Youngsters keep cool at Wellington St beach
The swift-flowing Waikato River was peaceful at Wellington Street beach yesterday - until a group of giggling, cheering youngsters broke the calm with a spectacular splash.
They had headed to Hamilton's own inland beach to cool down on a sunny summer afternoon and launched themselves off the jetty.
It is a pastime which should prove popular if the hot weather continues - 2013 was New Zealand's second-warmest year on record, and included the warmest winter on record.
Among the young jetty-jumpers were Roimata Roberts, 16, and her two nephews.
Roimata had a reputation for doing better bombs than the boys, according to a man on the shore.
Another of her regular activities is floating down on the current from nearby "Clay Bay".
She only recently moved to Hamilton but quickly cottoned on to Wellington Street beach.
"I think I'm going to come here every day now," she said.
Her nephews aged 6 and 7 had been with her four times during their visit to Hamilton, and yesterday's trip was a well-deserved reward.
"I promised them. I made them clean the house and, if they did it, we'd come here," she said.
And for Erin Burton, who brought her 5-year-old son, Zeno, to the beach, it provides the best combination of access and convenience.
Zeno wanted to go to Raglan but the thought of the trip out and back was a bit much when Wellington Street beach was so near, she said.
"We're down in Claudelands so we often do the walks around here and come up and have a swim or a coffee at the Hydro. It's always nice", she said.
"It's easy access to the river.
"I think it's probably the best access to the river along the bank."
As for Zeno, he was too busy enjoying himself with his boogie board to answer any questions.
There may be plenty more beach weather to come, as climate scientist Jim Salinger said last year's warm weather was expected to continue this year.
Figures released by Dr Salinger yesterday showed 2013's winter was the warmest since records began in 1870.
Mean temperatures were 1.27 degrees Celsius above the 1961-1990 average, the highest on record.
And the year as a whole was the country's second-warmest on record, with temperatures on average 0.84C above normal.
The only year that was hotter was 1998, at 0.89C above average.
However, this week is likely to bring more rain as a broad low is expected to cross the country.
"This week will bring further spells of rain, heavy and thundery in some places, as another active weather system spreads across the country," MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett said.
"A change to a southwest flow by the end of the week will also make it feel cooler than we have been accustomed to recently."
A band of rain was expected across the country during Tuesday and into Wednesday, and a cooler, showery southwest flow would cover most of the country for the rest of the week.
Temperatures would struggle to get out of the low to mid-teens in some parts of the country, he said.
While the weekend should be drier and more settled weather-wise, more "active weather" was expected the following week.