A super spring high is set to bathe the country in warm temperatures as school goes back but not before a bitter cold snap brings snow and thunderstorms to the south.

While most of the country can look forward to weather that feels more like summer over the next week parts of the South Island will shiver as temperatures tumble to near freezing and wild winds whip the far south.

The worst of the wet weather is expected to hit the west of the South Island over the next few days.

By Monday the North Island was expected to enjoy a mainly warm and dry week with temperatures soaring into mid-20s stretching right into Labour Weekend.


This morning snowfall warnings were issued for roads across Otago and Fiordland with snow showers expected after lunch tomorrow.

MetService said the Crown Range and Milford Roads could expect snow showers from Saturday afternoon down to 800m.

While little snow was expected to settle on the Crown Range Rd up to 5cm was expected to cover the Milford Rd near the tunnel.

There was also a threat of thunderstorms laced with hail lashing Dunedin tomorrow but possibly hitting Buller down to Fiordland and Southland to Mid-Canterbury tomorrow.

MetService duty forecaster James Millward said the North Island could expect more settled conditions in coming days but fronts skirting over the South Island meant southern regions would be hit by snow, thunder and cooler temperatures.

Alexandra and Queenstown are expecting a bone-chilling 1C on Saturday night.

Millward said the South Island could expect rain on Monday and Tuesday but everything was tipped to change as a large block of fine weather began to spread everywhere.

"By the end of the week the high should be cushioned over all of the New Zealand," said Millward.

Temperatures would start feeling more like summer in eastern regions with Napier expected to reach 22C tomorrow. Despite a chilly start to the week the mercury would hit 24C in the central Otago township of Alexandra by Thursday.

He said it was a little too far out to forecast the upcoming Labour Weekend with any certainty but the weather was showing "an improving trend".