Large swells set to bring dangerous waves across NZ's west coast on New Year's Day

Dangerous waves are set to ring in the new year with large swells expected to hit the country's western coastline tomorrow.

MetService says the dangerous waves will be unpredictable and arrive in sets, beginning later tonight in the South Island's west coast and early tomorrow in the North Island's west coast.

"Not only are the swell waves forecast to become two or three times larger over the course of the day, we are likely to see the sudden arrival of groups of big waves, which can take people by surprise," oceanographer Dr Peter McComb says.

Fishing off rocks and crossing West Coast bars by boat may prove to be too hazardous for the next few days.

MetService says the waves are caused by a deep storm in the Southern Ocean and driven by westerly gales across the ocean south of Australia.

While the wild swells are expected to keep Kiwis off the water, a bright and sunny New Year is in store for the northern and eastern parts of the country.

However, western parts of the country should expect a damper start to the New Year.

Surfer footprints on sandy beach with green waves breaking at Wainui Beach, Gisborne, New Zealand
Waves (file picture). Source: