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Capital turns on perfect festive weather

PAUL EASTON
Last updated 05:00 26/12/2013
wellington christmas
KENT BLECHYNDEN/FAIRFAX NZ

COOLING DOWN: Chris Watts and  friends ditched the traditional festivities, grabbed the Christmas tree and headed to Oriental Bay yesterday.

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People flocked to Wellington's beaches as the capital turned on an unexpected Christmas Day stunner.

Despite some dire forecasts last week, yesterday dawned fine and clear.

The fine weather was not expected to last however, with a southerly change expected to bring rain and cloud to many regions today.

Adam Jones, 34, was at Oriental Bay, sipping on a cold beer as the temperature headed towards a high of 22C.

"We packed jerseys, jackets and blankets. You have got to be prepared in Wellington, but it's a perfect day," he said.

Bianca Kim, 26, originally from South Korea, was experiencing her second Kiwi Christmas.

"It's very different to home, it's very cold there at Christmas time," she said.

Chris Watts, 19, was splashing about in an inflatable boat, as part of a Christmas Day barbecue organised by Adventure Wellington.

About 50 people went to Oriental Bay for the event.

With his family spread "all over New Zealand" this year, Mr Watts said it was great to be able to share some Christmas spirit.

"I'm not sure what I'd be doing otherwise."

Last week forecasters predicted no-one would escape rain and showers at Christmas.

That seemed true on Christmas Eve as rain and winds of up 110kmh lashed the capital. But the front blew through and Wellington was able to keep up an unlikely run of good weather on Christmas Day.

It has the hottest Christmas Day of the six main centres in the past decade with 28.6C last year.

MetService duty forecaster Mike O'Connor said the Christmas weather was affected by a more westerly flow than originally expected.

"When it turns westerly Wellington is actually quite sheltered by the South Island."

Other centres had fair to middling Christmas weather.

In Taupo, a cloudy morning greeted holidaymakers, with a high of 19C later on. Showers were expected to hang around tomorrow.

In Napier, high cloud peeled off later in the day, with a high of 26C.

On the Kapiti Coast, a high of 21 was experienced in Paraparaumu.

But the good weather couldn't last forever in Wellington with a dose of blustery reality arriving last night in the form of a southerly.

Showers and southerly winds were expected to hang around today with a high of 18C and similar weather is expected tomorrow.

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- The Dominion Post

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