More hot weather due this week
Another blast of hot weather is due from across the Tasman later this week, and it could come with strange sunrises and sunsets caused by bush fires in Tasmania.
But first, a front bringing strong winds would pass over much of the country. Northwesterly gales were likely in areas of Wellington and Wairarapa on Wednesday.
MetService forecaster Allister Gorman said a southerly that arrived yesterday afternoon dropped the temperature in Wellington from 26.4 degrees Celsius at noon to 22 to 23C in the early afternoon and 17C by 7pm.
For most of New Zealand that cold front was due to leave mid-week, with more hot weather coming from Australia.
It would mean much of New Zealand should swelter in temperatures near those felt during the weekend.
However, with rain working its way up the South Island's West Coast and due across the Cook Strait mid-week, Wellington could be one of the few places to miss out.
''Overall, things by mid-week, in most places in New Zealand will return to warmer temperatures - but not quite so hot as the weekend,'' Mr Gorman said.
Yesterday morning, MetService could see what appeared to be dust or ash on the weather radar coming across the Tasman Sea.
However, because of the cloud cover, it was hard to say if it was dust from central Australia or ash from the Tasmanian bush fires.
''If you do have clear skies at sunrise or sunset it could be some interesting colouration.''
Yesterday's highs around Wellington were 28C in Kelburn and 29C in Lower Hutt.
LAST DAY OF FREEDOM A CRACKER
Workers heading back to the daily grind today were treated to a summer stunner on their last day of holiday.
Thousands flocked to beaches and rivers around the region yesterday, as the mercury hit 28C in Wellington and 29C in the Hutt Valley. It was even hotter in the Wairarapa, with the temperature hitting 30C in Masterton.
Napier enjoyed a milder 24C, while it was 25C in Paraparaumu.
MetService duty forecaster Philippa Murdoch said the fine weekend was caused in part by a mass of warm air moving in from Australia.
At Wellington's Scorching Bay, Trish Stevens said the weather was magic. She hit the water with daughter Lucy, 7, and niece Olivia Weir, 4. She was not too worried about going back to work tomorrow.
''It's going to be a great year.''
Despite yesterday's cracker, the great weather is not going to last. MetService has issued a severe weather warning with gales expected to hit Nelson, Wairarapa and Central Hawke's Bay tomorrow.
The Dominion Post