am - 12.30pm
•SH1 Whangarei heading south: 9.30am - 3pm
•SH1 between Wellsford and Puhoi heading south: 11am - 8pm, heaviest 11.30am - 6.30pm
•SH1 Takanini (south of Auckland) heading south: 9.30am - 12 noon
•SH2 Maramarua (east of SH1/SH2 interchange) heading west: 11am - 5.30pm, heaviest 12.30pm - 4.30pm
•SH2 between Tauranga and Paeroa heading west: 9.30am - 6pm, heaviest 10.30am - 5pm
•SH1 between Waiouru and Taihape heading south: 10.30am - 5.30pm, heaviest 12 noon - 4pm
•SH5 Te Pohue (north of Napier) heading west: 9.30am - 5pm, heaviest 10.30am - 11.30am & 2pm - 3pm
•SH2 Norsewood, between Hastings and Woodville
•SH3 heading south: 10.30am - 1.30pm & 3pm - 5.30pm
•SH1 Waikanae (Kapiti Coast) heading north: 10am - 7.30pm, heaviest 3.30pm - 7.30pm
•SH2 Rimutaka Hill, between Wellington and Featherston heading south: 1pm - 6pm

The forecast

Northland and Auckland: Mostly cloudy with a few showers, some possibly heavy this afternoon and evening.

Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and Waikato: Rain, with some heavy falls, and possible thunderstorms this morning. Rain easing to a few showers and fine spells this evening.

The remainder of the North Island: Occasional rain or showers, some heavy. Possible thunderstorms about northern Wairarapa and Hawkes Bay this afternoon and evening.

Marlborough, Nelson, Buller and Westland: Periods of rain, sometimes heavy, with thunderstorms possible about Nelson this afternoon. Rain clearing in Westland this evening.

Canterbury: Occasional rain, easing to a few showers tonight.

Otago and Southland: Showers becoming isolated this afternoon and fine breaks increasing.

Fiordland: Mainly fine, but a few showers in the south and east.

Chatham Islands: Rain.