Temperatures are expected to soar to unbearably hot levels across the country today, with many places to be as hot, or hotter, than Australia.

The warmest day of the year is still days away but virtually all of the North Island and northern and eastern regions of the South Island are expected to swelter in near or over 30C.

Some of the hottest temperatures of the day are reserved for eastern districts of both islands with Masterton on 33C and Gisborne on 32C. The East Coast city had already hit 24C by 8.30am.

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β€’ Sizzling days ahead for North Island as summer peaks

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Across the Tasman the Australian Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart to reach 27C today - the same as Auckland's forecast high.

Darwin is expected to hit 30C - the same as Christchurch - Brisbane and Perth 31C and Canberra to hit 33C.

The only main centre we won't match today is Adelaide, which is expected to reach 35C - although the Mackenzie district town of Twizel is not far off, with the mercury expected to tip 34C today.

Other parts of inland Canterbury and Otago are also expected to seem more like Australia with Culverden and Alexandra both forecast to reach 33C.

But today is just a precursor to the hottest day, expected on Monday, when temperatures are expected to rise to a whopping 35C under clear blue skies for parts of inland Canterbury and Otago.

MetService is forecasting Omarama, Twizel and Alexandra to hit 35C and Wanaka to reach 34C.

Wanaka is expected to be in a meteorological heatwave with the popular central Otago holiday hotspot forecast to swelter in intense heat for the next six days.

Meanwhile, the North Island will continue to sweat under a blanket of humidity and temperatures not expected to dip under 20C at night for at least a week in Auckland and even longer for those in Tauranga.

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This summer is gearing up to be record breaker with temperatures so hot Niwa says the difference between this and last summer is like "night and day".