A polar blast welcomed winter over Queen's Birthday weekend, allowing some to dust off the skis before backing off just enough for a sunny end in the upper North Island.

Clear skies overnight Sunday made it the coldest night of the year so far, with many spots across the country dropping into the negatives. Blenheim was the coldest of the main centres at a freezing -3C.

The chilly polar blast that brought heavy rain, thunderstorms and hail to much of the country over the weekend, was welcome news for the skifields.

Whakapapa on Mt Ruapehu received a nice dusting for its opening day in Happy Valley for beginner riders on Saturday. Whakapapa is expected to fully open on June 22 and Turoa on June 29, until October 28.

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Cardrona near Queenstown also enjoyed a decent dusting for its opening weekend for beginner riders, meanwhile Mt Hutt in Canterbury reported a dump of 75cm on Saturday, with more to come mid-week ahead of its opening day this Friday.

A snowboarder tests fresh snow at the Manganui Ski Area on Mt Taranaki. Photo / Supplied
A snowboarder tests fresh snow at the Manganui Ski Area on Mt Taranaki. Photo / Supplied

MetService meteorologist Kyle Lee said the weather system sourced its wind from as far south as Antarctica, which dropped temperatures substantially, and allowed snow to lower than 200m in places.

Meanwhile Auckland residents enjoyed a chilly but fine end to Queen's Birthday weekend with sunny skies through Monday.

Heavy rain is set to return however and hit the entire North Island this week as a major weather system brought wild weather to both sides of the Tasman.

Jake Speckmeier, 4, goes for a spin at The Cloud. Photo / Hayden Woodward
Jake Speckmeier, 4, goes for a spin at The Cloud. Photo / Hayden Woodward

North Island regions could expect "heavy rains, strong winds and thunderstorms on Wednesday as another significant system takes aim at the country", MetService said.

"The rainfall accumulations show that none of the North Island escapes the rain."

It comes as forecasters in Australia have put out a severe warning for heavy falls and strong winds on Tuesday across a more than 1000km stretch of coastline from Newcastle in the north down to the Victorian border in the south.

Lee said the same system would hit New Zealand on Wednesday.

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