As locals swarm to beaches, sunblock stands and ice cream trucks in an effort to keep cool, a local weatherman recorded temperature highs that haven't been seen in nearly two decades.

Rotorua weatherman Brian Holden recorded 32C at his Springfield weather station on Friday, the hottest day in Rotorua since January 1999, when it hit 33C.

Holden said it was almost as hot on Saturday, peaking at 31.5C.

Read more: Street View: How are you combating the heat this summer in Rotorua?

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While the MetService didn't record temperatures quite so high at its Rotorua Airport weather station, meteorologist Kyle Lee said it was certainly above the 22.6C January average for Rotorua.

Swimmers and kayakers enjoy a sunny day at the Blue Lake. Photo/Ben Fraser
Swimmers and kayakers enjoy a sunny day at the Blue Lake. Photo/Ben Fraser

The peak was recorded on Friday with a temperature of 27.8C at the airport.

"The minimum temperature has also been relatively high, in January it has an average of 12.3C, but we are currently at an average of 16 to 17C.

"That's what is making for those muggy and uncomfortable nights."

Lee said although the weather would be cooling down a bit moving into tomorrow and Wednesday, the muggy nights would be here to stay.

"In the daytime we will see the temperature move towards average for this time of year, but we won't see that minimum dropping."

Addison Roberts, 6, (left), Carlie Penniall, 7, Cody Hendry, 7, and Olivia Penniall, 9, having fun at Tikitapu. Photo/Ben Fraser
Addison Roberts, 6, (left), Carlie Penniall, 7, Cody Hendry, 7, and Olivia Penniall, 9, having fun at Tikitapu. Photo/Ben Fraser

At Boyes Beach, Lake Okareka, yesterday morning the marquees were already being set up and families were racing into the water to keep cool.

Wendy Mooney-Campbell and her family came down from Te Puke to camp out overnight.

"It's so hot right now you can't even sleep, so why not come away for the night."

She said it was typical that Kiwis would complain about the heat.

"We have had some crazy extreme weather over the last year, I think there's been a real change in our weather patterns."

Most beach-goers had donned their straw hats, sunblock and brought along their beach umbrellas to stay safe in the sun.

A Rotorua Daily Post Facebook reader in Holdens Bay sent a photo of their thermometer yesterday.
A Rotorua Daily Post Facebook reader in Holdens Bay sent a photo of their thermometer yesterday.

Kathy Olsen and daughter Rachael Davie, who had travelled over from Mt Maunganui, said they had already experienced a bit of sunburn over the weekend.

"For me this is just too hot, I got heat stroke yesterday even when I thought I was prepared," Olsen said.

"I am just starting to wish for a bit of rain."

Rachael said they had to be careful out in the heat, especially with the kids.

"We are making sure we remain hydrated and swimming as much as we can to cool ourselves down.

"Despite our best endeavours with the sunblock we have all got a little bit burnt, so today we are clinging to the shade."

The kids were having a blast splashing in the water and the beach was full of laughter.

Lee Leathers had brought his family back to the beach today.

"We were here until quite late last night, then we had to sleep with all of the doors wide open.

"The heat has been good when we're out doing stuff and enjoying it, but it's stifling when we're just sitting around at home."

A spokeswoman at Unichem Central Pharmacy Rotorua said they were experiencing the same activity they had every summer.

"People are coming in to buy sunblock or after sun and to get our advice on dealing with heat stroke.

"We haven't noticed an increase in people this year, because this is quite typical for us at this time."

The manager of Archies Food Kiosk, at the Lakefront, Sarabjit Saini said the weekend had been pretty busy but with a few events on, slightly slower than expected.

"We always sell a lot of ice blocks and ice creams over summer, but this weekend we have sold a lot more water than normal."