The ski season officially began yesterday, but in many places around the country temperatures were far from freezing.

Thousands of snow bunnies yesterday soaked up the first day of the ski season at popular South Island ski fields Mt Hutt and Coronet Peak.

They were treated with a fresh dumping of snow and ideal skiing conditions.

Coronet Peak manager Ross Copland said the number of people queuing at 9am was the biggest the ski area had seen for some years.


"Opening day is always special because we've put so much effort into it over the previous seven months of preparation, so it's great to finally be here," he said.

"We've seen massive support from our local community, partly because so many people and especially families are getting back into skiing, or being introduced to skiing for the first time, thanks to our great season pass prices this year."

NZSki CEO Paul Anderson added: "Queenstown and Canterbury are buzzing with new enthusiasm for skiing and snowboarding.

"For our local and overseas markets it is key to have opened on time with good snow conditions and more to come."

Skiers and snowboarders in the North Island have to wait until July 2 until Whakapapa and Turoa officially open.

Meanwhile, some North Islanders enjoyed some unwinter-like weather conditions yesterday.

Napier and Hastings enjoyed fine conditions and a high of 23C.

Rugby fans in Auckland preparing for last night's All Black test against Wales also enjoyed a daytime high of 18C and fine conditions after early-morning showers.

Wellington was also fine and dry and had a high of 16C.

But the MetService last night warned temperatures were likely to dip today and tomorrow.

Aucklanders and Wellingtonians can expect a high of 15C and Hamilton is expected to reach 16C.

Wet weather was forecast to return today in most parts of the country as the first of several fronts moved across both islands from the south bringing colder temperatures, said meteorologist Emma Blades.

The weather for much of the North Island was expected to clear tomorrow and Tuesday, and rain would return on Wednesday.

Cold, frosty mornings were predicted for most of the South Island.