Labour Weekend: take a break and come back safely


Ahead of the three-day Labour Weekend, with fine weather forecast, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency reminds travellers of a useful tool that shows predicted traffic flows at particular times, based on previous years’ travel patterns.

Tool: link)

"Holiday weekends are always busy across the South Island and with good weather forecast, congestion and delays even without overseas visitors may still occur at peak times,” says Waka Kotahi Journey Manager Tresca Forrester.

“Travel may be more spread out across the country this year with holiday makers taking the opportunity to have a longer break either side of Labour Day weekend and exploring new places.”

Because predicted peak times can change based on incidents (sometimes caused by crashes), weather and driver behaviour, we suggest that you check link) before you leave for accurate information about current road and traffic conditions.

Waka Kotahi crews will shut down most active work sites around the South Island by midday on Friday, 23 October 2020.

Takaka Hill, Tasman District, SH60 post cyclone Gita repairs

This winding hill road is managed 24/7 by traffic signals on the Nelson side given the repairs taking place underneath the road currently. Please be ready to stop at the single lane stretch on your way into Golden Bay and back towards Riwaka/ Nelson.

SH1 through Kaikōura - two lanes mostly everywhere

Several road work projects are ongoing on SH1 either side of Kaikōura as the repairs from the 2016 earthquake wind up. However, over Labour Weekend, the highway will be two lanes in as many places as it can be, with no night work underway until the evening of Monday, 26 October. For the latest information, please check:

North Canterbury/ Bank’s Pensinsula - two unsealed sites which will be managed

SH1 Wilderness Road – just north of Kaikōura

SH75 Hilltop - on the way to Akaroa

Where else can I expect the highways to be busy?

The Waka Kotahi holiday journeys web page shows the busiest areas through the South Island including:

  • SH1 through Kaikōura and North Canterbury, south of Christchurch through Ashburton and Timaru
  • SH7 through the Lewis Pass
  • SH79 near Geraldine
  • SH73 Arthur’s Pass route between Canterbury and the West Coast
  • SH6, between Nelson and Blenheim, and also through Murchison
  • SH6 into and out of Queenstown and Wanaka.

Holiday journeys web page(external link)


  • Drive to the conditions, whether it’s the weather, the time of day or amount of traffic.
  • Take regular breaks to stay alert. Share the driving if you can.
  • Keep a safe following distance from vehicles in front so you can stop safely.
  • Be patient - overtaking is unlikely to make a significant difference to your journey time due to the amount of traffic expected over the weekend.
  • Check your car is safe, warranted, windwipers/lights are working and you have a spare tyre inflated before you head off.
  • Check the MetService extended forecast: link)

Drivers can get real time information from: