Southern skifields welcome snow

Queenstown skifields received a welcome 13cm of snow on the mountains over night, while Arrowtown and Queenstown both had snow to ground level.

Although the ski season doesn't officially start until June 9, Coronet Peak general manager Hamish McCrostie said snow in May was a sign of good things to come for his industry.

"Obviously last May was really warm at this time of year. From now on if we start getting snow, it is more likely to stick around."

Local weather man David Crow said the snow fall would just pay a visit and the sun would again return for at least another week.

The temperature read about 2.6degC at 8.45am this morning.

Freezing levels are expected to rise this afternoon he said, meaning warmer temperatures today and overnight.

"Tomorrow right through to the weekend is looking fine and the early part of next week."

Mr Crow said to expect a few frosts in the mornings, which meant the sun was most likely to come out. 

The snow came as part of a cold snap which has hit the whole country.

There was a light dusting on the hills about Dunedin this morning, and thicker coverings on hills in inland Otago and the MacKenzie Country.

In the North Island, Mt Ruapehu received its first snow of the year as the southwest change swept up the country.

MetService forecaster Geoff Sanders said the North Island should brace for more cold.

"Freezing levels are expected to rise over the South Island today but fall over the North Island. We're expected snow over the Desert Road by this evening, and it could even [fall] lower a little bit further to affect some of those higher roads in the Taihape area."

The conditions would improve tomorrow, Mr Sanders said.

Light snow showers are falling to 400m on the Lewis Pass and Milford Rd, but little, if any, snow is expected to accumulate and it should clear by this afternoon.

Snowy conditions have cleared on Arthurs, Lindis and Porters passes.