It is a tale of two coasts today, with much of the country's western areas in for a soaking, while some eastern areas are to bask in full sun in the mid-20s.

MetService meteorologist Karl Loots said the rain was coming from a cold front moving up the country, sitting over Hokitika this morning.

As the front makes its way into the North Island through the morning it begins to lose a lot of strength, but will still bring periods of rain to western areas.

Auckland is set for a relatively settled day compared to the weather of the past week, with just some mild northwesterlies, a little afternoon rain and a high of 23C forecast.

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Temperatures will be mild through most of the country.

"Typical for this time of year," Loots said.

The East Coast is in for a mostly fine day, with northwest winds, mild temperatures and just the occasional evening shower.

Napier and Hastings look to be the pick of the country, with highs of 26C today.

Most of the weather associated with the front will fall on the West Coast this morning.

"It is bringing heavy rain to the West Coast, from Buller to Fiordland at the moment," Loots said.

Heavy rain warnings there continue into this morning. In the past 12 hours the highest rainfall has been in Milford Sound, with 80mm, and many West Coast stations have recorded 50-70mm.

There is also a strong wind warning for the Canterbury High Country to 11am with potential northwest gusts up to 130km/h.

The rest of the week is looking "quite benign", Loots says.

"Numerous weak features are passing the country. After this front we are in for a bit more of a settled, cooler westerly flow over much of the country.

"There will be more fine weather in eastern areas, while the west coast and far south will get quite a few showers."

WeatherWatch says a high pressure weather system would move over New Zealand on Sunday and was expected to stay for much of next week.

That would mean for mainly sunny and dry conditions to many places; particularly in the North Island and eastern New Zealand.

Following today's front, temperatures will drop several degrees around the country.

Temperatures would be unseasonably low in the South Island, according to WeatherWatch, with some being close to or below 0C possible in the high country and well inland.

There were road snowfall warnings out last night for some of the South Island's alpine passes, but temperatures did not appear to drop low enough, Loots said.

Tonight, the freezing level may lower to 700m in the far south, and 1000m in more central areas.

"We could see some high level roads affected with snow tonight."

The next front is arriving in the South Island on Thursday night.

"But it will be extremely weak, and by the time it reaches the North Island on Friday morning will only bring a few showers."

Today's weather:
• Whangarei

Showers developing late afternoon. Northwesterlies. 25C high, 16C overnight.

• Auckland

Mostly fine. Isolated showers becoming widespread by evening. Northwesterlies. 23C high, 15C overnight.

• Hamilton

Few showers, then rain for a time in the evening. Northwesterlies. 22C high, 12C overnight.

• Tauranga

Fine. Becoming cloudy this afternoon. Few evening showers. Northwesterlies. 23C high, 14C overnight.

• New Plymouth

A few showers, but rain for a time in the afternoon, possibly heavy. Northwesterlies picking up. 20C high, 11C overnight.

• Napier

Mostly fine. High cloud increasing afternoon and an evening shower or two. Gusty northwesterlies. 26C high, 12C overnight.

• Wellington

A few showers, mainly in the north at first, clearing by evening. Strong or gale northwesterlies. 19C high, 11C overnight.

• Nelson

Morning rain clearing to fine spells. Northerlies. 19C high, 8C overnight.

• Christchurch

A morning shower or two, then fine spells. Gusty northwesterlies. 20C high, 6C overnight.

• Dunedin

Long fine spells, possible evening shower, Gusty northwesterlies. 17C high, 6C overnight.