Flooding Southland, heavy rain Central Otago, snow Canterbury and the Lindis Pass – avoid travel


People need to avoid travel through Southland and Central Otago today, says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. 

“People should not be out on flooded roads today or overnight. If you have an essential journey, you will need to build in extra time and please be informed of what might be ahead of you,” says Nicole Felts, Journey Manager for Otago and Southland for Waka Kotahi.

Snow is also forecast for the Canterbury Plains and high country into this weekend, making journeys much slower and drivers need to travel informed and prepared.

Key places to check:

Several roads and highway closed yesterday and overnight have since reopened. The Milford Sound route, SH94, reopened at 1 pm today.

Snow, rain big picture

MetService has a heavy rain watch over Otago and the Canterbury Plains. 

  • The main focus of concern around snow has shifted slightly to the south with the Lindis Pass (SH8 between Tarras and Omarama, including the Mackenzie Basin) catching a dumping of snow currently.  The Lindis is closed to towing vehicles currently.
  • The snow is likely to dump along SH73 around Porters Pass this afternoon above 400 metres but may not get as far north as the Lewis Pass/ Hanmer area. SH80 into Mt Cook has just closed due to heavy snow.
  • While rain is easing over Southland currently and the weekend should be dry, rain is continuing over Otago/ Central Otago/ Queenstown with potentially heavy falls then snow over the Haast Pass into Otago this morning/afternoon.

Current highway closures

Makarora/Haast Pass closure, SH6, closed this weekend

The most significant highway closure is near Makarora, south of the Haast Pass, however there are multiple slips along SH6 north of Lake Hawea. This route to the West Coast will be closed this weekend with an update midday Monday. Crews will tackle the slips from each side this weekend. The closure point now starts at Lake Hawea with snow falling currently.

Journey Planner: SH6 Makarora to Haast live traffic updates(external link)

Close up photo of snow on road and a vehicle clearing snow in the distrance

Snow falling currently around Makarora.

Creek with sludge

Muddy Creek bridge, SH6, near Makarora, before the snowfall.

Canterbury – snow and rain

SH80 into Mt Cook/ Aoraki, closed yesterday due to a fire is now closed due to heavy snowfall (see below). (It has been open this morning.)

Snow on road

Snowing in Canterbury

Southland – flooding continues

In the Gore District area, please drive with caution on SH94 near the Otamita Stream area, there is surface flooding which is increasing.

Due to flooding on both state highways and local Southland District Council roads, there is no alternative route from Invercargill to Winton (unless travelling via Mataura).  We ask people not to travel unless absolutely necessary. 

More information

Expect surface flooding

  • SH94 between Riversdale to Gore
  • SH96 at Hedgehope
  • SH99 near Wallacetown

Otago: many roads and highways have surface flooding

  • SH 6 Jollies Hill to Kingston
  • SH85 Omakau to Kyeburn – snowing currently