Long weekend ahead, snow forecast alpine areas


With King’s Birthday Weekend ahead, people using the Arthur’s Pass route (SH73) linking the West Coast and Canterbury or the Lewis Pass route (SH7) linking Tasman/ Nelson and Canterbury should check the weather forecasts and the highways update before heading out.

State highway conditions(external link)

Metservice weather warnings(external link)

“In particular, with snow forecast from Sunday afternoon onwards, alpine sections of SH73 and SH7 could close at short notice,” says Tresca Forrester, Journey Manager for Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

“Don’t be caught out just because it has been a relatively mild start to winter to date, check the weather before you go and be prepared for possible disruption to your journey.

“The first heavy snowfall of winter is forecast to occur during this long weekend although Saturday is looking fine at this stage in many places. We want everyone to stay safe and have a great long weekend so please monitor the forecasts and plan your journeys.”

Waka Kotahi road crews are on standby over the weekend. They will work to clear any snow that arrives and reopen the highways when it is safe to do so.

Main area to watch for – Porters and Arthur’s Passes late Sunday and Monday

SH73, the Porters Pass/Arthur’s Pass route between the West Coast and Canterbury could catch snow on Sunday and Monday at high points.

King’s Birthday Weekend safety tips

As we’re heading into winter, with fewer daylight hours, drivers need to take extra care, especially on unfamiliar roads and highways.

  • People should anticipate more traffic around the key holiday destinations and enjoy the journey on the way – take breaks, stop for refreshments, share the driving.
  • Maintain greater following distances between your vehicle and the one in front, slow down and be prepared for unexpected hazards.