A cold snap and a short spell of snowfall left the region's hills and mountains covered with a fresh sprinkling of snow this morning.
The snow was clearly visible on the Doubles, and could be seen from Hardy St in Central Nelson.
Snow and ice affecting some South Island highways could hit the central North Island later today as a southerly blast works its way up the country.
MetService said cold southerlies were spreading over the North Island, with snow expected down to about 800 metres in the central high country.
Snow was likely to affect higher routes, such as the Desert Road, this afternoon and evening.
Two lines of heavy showers and thunderstorms were expected to move over the north of the North Island this morning and into the early afternoon, creating hazardous driving conditions, the agency warned.
MetService said there could be brief but heavy rainfall and strong winds in Northland, Auckland, Waikato and Waitomo, especially near the west coast.
This could cause surface flooding, especially about low-lying areas such as streams, rivers or narrow valleys, and could also lead to slips.
Overnight snow fell in the South Island above about 500m-600m, with about 1 centimetre falling at Naseby in Central Otago, about 600m above sea level.
MetService meteorologist Richard Finnie said snow also fell to about 600m around the hills above Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea, The Remarkables received about 15cm, and about 25cm fell at Mt Hutt.
"It's cleared quite well down there now," Finnie said early today.
State Highway 73 over Arthur's Pass between Otira and Springfield is closed to towing vehicles, with ice on the western side of the pass and snow on the east. The NZ Transport Agency also warned chains were essential between Springfield and Arthur's Pass.
Caution was needed because of snow and ice on SH8 between Fairlie and Omarama, and on SH94 from Te Anau to Milford Sound.
- © Fairfax NZ News