Fiordland, Southland and Otago highways update, 10.30 am Wednesday


Despite generally sunnier weather in the south of the South Island, rising river levels in Southland and Otago continue to keep highways around Southland and Otago towns closed this morning and into the early afternoon.

“Rivers like the Clutha and Mataura are expected to peak around midday or early afternoon and until that occurs, the highways surrounding towns like Gore remain closed,” says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Journey Manager Peter Brown.

“We encourage people to stay at home today, if at all possible*. Once the risk from the river water abates, we will start to reopen these routes, subject to any urgent repairs.”

*Except for people in Gore moving to higher areas this morning.

The situation for Gore and Mataura as at 10.30 am today(external link)

Queenstown Lakes District into Southland – key route closed

SH6 remains closed between Frankton around Lake Wakatipu to Lumsden in Southland, with slips blocking the road north of Kingston and flood waters affecting the highway between Athol and Garston. Work to clear SH6 will get underway once river and lake levels have dropped, says Mr Brown.

Frankton to Lumsden closed as at 10.30 am today(external link)

Milford Sound / Piopiotahi

The Milford Road, SH94, will remain closed given the amounts of damage along the route from the past few days of torrential downpours, Mr Brown says.

  • Access from Te Anau on SH94 goes to Knobs Flat, 65 km north of Te Anau.
  • The highway is also closed at The Key on the Lumsden side of Te Anau (see map below).

The Transport Agency’s bridge team are inspecting the bridges and abutments along the Milford route currently.

“Contractors are endeavouring to have a road through to the Hollyford turnoff by Friday but getting even single lane access through to Milford Sound / Piopiotahi could take at least another week from then,” says Mr Brown.

“While this work will be carried out as quickly as is safely possible, our immediate focus is still on establishing the extent of the damage and prioritising which repair work will be carried out first.”

Access to Milford Sound is curtailed directly south of the town and also further south at The Key(external link)

Part of the damaged Milford Road highway, SH94, where gabion baskets will need to be replaced

Part of the damaged Milford Road highway, SH94, where gabion baskets will need to be replaced.

Getting regular updates on highway closures via email

For regular daily updates on these, please ensure you are on the Christchurch Transport Operations Centre’s email list – email and request to get the South Island wide advisories.

Check the NZTA web maps for closures and delay points.


A state of emergency was declared on Tuesday 4 February for the Southland Region, including Gore, due to extensive flooding. A state of emergency has also been declared for the Clutha District due to widespread flooding. 

The road to Milford Sound / Piopiotahi, SH94, was closed Monday between Cascade Creek and West Gate (the Chasm).  A state of emergency for the Fiordland community board area was declared by Southland Civil Defence Monday afternoon.

Evacuations of people from Milford Sound / Piopiotahi is being managed by Southland Civil Defence Emergency Management.