Morning Chill: Harsh Cold Snap Hits Australia

Bundle up, winter has well and truly arrived.

Most parts of Australia have woken up to their coldest morning of the year, with temperatures in some areas dropping below zero.

The coldest place to be in the country was NSW's Perisher Valley, with temperatures falling to -12.0C overnight.

Photo: Bureau of Meteorology

Canberra was the coldest capital city, freezing in at -4.4C in the early hours of the morning. It will also be the coldest city for the rest of the day, only expected to reach a maximum of 10C.

Hobart was the next coldest at 2.1C, closely followed by Hobart where it dropped down to 3.7C.

Temperatures in both Sydney and Melbourne fell to just above 6C, while Adelaide reached 7C.

Predictably, the more northern cities of Brisbane and Darwin didn't feel the chill as much as the rest of the country, only dropping to 12.7C and 20.5C respectively.

The cold weather brought frost to many parts, with warnings issued throughout South Australia and Victoria by the BOM.

The cold snap is being caused by a high-pressure system that spread across the southern parts of Australia and into NSW, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

"There's clear skies and not much wind, so any radiant heat from the sun during the day disappears overnight," a BOM spokesperson told 10 daily.

The Winter Solstice -- the shortest day of the year -- is also in just two days, meaning the nights are longer.

"This is why we're noticing it so much more when we get out of bed because there is more time for the heat to disappear," the BOM said.

A cold air mass from Antarctica has also made its way over the country, bringing temperatures down as well.