Weather: Antarctic freeze unleashed on New Zealand

The Antarctic freezer is set to open on New Zealand as blistering cold temperatures whip across the country next week.

Southerlies will push frigid air up from the Antarctic region, bringing with it the coldest weather of 2018 so far.

"Enjoy the warm weather while it lasts!" MetService warns.

"An airmass change is expected to bring some colder temperatures on Monday and Tuesday. The imagery attached shows colder temperatures creeping up the country behind a cold front likely to bring snow to the higher ground."

Temperatures will creep down near zero on Wednesday for the lower South island as the cold front hits. The Queenstown area is expected to be worst affected with a low of just 1degC.

But there's good news for skiers. The cold is expected to bring snow to much of the South Island and parts of the central North Island.