Christmas Day forecasts have been locked in - and it's Auckland that looks like the best place to be unwrapping presents, with clear skies and a high of 23C.

But if you're in Taupō, Waikato, Waitomo or Taumarunui, the weather outside looks frightful. You could be seeing heavy showers or even thunderstorms in localised areas during the afternoon.

Christmas would bring a mixed bag of weather with scattered showers for parts of the North Island and lower South Island, MetService meteorologist April Clark said.

"Those celebrating in Taupō, Waikato, Waitomo and Taumarunui that plan on heading out in the afternoon to work off that Christmas lunch should be aware heavy showers are forecast with thunderstorms and downpours possible in localised areas."

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Tauranga residents were also set to enjoy Christmas lunch indoors with showers forecast late morning - and possible afternoon thunderstorms.

For Wellington, Met Service tweeted on Christmas Eve: "Morning cloud looks to clear to a fine day in the capital on Christmas Day. There will be some southeasterly winds that keep the temperature down but in the sheltered areas it will feel toasty in the sun. Meri Kirihimete."

For the Garden City, the service said: "Christchurch is forecast for a cloudy Christmas Day - but there could be some patchy rain inland."

And Dunedin: "14 degrees, mostly cloudy with occasion rain - sounds like an indoor Christmas for the residents of Dunedin. Current forecast has the rain easing in the evening so a post dinner walk could be on the cards."

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However dry weather was expected elsewhere, Clark said.

"Cloud and cooler than average temperatures are forecast over the east of the South Island could also mean donning those togs and heading into the water may be a less attractive prospect for those who are faint of heart."

Sunny spells were forecast for Auckland with just a chance of a shower and a high of 23C, which would make the city the warmest in New Zealand for Christmas.

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Wellington can expect clear skies and gentle southerlies but a high of just 18C for Christmas.

Boxing Day's weather looks much the same - showers in the central North Island, though it will become fine in the east of the South Island.

However the 26th could have another surprise in store - a tropical cyclone is expected to form near Fiji.

Forecasters say it is too early to say if it will make it down to New Zealand over the holiday period but are watching the area closely.

Isolated downpours and even thunderstorms are possible on Christmas Day for Waikato and Taupō. File photo / Alan Gibson
Isolated downpours and even thunderstorms are possible on Christmas Day for Waikato and Taupō. File photo / Alan Gibson