A winter freeze is hitting the country with snow falling on the mountains and temperatures beginning to drop.

Temperatures are likely to fall 3-4C across New Zealand this week compared to the weekend.

The freeze was expected to bring snow flurries down to 500m in Dunedin overnight, while light snow was also possible in Queenstown.

In Auckland, the winter chill will lead temperatures to drop from 17C on the weekend to a high of 15C today with isolated showers and fine spells in between, MetService says.

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The mercury will continue falling to hit a low of 4C tomorrow night followed by a frigid high of 14C on Wednesday. However, temperatures should climb to 17C by the end of the week.

Whangฤrei is tipped to hit a top of 16C today and a high of 15C tomorrow.

Hamilton can expect a high of 15C today before clear and sunny highs of 13C midweek, when night time temperatures will drop to 1C.

Tauranga can expect a top today of 15C followed by midweek highs of 14C. A few showers and top of 14C are tipped for New Plymouth, followed by fine weather and tops of 13C midweek.

Napier is set for fine weather today and a high of 16C before the weather takes a dive to 13C midweek with an overnight low of 1C on Wednesday night.

Wellington is set for clear skies and a top of 12C today, followed by an overnight low of 6C and showers tomorrow with a high of 10C.

Christchurch residents should be waking to frosts this morning and snow down to 700m. The mercury is expected to hit a top of 11C with afternoon showers.

The city's heaters will then need to be turned up tonight as an overnight low of -1C is tipped followed by midweek highs of 10C.

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Possible morning thunderstorms and heavy rain is tipped for Dunedin today along with a high of 9C. The thermometer could then drop to 2C tomorrow night.

Snow had been forecast to possibly fall down to 500m around the city overnight.

Sleety rain and a high of 8C are forecast for Queenstown. Overnight temperatures could drop to -3C tomorrow night.

Today's weather

Whangฤrei

: Fine spells. Southwesterlies. High 16C, Low 8C

Auckland: A few showers, with fine spells in between. Southwesterlies. High 15C, Low 9C

Hamilton: Cloudy periods, and a few showers clearing tonight. Southwesterlies. High 15C, Low 3C

Tauranga: Fine, then chance shower from afternoon. Southwesterlies. High 15C, Low 5C

Rotorua: Partly cloudy, with chance shower from afternoon. Southwesterlies. High 12C, Low 2C

New Plymouth: Cloudy periods with a few showers. Clearing at night. Westerlies. High 14C, Low 3C

Napier: Fine. Westerly winds. High 16C, Low 3C

Whanganui: Cloudy periods with a few showers. Clearing at night. Westerlies. High 14C, Low 5C

Wellington: Fine. Northwest turning southwest evening. High 12C, Low 6C

Nelson: Fine. Southwesterlies. High 13C, Low 1C

Christchurch: Few showers from afternoon, mainly about Banks Peninsula with snow to 700m. High 11C, Low 4C

Dunedin: Showers, possibly heavy with hail or morning thunderstorms, easing evening. Snow about the hills. High 9C, Low 5C