Weather: Brutal gales to punt 'fast-moving' Australian smoke across country

Parts of the North Island may be hazy on Sunday, as a strong northwest wind brings smoke from Australia.

Smoke from the fires currently raging in several states of Australia covered parts of the South Island on New Year's Day, including Fox Glacier which received a dusting of ash.

Some residents described a smell like "extinguished campfires".

The following day the smoke also affected skies in the North Island.

A MetService forecaster, Sonja Farmer, said today's smoke won't be as thick as previous plumes.

"This time it's fairly fast-moving in comparison and it's followed by south-westerlies coming in behind as the front goes through, so there will be some smoke around but it may not be around for too long because the other wind is coming behind.

"The other south-west flow will start diverting it back into the Tasman."

MetService is expecting west to southwest gales gusting to 120km/h to buffet Southland, Clutha and Stewart Island today.

The winds are already being felt in parts of the South Island, it says, and will affect inland parts of Canterbury and exposed parts of the North island's east coast south of Hastings later today.

Temperatures are expected to be much cooler than usual for this time of year today with Dunedin, Queenstown and Timaru reaching just 11C.