Snow on Burkes Pass today – SH8, South Canterbury


Snow began falling between Tekapo and Fairlie, through Burkes Pass on SH8 late this morning.

All road users are advised to take care given few people are expected to be well prepared, says Tresca Forrester, Journey Manager for Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. 

“Winter driving advice applies. We are hopeful this snow may not last too long given its unseasonability: please drive to the wintry conditions, reduce speed and avoid reactive movements, allow four seconds between your vehicle and the one in front for stopping distance,” she says.  

Waka Kotahi crews will monitor these roads closely given the wintry conditions moving up the South Island. People should keep an eye open for any electronic warning signs on high country routes. 

Updates on the Burkes Pass route(external link)

MetService also has snowfall warnings in place for Queenstown Lakes/ Central Otago,  and the Lewis and Arthur’s/ Porters Passes (SH7 and 73) for today:

MetService warnings and watches(external link)

Winter driving conditions advice:

  • Drive slower than you normally would – it only takes a split second to lose control in wet or icy conditions.
  • Avoid sudden braking or turning movements that could cause you to skid. 
  • Accelerate smoothly and brake gently.
  • Use your highest gear when travelling uphill and your lowest downhill.
  • For vehicles without anti-skid braking systems, to avoid skidding or sliding pump the brake pedal in short rapid bursts rather than pressing long and hard.
  • Drive at a safe travelling distance because it takes longer to stop on slippery roads. In winter, especially in poor weather, double the two-second rule to four seconds and leave a safe distance between you and the car you’re following.
  • When travelling in fog, rain or snow, drive with your lights dipped for increased safety.