An icy blast is making its way up the country on Wednesday, with ocean swells bringing waves up to eight metres high in Cook Strait.
Drivers travelling between the islands are stuck, as both Interislander and Bluebridge ferries have been cancelled for the day.
"Even bigger waves will be offshore to the east," MetService said on Facebook on Wednesday morning.
The cold temperatures are being welcomed by skifields. Mt Ruapehu's skifields Facebook page said: "Our snow dancing has paid off! 15cms in the last 24 hours... keep it coming!"
The South Island is expected to get the worst of the gale-force winds, but some waves are expected to break over south coast roads around Wellington, especially around high tide at 8:45pm.
In Auckland, the Northcote Point wharf was closed due to high winds on Wednesday morning.
Apart from morning rain, most of the North Island is expected to see clearer skies in the afternoon.