Snow covers a daffodil in Tekapo.
© George Empson
Snow covers a daffodil in Tekapo.
Many parts of New Zealand woke to icy temperatures this morning, with parts of the South Island down to single digits as snow and southerlies settled in.

Snow has fallen in parts of the South Island and 1News has been sent pictures and video of snow falling in Methven and Tekapo in Canterbury.

MetService forecasts a further drop in temperatures overnight with most regions expected to experience the wave of unseasonable snow and cold weather.

MetService says the intense cold outbreak will spread northwards over the country today and on Thursday, bringing low snow to the South Island and the lower North Island.

NIWA said by early Thursday morning, the entirety of the South Island is forecast to "feel" below 0°C, with many feeling anywhere from -15 to -5°C.

South to southwest gales are also possible, especially in the east from Invercargill to Wellington.

A number of weather watches are in place, mostly in the South Island. A heavy snow warning is in place for Banks Peninsula, Southland, Stewart Island, Clutha, Dunedin, Central Otago south of Alexandra, the Southern Lakes District south of Queenstown, and Fiordland from Te Anau southwards.

MetService has advised that "heavy snow may disrupt travel in affected areas and could damage trees and powerlines. Cold conditions may cause stress for livestock".

In the North Island, the Napier-Taupo Road (SH5) and Remutaka Hill Road (SH2) also have a heavy snow warning in place with snow showers expected to affect the road overnight and early tomorrow morning.

MetService meteorologist Lewis Ferris told 1News the weather will be more settled by the weekend.

"Today we are seeing the coldest of the air move north and it will linger on Thursday. It will still be cold on Friday but the winds from the south will gradually ease and the wet, snowy weather will move away to the east of the country and remain offshore.

"By the weekend we see high pressure building over our shores which will bring mainly settled conditions for the weekend."

He said next week still looks unsettled but there will be opportunities to get the kids outside, however people will still need to be aware of the forecast as some rain is expected across the country.