Winter wonderland: Heavy snow blankets parts of the South Island

Magical photos from across Fiordland and Southland show wintry scenes as a cold blast sets in. 

Winter may officially be over, but heavy snow has started to fall in parts of the South Island as another belt of bad weather makes its way up the country.

Residents in Te Anau, Ohai, Manaporui, Mossburn, Nightcaps and Tuatapere have all reported snow falling on Wednesday.

Winter wonderland: Heavy snow blankets parts of the South Island
Photo credit: Supplied

The New Zealand Transport Agency says State Highway 94 from Te Anau to Milford Road is closed due to snow.

The Mountain Safety Council is warning trampers to steer clear of back-country areas. 

It will be a wet week for much of the country, with heavy rain and strong winds expected for the western and eastern coasts of the South Island and the upper North Island.

MetService predicts the blast will hit the North Island on Thursday and Friday, where severe gales and heavy rain could affect central and northern parts of the island. 

Snow could also accumulate above 600 metres in the North Island high country.  

A heavy snow watch is in place in inland parts of south Canterbury, Otago and Fiordland and Westland until tomorrow. 

MetService predicts snow could still fall to 400 metres in Canterbury and Otago later in the week. 

Last month, parts of central Otago were blanketed with heavy snow that saw flights cancelled and left residents in Queenstown, Frankton and Arrowtown without power.