Flooding update 6.20 pm: Buller River high – travellers advised to avoid Buller Gorge overnight


With rain steadily falling across the West Coast and Buller today, and the Buller River rising rapidly, the NZ Transport Agency is advising drivers to avoid the Buller Gorge overnight.

Both Murchison to Westport (SH6) or Reefton to Murchison (State highways 69 and 6) should be avoided, says Moira Whinham, Maintenance Contract Manager for the Transport Agency on the West Coast.

The Buller River has reached its alarm point at Te Kuha of 8.4 metres.

“At 8.8 metres the river floods the highway, and it is possible that the state highway will close overnight,” she says.

  • The alternate route to Nelson is via Reefton and Springs Junction (SH7 & SH65).
  • People can drive to Westport from Greymouth via the Coast Road, SH6.

Drivers are advised to check the Transport Agency’s website nzta.govt.nz/traffic for up to date travel information before deciding to travel.

“People should keep away from the Buller Gorge overnight given the added risks of the dark,” says Moira Whinham.

West Coast Regional Council flood monitoring service showing levels of Buller River: https://data.wcrc.govt.nz/cgi-bin/HydWebServer.cgi(external link)

South Island wider advice

The State Highway network is currently affected by heavy rain and strong winds, with a number of strong wind warnings across the South Island.

  • MetService(external link) for severe weather warnings.
  • Extra care is required by caravans, campervans, high-sided vehicles and motorbikes.
  • Flooding and durface water events – extra care is required and motorists should slow down.
  • Please take extra care as there may be slips, debris and downed branches which may affect sections of road. Slow down.
  • At any time you can keep up to date with the current State Highway conditions by checking our Traffic Map www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/southisland(external link)

Canterbury (Including Alpine / Mountain Passes)

  • SH 73 Springfield to Arthurs Pass – strong winds
  • SH 73 Arthurs Pass to Otirā – strong winds
  • SH 7 Hanmer Turnoff to Springs Junction – strong winds

West Coast

  • SH 73 Arthurs Pass to Otirā – strong winds
  • SH 73 Otirā to Jacksons – Rocky Point to Jacksons – surface water
  • SH 6 Ross to Haast – flooding
  • SH 6 Haast to Lake Hawea - flooding
  • NEW: SH 6 Inangahua Junction - due to high river levels and fallen trees travel on this route should be delayed.

Both Murchison to Westport (SH6) or Reefton to Murchison (State highways 69 and 6) trips should be delayed until tomorrow and check before you head off.


  • SH87 Outram to Kyeburn – strong winds
  • SH85 Palmerston to Kyeburn – strong winds

SH6 closed at Inangahua Junction - updated 6.20pm

SH6 has just closed due to flooding at Inangahua Junction. Check our web pages for updates in the morning:
https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/roadclosures/258120(external link)

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