The hot weather is set to return with temperatures approaching 30C today and some spots tipped to get even warmer during the weekend.

MetService meteorologist Karl Loots said rain hitting the North Island's east coast would slowly move away today leaving most of the island basking under fine weather.

Auckland was in for a day of fine spells and a high of 24C, with similar but warmer conditions in Northland on 26C and Tauranga forecast to hit 28C.

There was a chance of some isolated showers about Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and Taupō later in the day.

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Hawke's Bay and Gisborne would start to dry out this afternoon after a wet run over the past 24 hours.

Loots said about 90mm fell at some stations in the ranges yesterday, while down on the coast some spots picked up between 20 and 30mm.

The South Island is in for a mostly fine day too, with just some showers on the West Coast forecast. Central and eastern areas will see some hot and dry conditions, with Wanaka and Alexandra tipped to hit 29C.

A narrow ridge of high pressure was forecast to move on to New Zealand from the Tasman Sea on Friday, while a front, preceded by a strong northwesterly flow, approached the South Island from the Tasman Sea.

Loots said this would be dragging hot air across from Australia, which was experiencing a record-breaking heat wave.

Parts of Sydney could hit 45C on Friday. On Tuesday, Hay, in the west of New South Wales, almost touched 48C.

While New Zealand would not get anywhere near those levels, eastern areas could see temperatures tipping 30C.

On Saturday Blenheim is forecast to have a high of 31C, Gisborne 30C and Napier 29C. Similar conditions are forecast for Sunday also.

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In Auckland plenty of outdoor activities will be on the cards with fine conditions on Saturday and Sunday and highs of 26C and 25C respectively.

The front moves over southern New Zealand on Saturday, then weakens during Sunday as it moves over the remainder of the country, followed by a strong, disturbed west to southwest flow.

Meanwhile the front was expected to bring a period of heavy rain to the west of the South Island, and northwest gales in central areas and the high country.

Today's weather

Whangārei

Cloudy periods. Southwesterlies. 26C high, 17C overnight.

Auckland

Fine spells, longer in the afternoon. Fresh southwesterlies. 24C high, 18C overnight.

Hamilton

Morning cloud then fine. Southwesterlies. 26C high, 14C overnight.

Tauranga

Morning cloud then fine, but chance of an afternoon shower or two. Southwesterly breezes. 28C high, 16C overnight.

New Plymouth Fine apart from morning and evening cloud. Southwesterlies. 24C high, 15C overnight.

Napier A few showers, clearing to fine by late morning. Southerly dying out afternoon. 26C high, 15C overnight.

Whanganui Morning cloud then fine. Westerly breezes. 25C high, 16C overnight.

Wellington Fine. Northerlies. 24C high, 16C overnight.

Nelson Fine with afternoon sea breezes. 24C high, 17C overnight.

Christchurch Morning low cloud then fine. Afternoon northeasterlies. 25C high, 15C overnight.

Dunedin Mostly cloudy. Occasional rain from afternoon. Light winds. 20C high, 13C overnight.