Kiwis optimistically look to the heavens anticipating patchy Christmas Day weather

Barbecues at the beach, or Christmas under cover?

That's the question facing New Zealanders with the big day almost upon us.

"There's a pressure to get the forecast right every day, but particularly during the holidays when we know people have time off and they want to make the most of the outdoors," MetService’s Lisa Murray says.

The North Island is looking generally dry, but there could be a chance of showers in the evening.

MetService is picking northern Hawke's Bay and Gisborne as the best of the bunch this year.

For Westland and southern New Zealand, it's shaping up to be a wet Christmas.

"There is a front moving up the country, and behind that front some cold temperatures as well.

"[The front] will reach the mid-Canterbury region by midnight. The West Coast could get some heavy falls over there, even possibly a thunderstorm or two."

Check the forecast in your region at the 1 NEWS NOW weather page

The big day's almost here – will it be barbeques at the beach? Source: 1 NEWS