We're waking to a bitterly cold morning with parts of the country colder than a witch's belt buckle after winter tightened its grip on New Zealand in the first week of the school holidays.

This morning temperatures have plunged to single digits everywhere including an icy -3C in Hamilton, 2.5C in Auckland,1.7C and -4.2C in Twizel - the coldest place in New Zealand at 6am.

And if you're shivery in Auckland, MetService says it's likely to feel like freezing point of 0C, with an advisory to wear at least four layers of clothing if you go outside.

Surprisingly Stewart Island on 8C and Kaikoura on 9.8C were the warmest spots in the land.


However, there will be a slight reprieve from winter's grip over the weekend and for much of next week.

Heavy snow blanketed parts of the central North Island yesterday morning, forcing many major state highways to close.

Many people again woke up to winter wonderland-like conditions again this morning.

The police station in Waiōuru was pictured from above completely covered and surrounded in a sea of white.

A large amount of snow fell in Waiouru, southeast of Mt Ruapehu on State Highway 1. Photo / Supplied
A large amount of snow fell in Waiouru, southeast of Mt Ruapehu on State Highway 1. Photo / Supplied

The Desert Rd and its main detour via SH49 between Tohunga Junction and Waiōuru were both closed.

And through to midday yesterday, MetService anticipated between 2cm and 4cm of snow to fall above 600m.

Fierce winds also hammered the north on Wednesday, causing trees and powerlines to fall and create outages across Auckland and Northland.

Trucks parked in Waiouru on Thursday following after snow fell in the area. Photo / Supplied
Trucks parked in Waiouru on Thursday following after snow fell in the area. Photo / Supplied

MetService is forecasting generally calm weather for the weekend, and the week ahead, but there will be a brief interruption on Sunday and Monday.


A high-pressure system started to build over New Zealand yesterday and would force the weather across the country to settle down.

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The high will largely dominate the weather with winds lighter than over the past week and the skies drier too, however, there won't be much warmth about.

"Clear and still conditions keep temperatures cooler, especially overnight," MetService meteorologist Tui McInnes said.

"We're in [the] thick of winter, so despite the blue skies keep the heavy duvets on the bed, the fireplace stoked and have the heaters at the ready."

Light winds and ridging extending out from an anticyclone over the Tasman Sea would see temperatures plunge overnight, according to WeatherWatch.co.nz.

Those waking up about rural southern Auckland can expect frosts - which will be more likely inland and less around coastal fringe areas.


Inland parts of both islands were expected to get down as low as -2C or -3C.

The warmest daytime temperatures will likely be about the Bay of Plenty through to Northland, with highs in the mid-teens, WeatherWatch.co.nz said.

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Southland and Otago, meanwhile, can expect their weather to be the coolest in the country today, reaching between 9C and 10C.

After the settled weather over the weekend, a cold front is due to hit the South Island on Sunday before sliding northwards from Monday morning.

However, the front is due to be less pronounced than the tempestuous week just been due to a persisting ridge.


Those in the west of the country can expect some wet weather too.

"For the depths of winter, the week ahead is not too shabby; so, when the sun is shining, make the most of it," McInnes said.