Relief is in sight for drought-stricken parts of New Zealand with heavy rain expected across the north today.

Temperatures in the deep south have taken an autumnal dive as a cool change sweeps across the country today.

A weather watch has been issued for heavy rain across Northland, Auckland and Coromandel.

The MetService said a broad and complex trough was moving slowly northwards across the island today, bringing rain to many places from Hawke's Bay to Northland.


The rain would start falling from late this afternoon and would be heavy in Auckland later tonight. Heaviest falls would be on Great Barrier, Kawau and Waiheke Islands and southeast Northland. South-easterly gales were also expected to batter the region in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, temperatures in parts of Central Otago and inland Southland hovered not far above zero as the cold snap started to bite.

Temperatures were as low as 3C and Dunedin dropped to a chilly 7C overnight.

At the same time the north sweltered in sticky conditions overnight, with Tauranga not falling beneath 21C.

Weatherwatch said eastern, northern and inland New Zealand have been experiencing scorching temperatures day after day but the golden weather was taking a break.

Hawke's Bay, which yesterday reached 30C by mid-morning - was between 15 and 18C at the same time today, as was Gisborne.

Auckland and Northland also had an uncomfortable night with temperatures at 20C and even hotter.

Weatherwatch said both regions reached 30C yesterday but the highs would only reach the early 20s for the next two days.