Two South Island/ Canterbury alpine pass routes closed Saturday morning 1 June


Both routes between the West Coast and Canterbury were closed Saturday morning due to snow.

The Transport Agency encourages people to decide if they need to travel at all today along routes with bad weather/ snow, and to bear in mind with shorter winter days, highways may close overnight if snow is still falling later today.

Arthur’s Pass to Springfield, SH73, including Porters Pass, where there were snow white out conditions overnight, was closed late Friday night 31 May. Snow has been easing with rain washing snow away at lower altitudes. Update at 1 pm today: link)

The Lewis Pass, SH7, now reopened between Hanmer Springs turnoff and Springs Junction. Updated Saturday 1 June at 2.24pm.


Porters Pass, SH73, earlier today

Porters Pass, SH73, earlier today. 

Update on South Island closures/ major warnings as at 11 am today

With lower temperatures overnight, snow/ice has started to have an impact as well, which has led to closures, restrictions and warnings the following areas:

  • SH73 Springfield to Arthurs Pass Village (Porters Pas) - Closed as of 10:50pm 31 May
  • SH7 Hanmer Turnoff to Springs Junction (Lewis Pass) - Closed at 10am 1 June
  • SH79 Geraldine to Fairlie - Chains essential and closed to heavy/towing vehicles
  • SH8 Tekapo to Fairlie (Burkes Pass) - Chains essential and closed to heavy/towing vehicles
  • SH8 Omarama to Tarras (Lindis Pass) - Chains must be carried.

There are also strong wind warnings in place for road users on:

  • SH6 Renwick to Nelson

Other parts of Canterbury

  • SH77 (Glentunnel, Windwhistle, Methven) weather slowly clearing.
  • SH75 (Akaroa highway) heavy rain with snow flurries expected around Hill Top this afternoon.
  • SH1 Saltwater Creek north of Christchurch. Flooding with traffic management and speed restrictions in place.
  • SH1 North (Kaikōura), Transport Agency crews are keeping an eye on this area this afternoon as the weather rolls north.
  • Christchurch City. Some surface flooding but expected to ease as rain moves north this afternoon.

Canterbury highway updates here: link)

MetService's severe weather outlook link)

Winter driving tips

  • Check weather and travel conditions on highways before you start your trip and on breaks throughout your journey - use link) or call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).
  • Ensure your car is safe and equipped: spare tyre, warrant of fitness up-to-date, lights, brakes and wind-wipers all working, clean windscreen inside and out.
  • If you are travelling long distances, share the driving and have regular breaks.
  • Everyone should be protected by wearing a seat belt throughout the journey.
  • Driving on roads that are exposed to snow and ice can be treacherous, so slow down and drive to the conditions, not the allowable/legal speed limit. Increase the following distance between you and the vehicle ahead.
  • Be prepared when travelling in case of delays on the road, particularly in alpine conditions. Make sure you have warm clothes/food/water/charged mobile phone. In an emergency, phone 111.
  • Learn about winter driving, including how to get your vehicle ready and how to put on snow chains at
  • If extreme weather or treacherous road conditions are forecast, consider whether you really need to travel.

More helpful advice:

Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey. Keep up to date with: