South Island residents woke to a yellow haze this morning after smoke from the devastating Australian bush fires drifted across the Tasman.

South Island residents shared photos showing the eerie haze that settled this morning, labelling it "apocalyptic".

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MetService shared a timelapse video showing the smoke's arrival, saying the phenomenon was observed around the country.

The MetService said yesterday that the haze would spread northwards over week, until a front sweeps it away at the weekend.

The decade closed to an inferno in Australia with holidaymakers huddled on the beaches, whole towns devoured, dozens of homes destroyed and at least two lives lost on the deadliest day of the worst bush fire season on record.

As more than 100 fires burned across NSW, in Victoria, 20 major fires continue to burn, four people are missing and thousands of homes have lost power as the Defence Force moves in to help evacuate people.

Australian bushfires still raging. Photo / Supplied
Australian bushfires still raging. Photo / Supplied

Police have confirmed a father and son died trying to defend their home on New Year's Eve from the devastating Cobargo fire that almost destroyed the historic NSW village. Another man was reported missing from Belowra, west of Narooma, along with four people from East Gippsland in Victoria.

Fire also threatened Batemans Bay, on the NSW South Coast, with the town now cut off from the outside.