Parts of New Zealand are experiencing balmy summer-like temperatures as the mercury soared above 20C at lunchtime today.

Eastern regions in both islands including Canterbury, North Otago, Hawke's Bay and the East Coast are enjoying the warmth only days after shivering in single digits as a polar blast brought snow and wild winds laced with an icy chill.

But today the cold snap is a distant memory with many centres basking in temperatures as high as 23C at midday.

MetService said Ashburton, Methven, and Oamaru were all over 20C at midday.
Several northern centres were also enjoying the unseasonably warm temperatures with the Hawke's Bay settlement of Frasertown reaching 23C and Waimauku in West Auckland reaching 21C.


MetService said the warm spring sun should continue for at least another day.

Meteorologist Stephen Glassey said while this morning had started a little on the cooler side, things were looking up.

Christchurch was expected to push 20C on a largely fine day. Auckland started the day with a slightly warmer low of 7C, but was expected to reach just 15C. It was expected to be a sunny day with a few light winds.

Down south things weren't looking as great, with the first of this week's rain expected to touch down in Dunedin.

Glassey said the sun was going to go back behind the clouds again for a bit with rain expected to reach the south early in the week.

He predicted the weather front would bring rain to the south and west of the South Island today.

"The front is also expected to bring showers to parts of the North Island from Tuesday, mainly in western areas," Glassey said.

"On Friday a strong north to northwest flow develops over the country, spreading rain to most places."

Last week had many reaching for their winter woollies again as sub-zero temperatures left a fresh dumping of snow in areas around the country and kept the temperatures in many other parts in the chilly single digits.

Over the weekend many people around New Zealand took advantage of the brilliant sunshine and warmer temperatures with an outdoor jaunt to bask in the rays.

On Auckland's North Shore, hundreds took part in the annual marathon that kicked off early yesterday morning, from Takapuna beach, and ran till midday.