Get your winter woollies out - you are going to need them today.

Chilly weather conditions and occasional showers or rain will cover much of the country as we prepare to welcome the first day of winter tomorrow.

Snow will be widespread in some parts of the South Island and authorities are advising motorists to take extra care.

Auckland has a temperature high of 16C today and an overnight high of 7C. Occasional showers are forecast and there is chance of heavy rain and thunder, MetService says.


Hamilton, where there is a 14C high, will get some showers too. However, they will clear this afternoon - as will westerly winds.

It is a little warmer further north, in Whangarei and surrounding areas, where there are temperature highs of about 17C and only a few showers forecast today.

Napier, Tauranga and Whakatane all have similar weather conditions, with highs of up to 15C, fine spells and morning showers.

Those in Wellington will be feeling the cold as temperatures range from 8C to 10C; while New Plymouth and Palmerston North are expected to get showers with a chance of heavy rain later this evening.

MetService meteorologist Ciaran Doolin said: "Today we're in this cool, southwesterly flow which is affecting most of the country. It's more or less going to be characterised by showers, particularly in eastern areas of the South Island and in the far south and then the western areas of the North Island.

"And it's also going to be very cold. Most places in the South Island -- there's going to be a lot of places that won't get above single digits. And up into Auckland and the North Island,[temperatures] are probably not going to get above the mid-teens, depending on how far north you are."

There is snowfall on a number of main roads including Lewis Pass, Arthur's Pass, Porters Pass, Lindis Pass and Milford Rd.

Transport for Christchurch said a number of South Island state highways were being affected by the cold snap, which had brought snow to low levels in parts of Otago.

The following conditions are affecting South Island state highways:

SH8: Omarama to Tarras (Lindis Pass) - Snow - Chains must be carried.

SH1: Waitati to Pinehill - Snow - Winter driving conditions exist. Take extra care.

SH87: Kyeburn to Outram - Snow - Winter driving conditions exist. Take extra care.

SH85: Kyeburn to Palmerston - Snow - Winter driving conditions exist. Take extra care.

SH94: Te Anau to Milford Sound (Milford Rd) - Snow - No towing from Hollyford turn-off through to Milford Sound. There is light snow in the vicinity of Homer Tunnel.

Christchurch will get some showers today and has a temperature high of 9C. Those in Queenstown will start to see a few sleety showers, clearing in the evening, with an overnight high of -3C.

Invercargill is forecast to get a high of 9C and some showers, which will ease later in the evening.

The sunniest places today look to be Nelson and Greymouth -- both forecast to have long sunny spells.