Heavy rain sweeping across the lower North Island is expected to ease by this afternoon - but southerly winds could rise to gale strength in some areas later in the day.

Spring rain battered the West Coast, Taranaki, Wellington and Golden Bay last night and this morning and the warm weather in the north will end as a cold front moves in.

"It will be patchy in Auckland the rest of today and cloudy again on Sunday morning," WeatherWatch analyst Aaron Wilkinson said. "But things should brighten up later in the afternoon, with temperatures in the late teens."

A low pressure system moving up to the east of the country which originated from the Tasman is causing the unsettled weather, Wilkinson said.


"This is what has been causing the rain and strong winds in places like Wellington and parts of the lower east coast.

"For a change, the best place to be over the next few days is Fiordland and the south west corner of the country."

Heavy rain is expected across most of the North Island again on Monday, after a warm but windy day tomorrow.

"On Monday, temperatures could get up to 23 degrees in Northland and the east coast will also be warm," Wilkinson said.

"In the South Island , southerly winds will come in behind another low from the Tasman which will mean some more cold weather travelling up the country."