Long weekend holidaymakers basked in blazing sunshine in most of the North Island yesterday, as predicted rain failed to arrive in many areas.

Temperatures reached 27C in Auckland, which also had 70 per cent humidity, while the Bay of Islands and Tauranga sweltered in 29C.

WeatherWatch analyst Philip Duncan said the hottest parts of the country had been in the upper North Island, where the temperatures felt higher than they were because of the humidity.

"Auckland felt like 32C and we saw [areas that felt like] 33C and 34C around Northland, the Bay of Plenty and Waikato," Duncan said.


The humidity was responsible for thunderstorms in Northland, turning to a downpour later.

More thunderstorms were expected in Northland, Whakatane, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Taihape and Taupo overnight.

And as the sun baked the City of Sails, thousands flocked to the Seafood Festival at Halsey Wharf as part of Auckland Anniversary Weekend celebrations.

New Zealand's first MasterChef winner, Brett McGregor, and chef Martin Bosley put the festival's star attraction to a blind taste test.

Kiwi oysters - from the Hauraki Gulf, Bluff, the Marlborough Sounds and Coromandel - were on the menu and McGregor and Bosley faced off in a bid to distinguish them by taste. Bosley had no problem but McGregor initially struggled to tell the difference between a Bluff and a Kiwa oyster, hand-raised in the Marlborough Sounds.

The weather will be warm in the North Island today, but forecasters warn those in Northland, Auckland and Waikato to keep rain jackets handy as thunderstorms and showers are predicted.

MetService meteorologist Emma Blades said the North Island would remain moist and humid over the next few days.

"Sunday afternoon is when showers and thunderstorms are likely to kick in from the Bay of Islands to the Waikato."

Duncan also said thunderstorms were likely in the upper North Island today, but should dry up by tomorrow. "Most places will be dry but the places that get them will get an absolute downpour."

Blades said Waitomo, expecting 30C today, is tipped to be the hottest place in the country.

Enjoy the long weekend

• Music fans are in for a treat tomorrow at St Jerome's Laneway Festival, featuring Flume, Beach House, Chvrches, High Dependency Unit and more.

• The Black Caps are due to play Pakistan in the series-deciding ODI at Eden Park today. If it rains, check out Sky Sport's coverage of the last day of the Wellington Sevens.

• Tuck in at the Seafood Festival while enjoying a feast of live music and celebrity chef demonstrations at Halsey Wharf today and tomorrow.

• At Captain Cook Wharf today and tomorrow, the SeePort Festival features tours of the HMNZS Wellington and demonstrations from the Westpac Rescue Helicopter. Also, keep an eye out for street performers around the waterfront as part of the International Buskers Festival.

• Thousands of boaties will hit the water tomorrow for the Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta. There are plenty of vantage points around the city.