NZ weather: Temperatures drop well below zero, one town hits -10C as bitterly cold snap sweeps country

Much of Aotearoa is waking up to a bitterly cold morning on Wednesday as temperatures hit -10C in the coldest part of the country.

Omarama, in the South Island, dropped to a teeth-chattering -10C celsius at 6am - the coldest temperature recorded at a non-elevated weather station this year.

And it's not much better for the rest of the country with much of the South Island waking up in the negatives. 

Christchurch is -3C while Timaru, Westport and Invercargill are -2C. In Queenstown, temperatures hit a freezing -4C.

Nelson and Franz Josef are some of the warmest areas in the south at 0C, while Blenheim is practically basking in comparison at 1C. 

Temperatures are slightly warmer in the North Island with Wellington and New Plymouth hitting 8C. 

Napier and Palmerston North are 9C while Masterton is seven. 

But temperatures dipped again in the central North Island with Rotorua and Taupō on 4C. 

Hamilton meanwhile is the coldest part of the north at 0C while Auckland is 7C, Tauranga is six and Whangārei is five. 

The warmest areas in the country are Gisborne and Kaitaia at 10C and the highest temperature in the country is just 11.7C in Castle Point. 

The chilly start comes after the coldest night across the country last night and the shortest day on Tuesday.

Overnight temperatures in Auckland dropped to 4C with Hamilton and Taupō hitting zero. Down south, Queenstown and Twizel hit a bone-numbing -5C overnight. Timaru and Wanaka hit -4C  while Invercargill was on -3C. 

Commuters are being warned to take care this morning with Dunedin police issuing a warning over icy roads. People in the south are advised to delay travel where possible. 

It might be cold but much of the country is in for fine weather on Wednesday - a welcome reprieve after being battered by a large storm last week.