Plan ahead for a safe Queen’s Birthday weekend in Te Waipounamu/South Island


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is urging everyone to stay safe on the road this Queen’s Birthday weekend.

“As we’re heading into winter, travelling in wet, cold and poor light conditions means that drivers need to take extra care, especially on unfamiliar roads and highways. Keep up to date with weather forecasts and road conditions before you set off,” says Tresca Forrester, Journey Manager at Waka Kotahi. 

Planning your journey ahead of the long weekend and ensuring that your vehicle is safe for the trip are two of the most effective things people can do to stay safe, she says.

“Long weekends for many are about unwinding and enjoying friends and family. Everyone should get where they’re going safely across Te Waipounamu/the South Island.

“Typically, we see a surge of traffic out of the main centres like Christchurch  into the holiday hotspots across the South Island on the Friday towards places like Queenstown, Wanaka, Nelson and the Marlborough region. Then back again on the Monday. If you’re travelling on Friday and Monday expect some delay and extra traffic on the roads.”

Planning your journey well and checking that your vehicle is roadworthy before heading out on the road are the first important steps. 

The Waka Kotahi Journey Planner is a practical tool for checking travel time information, finding the best route and getting updates on roadworks and closures. It gives traffic and congestion predictions based on previous years’ travel patterns.

Holiday Journey Planner(external link)

“With extra traffic it’s important people plan for longer journey times and share the driving to avoid the risk of a crash from fatigue.


Most of the Waka Kotahi work sites will be packed up or minimised for the long weekend to keep traffic flowing.

In some sections of the West Coast and Tasman, and the Marlborough Sounds the road remains down to a single lane from previous weather events, so extra care is required through those sites.

Marlborough Sounds local roads

If you’re travelling through the Marlborough Sounds where the recovery is still underway after last year’s major storm, check the latest roading conditions.

Latest roading conditions(external link)