Summer set to be a sparkler in Waikato
The Coromandel is this summer's "place to be" - with the region predicted to have the best weather over the holiday period.
Niwa is forecasting a dry, hot summer for all our favourite Waikato hotspots, but climate scientist Georgina Griffiths has named the Coromandel as one of her places to be.
The Gisborne-Hawkes Bay area was also up on the list.
After a dismal start to the supposedly sunny months, Niwa is predicting average to below average rainfall and average to above average temperatures for Whitianga, Whangamata, Waihi and Mount Maunganui, while Raglan should have a fairly standard summer.
Holidaymakers heading to the Coromandel or Mount Maunganui can expect an average temperature of 18 degrees and rainfall of about 230mm from November through to January, while Raglan-bound folks can expect a slightly cooler average temperature of 16 degrees with 330mm of rain over the same period.
Ms Griffiths said they cannot precisely predict the timing of the rainfall.
"This doesn't rule out rain over Christmas and new year. It may still rain on campers," she said
Vinnies owner Vito Cardo has been at the Raglan restaurant six years and said his trade was definitely below average last summer due to the big wet.
He was hoping for a hot dry summer and expected trade to be at its peak from Boxing Day through early January.
"From now until then we'll see a steady increase in trade, but it really kicks off on Boxing Day," he said.
Whangamata I-Site manager Nikki Miller is not quite as optimistic as Niwa about what the summer might hold, especially after last years soggy summer.
"The visitors couldn't handle it so they up and left early," she said.
"We're hoping that it'll be a nice hot long summer."
But all is not lost for the region. Ms Miller explained that campground accommodation was pretty fully booked, with a few spaces left in bed and breakfasts and apartments.
"People still come to Whangamata, but how long they stay depends on the weather," she said.
She said Labour Weekend saw an influx of bach owners scurrying in to fix up their holiday homes for summer, which she said was promising.
And Lynette Syme of Aoteroa Lodge in Whitianga said after a dreary summer last year, this years was shaping up to be a stunner for them.
"I'm sure this year its going to be a brilliant summer," she said. "It will bring a lot of people to the Coromandel".
Mrs Syme said bookings were looking good for summer, especially over the New Year period with the CoroGold festival bringing business to the region, despite last years torrential horrors.
She explained that the CoroGold campground was littered with about 1200 abandoned tents last year, as the young ones fled the area to escape the rain.
Mrs Syme and her husband Daryl also run the Cathedral Cove Scenic Cruises which she said has done very well over winter.
"We lost out a bit last summer but we've certainly made that up over winter," she said.
SLICE OF SUMMER IN SPRING
A high-pressure system looks set to inject a slice of summer into Waikato weather this week, although it could be a touch chilly at night.
An elongated anti-cyclone stretching from the north Tasman Sea down to the Southern Ocean looks like it will nudge east over the country tomorrow before stalling as a low-pressure system deepens to the northeast.
That means a golden run of weather for Waikato, with people reaching for the sunblock and shades, and the prospect of taking a dip becoming more attractive by the day.
Forecasters are expecting dazzling blue skies and blazing sunshine through to Friday and into the weekend.
Te Kuiti, Tokoroa and Hamilton will all get a dose.
MetService says there could be a few patches of cloud and the odd spit of rain this morning, with southwest winds, but it will clear.
By tomorrow, the wind will have lost its puff and flicked around to the east.
It will be fine west of the Coromandel Range, with a high of 16 degrees Celsius and an overnight low of 3C, with the possibility of frost.
Throughout the week, daily maximum temperatures are predicted to hover between 18C and 20C, while overnight lows will jump from 9C down to 3C.
As the days tick by in the late spring week, MetService forecasts look like a case of groundhog day: Wednesday - fine, light winds; Thursday - fine, light winds; Friday - dry with little wind; Saturday - dry with little wind; and Sunday - dry with light winds.
On the east coast of Coromandel, things are not so clear. There is the possibility of the odd shower midweek.