Anzac Day is set to bring a four-day long weekend and smile to many happy Kiwis - yet there are also likely to be headaches aplenty on the roads as thousands jump in their cars.

Traffic is tipped to be heaviest today and Friday as motorists pour out of Auckland and Wellington for their weekend getaways.

Congestion will then return to city roads on a wet and soggy Sunday afternoon as most holidaymakers make their way home.

But the weather outlook for the next three days is much more promising.

Advertisement

Auckland residents attending their local Anzac Day services tomorrow or beginning their holidays can do so in style as morning clouds are tipped to give way to sunny skies and a top temperature of 21C.

Friday and Saturday are also expected to be fine and warm before cloudy periods and rain develop on Sunday, MetService said.

Whangarei, Hamilton, Tauranga and the Coromandel can expect similar outlooks of warm, clear skies over the next three days, before the rain hits on Sunday.

Wellington residents can expect drizzling rain and a high of 19C for Anzac Day, with gale-force winds and rain lashing the capital on the weekend.

Clear skies and heavy traffic are the forecast for Anzac Day across most of the country. Photo / Alan Gibson
Clear skies and heavy traffic are the forecast for Anzac Day across most of the country. Photo / Alan Gibson

In the South Island, Christchurch and Nelson can expect a sunny Anzac Day, while Queenstown, Dunedin and Invercargill residents will need umbrellas handy at their Dawn Service memorials.

Auckland's biggest Anzac Day Dawn Service is set to be held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph at 6am, while Wellington's main service will be at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.

A full rundown of services and events across the country can be seen here.

With rain set to hit across the country on Sunday as most holidaymakers make their way home on congested roads, the NZ Transport Agency has reminded motorists to be careful.

NZTA's Niclas Johansson earlier said the difference between a safe or tragic trip could hinge on whether motorists follow four simple rules.

These include driving at a safe speed, according to the weather and other conditions, always wearing a seatbelt, resting when tired and avoiding alcohol, and focusing on driving rather than distractions such as a phone.

"Congestion and delays are inevitable during holiday periods, so we also want to remind everyone to leave plenty of time for their journey, drive to the conditions and plan ahead before leaving home," Johansson said.

For those planning to travel north out of Auckland this weekend, NZTA's journey planner is tipping traffic on SH1 at Warkworth to be at its heaviest from 9am-7pm tomorrow and from 7am-6pm on Friday.

Returning traffic will then be heavily congested southbound at Warkworth from midday to 6pm on Sunday.

For those heading south out of Auckland, NZTA expects traffic at Takanini to be heavy from 10am-8pm tomorrow and from 7am-4pm on Friday.

The roads will then clog up again with returning motorists on Sunday between 1pm to 8pm.

Coromandel-bound motorists can expect State Highway 25A near Tairua to be banked up from 1pm-8pm tomorrow and 9am-4pm on Friday, with returning traffic heavy from 10am-6pm on Sunday.

Motorists heading north on SH1 out of Wellington along the Kapiti Coast are tipped to run into heavy traffic at Otaki from10am-4pm tomorrow and from 2pm-6pm on Friday.

Heavy holiday traffic is expected north out of Auckland to Whangarei and beyond. Photo / Tania Whyte
Heavy holiday traffic is expected north out of Auckland to Whangarei and beyond. Photo / Tania Whyte

Returning southbound traffic will then be heavy on Saturday from 11am-5pm and on Sunday from 11am-7pm.

Busy traffic is also expected heading north of Upper Hutt towards Featherston tomorrow, while the route will become heavily congested with returning traffic on Sunday from midday-6pm.

Tauranga residents can expect to run into long traffic jams on SH2 and SH29 on Sunday as holiday makers return.

Heavy traffic is also tipped to bank up at logjams around the South Island on Sunday, including near Christchurch and SH1 north of Kaikoura.

On a bright note, Christchurch residents can expect clear skies and tops into the low 20Cs across all of the next four days.

Elsewhere in the South Island, most regions can expect showers beginning tomorrow to continue through to the weekend.

Tomorrow's Anzac Day weather

Whangārei

Cloudy periods. Southwesterlies. 22C high, 13C overnight.

Auckland

Fine, but morning and evening cloud. Southwesterlies. 21C high, 14C overnight.

Hamilton

Early cloud or fog, then fine until cloud returns evening. Southwesterly. 22C high, 9C overnight.

Tauranga

Morning cloud, then fine. However, chance shower from afternoon. Southwest breezes. 23C high, 13C overnight.

New Plymouth Fine, but morning and evening cloud. Southwest breezes developing afternoon. 20C high, 11C overnight.

Napier Cloudy with occasional light rain, then fine spells developing afternoon. Light winds. 21C high, 10C overnight.

Whanganui Fine, but morning and evening cloud. Southwest breezes developing afternoon. 20C high, 13C overnight.

Wellington Morning low cloud and drizzle, then fine spells. Northerlies developing afternoon. 19C high, 13C overnight.

Nelson Fine, light winds. 19C high, 12C overnight.

Christchurch Morning low cloud or fog, then fine. 19C high, 8C overnight.

Dunedin Morning and evening low cloud or fog, then fine before a few spots of evening rain. 19C high, 10C overnight.