Touch of winter

Photo by James Beech.
Photo by James Beech.

Queenstown and Wanaka awoke to a wintry blast yesterday with the heaviest snowfall seen on mountain peaks so far this year.

Snow turned Coronet Peak and the Remarkables bases white, more than a month before the ski areas open, boding well for the 2014 season.

Crown Range Rd was affected by snow and chains were required in the morning while contractors cleared the road, the Queenstown Lakes District Council said.

At Queenstown Airport, a Christchurch departure was cancelled and a Wellington departure was delayed by more than two hours, while Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch arrivals were delayed up to 30 minutes.

Rainswept southwesterly winds kept the mercury from climbing higher than 9degC downtown and around the Wakatipu.

A brief respite of sunshine and clouds are forecast for the rest of the week, before cloud and rain at the weekend.