Weather: -8C conditions in Mackenzie Basin freeze Omarama's fountain

Below freezing temperatures created some breathtaking views in the Mackenzie Basin on Thursday morning.

Although winter officially starts in five days, it came early for Omarama and its surroundings. The town's fountain was frozen solid on Thursday and could have easily been mistaken for a magical ice sculpture.

Most of the Mackenzie basin woke to a spectacular whiteout on Thursday, expressed in understated terms by the town's locals.

"Everything's white, it's amazing, it's good to look at," says Andy Moore of Hot Tubs Omarama.

"I wasn't actually expecting it this morning, but yeah, with that fog yesterday, everything just set down, it's great, looks good."

Official temperatures dipped as low as -8C, freezing ponds and roads, which created difficult driving conditions and to locals by surprise.

MetService says it's the coldest day of the year so far, but Moore doesn't think the temperature is the worst

"Minus 9 at home, but it's -4C now, so it's not too bad," he says.

Not too bad for a local perhaps, but pretty freezing for most.