Winter Matariki weekend: what else do I need to know if I am driving around Te Waipounamu?


This Matariki weekend media release has recently gone out:

Waka Kotahi, Police, ACC, Ministry of Transport, Auckland Transport and WorkSafe are joining up to urge people to stay safe on the road this Matariki weekend.

Waka Kotahi, Police, ACC, Ministry of Transport, Auckland Transport and WorkSafe are joining up to urge people to stay safe on the road this Matariki weekend.

With the first mid-winter long weekend approaching, driving to the conditions is key to staying safe on the road. Whether it’s wet, slippery, or icy on the road, planning ahead, allowing extra time and driving slower makes a difference.

“It gets dark earlier, and the weather conditions can be trickier this time of the year. It only takes a split second to lose control in wet or icy conditions. Make sure you check your tyre tread and pressure, use headlights, and take extra care – it’s simple, easy and helps save lives,” says Kane Patena, Director of Land Transport at Waka Kotahi.

Police have staff patrolling the road every day, and they will be visible out on the roads this long weekend. 

See full release:
Let’s make our first Matariki holiday a safe one (22 June 2022)

Te Waipounamu highway and road tips

Recent slips

Upper Buller Gorge and the Coast Road,SH6

Waka Kotahi crews have now reopened the Upper Buller Gorge, SH6, past the recent Lyell slip site, 24/7. The highway is still down to one lane with traffic lights in place, and work crews will still continue to monitor the site.

They are working hard to reduce the rockfall risk at Meybille Bay north of Punakaiki, also SH6, the Coast Road, so it can also open 24/7 for the long weekend. A final decision on whether night-time closures will need to be continued will not be made until Thursday afternoon (23 June).

SH6 Westport to Greymouth at Meybille Bay live traffic update(external link) 

Currently there are up to 30-minute delays at Meybille Bay while work to make this site safer is underway. It is currently closed each night at 5 pm and reopens each morning, subject to rockfall inspections, at 8 am.

Both these sites could be affected by more heavy rain, so if in doubt please check the Waka Kotahi traffic and travel page map before you head out.

Journey Planner(external link)

Ice and snow

Porters Pass, SH73

The retaining wall on Porters Pass is being repaired after an earlier fire. This has required the road to be down to single lane and 30km/ hour with traffic signals for several weeks. Please build in an extra ten minutes to your journey.

SH73 Springfield to Castle Hill (Porters Pass) live traffic update(external link)

Otago, the Lindis Pass, Mackenzie Basin

Icy conditions have made travelling around Otago and between Takapō/Tekapo and Twizel difficult the past two mornings. The road between Takapō/Tekapo and Twizel closed this morning due to extremely icy conditions.

Please check for advice on our web page and any closures.

Shaded areas and bridge surfaces are the places you are most likely to strike ice.

The Milford Sound/ Piopiotahi highway, SH94

Currently the avalanche risk is low for this route which is open 24/7, but it can change. Please check our traffic map before you leave Te Anau.