Many regions throughout the country basked in the sunshine yesterday despite an unusually chilly start to the day.

Tauranga and Blenheim shared the riches of New Zealand's hottest - or maybe warmest - locations with 17C each on Saturday.

But make the most of the rest of the weekend, with the settled weather tipped to continue tomorrow and the start of the week before a flip.

MetService forecaster Aidan Pyselman said a ridge of high pressure on Friday meant conditions would be settled for most of the weekend.

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The system is the reason why it was so cold overnight Friday, with clear skies and light winds making perfect frost conditions.

Christchurch was the most frigid of the main centres, dropping to -4.6C at 6am yesterday, with rural areas like Nelson Lakes reaching -7C.

Children enjoy the beach at Point Chevalier on a fine sunny day in Auckland. Photo / Peter Meecham
Children enjoy the beach at Point Chevalier on a fine sunny day in Auckland. Photo / Peter Meecham

Another cold start can be expected this morning in the North Island and much of the South Island where settled weather is expected to continue.

However, a slow front in the far south tomorrow will start to make its way north with an unstable northwest flow to follow for much of the week.

The front is expected to bring rain in the far south and west coast, but there is a silver lining with strong westerly winds to warm temperatures for the island.

"We've got severe weather warnings and watches out for heavy rain in the Westland ranges and headwaters of Otago lakes and rivers," Pyselman said.

"Into the start of the week, the ridge recedes a bit further north and we get into an unstable northwest flow that carries on through much of the week."

The day will be mostly sunny throughout Northland, Auckland, and Coromandel, also Bay of Plenty, Taupo, and Gisborne to Wairarapa.

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There will be a few light showers from Manawatu northwards, with mostly cloudy conditions expected from Waikato to Wellington, including Taumarunui and Taihape.

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High cloud will increase tomorrow for Nelson, Marlborough, and Canterbury but it will be a generally fine day.

Those in Buller can expect cloudy periods tomorrow, as well as a few showers. Rain will develop today in Westland and heavy rain will fall in Fiordland.

And in Otago and Southland, rain will spread from Stewart Island overnight to mainland Southland and Clutha this morning with a few spots of rain elsewhere.