South Island highway summary with snow and ice 10.45 am Thursday – Lindis and Lewis Passes have reopened


The NZ Transport Agency advises all South Island road travellers to check the Traffic and Travel website and the map showing area warnings and highway closures for highway updates before heading out today.

Traffic and travel information page(external link)

Traffic information map(external link)

  • The Lewis Pass (SH7) has just reopened and the Lindis Pass (SH8) reopened earlier today.

Ice remains a risk in many places so people need to drive to the conditions, slowly, and be prepared for delays.

Southland highways are all open currently but people are advised to take care in many places due to icy conditions. In Otago, Palmerston to Kyeburn, SH85, remains closed. See chart below for wider picture.

Key passes

The Lindis Pass (SH8, Omarama to Tarras) has reopened, but chains are essential.

The Lewis Pass has just reopened around 10.40 am. 

Trucks parked up at the Hanmer Springs turnoff for the Lewis Pass today.

Trucks parked up at the Hanmer Springs turnoff for the Lewis Pass earlier today.

Porters Pass/ SH73, Springfield to Arthur’s Pass, (Canterbury side) will remain closed until 2 pm at this stage. Arthur’s Pass to Otira (SH73 West Coast side) is also closed with an update at 11 am.

Kaikoura access

SH1 south of Kaikoura is open until 6 pm tonight and is weather dependent. Route 70 via Waiau and Mt Lyford remains closed with crews working hard through the inland road in the snow to try to get it open. 

How to stay up to date:

Simple rules for safe winter travelling:

  • allow extra time
  • ensure your vehicle is safe for winter driving 
  • drive to the road and weather conditions
  • slow down and be prepared for unexpected hazards
  • allow greater following distance between you and the vehicle ahead
  • make sure your cell phone is well charged, check car charger also
  • have blankets, snacks, bottles of water ready in case of emergency or a breakdown.