Queen's Birthday weekend: Holiday hell as traffic, weather collide

The Queen's Birthday weekend will become a holiday hell as heavy traffic and horrid weather collide.

Weather Watch says the long weekend will be blasted by rain, hail snow and gales.

"Even northern NZ is affected by the southerly surge, the first one of its kind so far this year," the forecaster says.

Temperatures around the country will drop 7 to 12C from current daytime highs. NIWA principal scientist Chris Brandolino says Saturday will be "downright miserable weather-wise".

"Wind, some rain showers, colder temperatures, and especially after the warm May and warm Autumn that we have had, it is really going to accentuate the coldness, that big difference from the near record warmth to this blast of cold weather."

Weather Watch warns that roads will likely be hit by the snow and rain.

"State Highways are likely to be impacted by snow along with all alpine passes," it says.

There are even more traffic problems for Kiwis. The New Zealand Transport Agency warns people heading away over the holiday to be prepared for heavy traffic.

Nine hours of heavy traffic is predicted on SH1 Takanini south of Auckland on Friday as people leave. Seven hours of heavy traffic is forecast on SH1 between Puhoi and Wellsford on Monday coming back.

Canterbury, the Coromandel, Waikato and Wellington will be among the other areas worst affected around the rest of the country.

"Allow plenty of time and remember you are on holiday, so no need to rush," the NZTA says.