Snow has made its way to Dunedin blanketing the surrounding hills.

Warnings remain in place for parts of the South Island with expected rain, snow and wind overnight.

Metservice says some areas in Otago and Southland has been blanketed with 20cm of snow accumulating to 400m.

Snow is expected to keep falling throughout the night until Saturday morning.

The Canterbury plains and Christchurch can expect some snow to 200m in parts as well but not to the same levels further south.

Strong winds are due to sweep through the plains and around Banks Peninsula overnight to speeds as high as 110km/h.

Metservice also says it is going to be a nippy night around the Island with Alexandra, Wanaka, Queenstown, Timaru and Christchurch all dropping below 0degC.

Moderate rain is also expected to move up the east coast drenching much of Canterbury overnight.

First sign of winter sweeps the south

The first significantly cold outbreak of the year hit Invercargill on Friday.

MetService has issued a severe weather warning for the lower South Island, and say strong winds will be the first warning sign that snow could soon follow.

Dark weather approaching Invercargill. (Rosie Burkitt)
Dark weather approaching Invercargill. (Rosie Burkitt)

Southern Lakes, Central Otago, Dunedin, Southland and Clutha will experience a downfall from Friday afternoon until Saturday.

That will weaken as it works its way up the islands, but even in the central North Island there could still be snow above 800m.

MetService says it's enough to make the roads slippery and while there have been a few road snow warnings this year, this is "the first significant warning".

Queenstown Crown Range snow
Snow on Queenstown's Crown Range on Friday morning (Jeff Aldridge/Newshub.)

Late on Thursday night MetService reported winds gusting at 85km/h at Christchurch Airport, and 115km/h at the top of the Port Hills.

The temperature drop was rapid as the southerly wind hit, with Bluff going from 12degC at 2pm to 6.9degC one hour later, NIWA weather reported.

Queenstown's Crown Range saw its first proper winter dusting of snow overnight.

Showers are also forecast across Aotearoa on Saturday, with snow to low levels in the South Island.

Queenstown Crown Range
Queenstown Crown Range (Jeff Aldridge / Newshub.)

Sunday is mostly fine for the whole country with just a few showers for the east coast.