Calm, sunny weather for the upper North Island lured people outdoors to celebrate summer at the weekend, resulting in record crowds at shows and garden centres.
However, forecasters are warning the sunny weather may not last long.
The likes of last week’s cold snap can be expected to return by tomorrow night when a fresh westerly front brings rain for most districts and a sharp drop in maximum day temperatures from 20C to 16C.
Showers on Wednesday are forecast to gradually ease on Thursday and should clear by Friday, with temperatures rising.
The prospect of more rain was welcomed by Auckland Federated Farmers chairman Wendy Clark.
She said the water table was still low in many areas and rain was needed now in order for the soil moisture in pastures to be adequate for summer grass growth.
Making the most of the sunshine yesterday, Mila Barber, 4, and Georgia Saunders, 3, frolicked barefoot in the fields, while Kyla Redmond, 2, enjoyed strawberries at a family picnic in Cornwall Park.
Gardeners grabbed the chance to plant flowers and vegetables.
At Palmers Garden Centre in Remuera, owner Delma Harrison said the highest sales for eight years were achieved at the weekend.
“We’ve been waiting for the sun to shine.”
People getting their homes ready for summer “bought vegetable plants and roses galore as well as umbrellas and outdoor furniture”.
The Clevedon A & P Show in East Auckland pulled crowds of 15,000 over the weekend compared with 10,000 in other years.
“We’ve had a boomer show thanks to this fabulous weather,” said show secretary Danielle Wright.
Thousands of visitors headed to Auckland’s west coast beaches.
“It’s an absolutely stunning day – one right out of the chocolate box,” said Piha Domain Camp Ground operator Fiona Anderson. “The wind is cooling just enough to make you feel alive.”
– NZ Herald
– Photo: Stefan Yap