Heavy snow in Queenstown, New Zealand.
© James Allan/New Zealand Herald
Heavy snow in Queenstown, New Zealand.
Temperatures in parts of the country feel minus 20 as 'significant weather event' hits

A spring weather bomb has battered New Zealand, closing roads, dumping snow on beaches and causing dozens of flight cancellations.

The country's Met service described the storm as "the worst of the season" and said it was the result of a low-pressure system moving up the country from Antarctica. The system was "very unusual in how widespread the severe weather is" and was a significant weather event, a release from the service said.

The National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research said parts of the South Island could feel as cold as -20C on Monday and Tuesday.


Aoraki Mt Cook resident Charlie Hobbs said 27 centimetres of snow fell in the village overnight on Sunday with snowfall
© CHARLIE HOBBS
Aoraki Mt Cook resident Charlie Hobbs said 27 centimetres of snow fell in the village overnight on Sunday with snowfall "picking up and intensifying" on Monday.

Snow has fallen on the tourist hub of Queenstown where most flights in and out of the resort were cancelled on Monday. Flurries also fell at sea level in Wanaka, Dunedin and Te Anau.


On Stewart Island, at the bottom of the country, snow was falling on Oban beach, the Met service reported. In Southland and Fiordland the severe weather coincided with lambing season.

Snow was also forecast for beaches in Southland, Otago and Fiordland for two days but should clear by Wednesday.


Multiple weather warnings and watches were issued for the bottom half of the South Island, as well as the capital city of Wellington where gale force northwesterly winds gusting up to 120km/ph were predicted. Gale force winds could extend as far as Napier, on the east coast of the North Island.