Project introduction

The Mackenzie Basin pull-over areas project provides more safe stopping areas along state highways to help maximise the visitor potential of the Mackenzie Basin. It is supported by $5m funding from the regional package of the NZ Upgrade Programme.

  • Estimated project dates

    Jul 2020–Jun 2024
  • Estimated project cost

    $5 million
  • Project type

    Road improvements
  • Project status


Project overview

This project is designed to accommodate increasing numbers of self-driving visitors to the area, by creating safe spaces to pull over and appreciate the Mackenzie Basin’s world-renowned expansive alpine and lake vistas.

The improvements will provide safer access points for visitor drivers and facilities for sharing the road with local drivers, freight and cyclists.

Waka Kotahi is working with iwi, Mackenzie District Council and Te Manahuna Ki Uta/Destination Mackenzie Group on prioritising key areas for improvements.


Improvements overview

Around 9 locations along State Highways 8, 79 and 80 will benefit from safety and access improvements. These include increasing capacity at existing rest areas, new rest areas at scenic locations, upgrading existing rest areas, better signage, directional arrows, safety information for tourists – such as 'Traffic behind you? Let it pass' signs – intersection improvements, road widening and passing opportunities.

We have also been working closely with three Papatipu Rūnanga from Ngāi Tahu and have identified two sites of significance – Dog Kennel Corner and Burkes Pass where cultural artwork will be installed.

The artwork has been created with cultural concepts and advice provided by Moeraki, Waihao and Arowhenua rūnanga. Senior Ngāi Tahu artist and designer Ross Hemera, the creative force behind the artwork, was asked to participate in the project because of his whakapapa links and previous work in the area.

Burke’s pass

The artwork at Burke’s pass will represent a gateway to Te Manahuna, Mackenzie Country, which is a place of tipuna meaning it is significant because of its history of ancestral figures, trails and (food gathering areas). An information panel on the artwork, in te reo and English, explains mana whenua’s connection to the area further.

Tewera’s Corner

The sculpture will feature one large pou as well as several smaller pou and will stand as a welcome to Kā Tiritiri o te Moana (the Southern Alps) Aoraki (Mt Cook) and Te Manahuna as well as the traditions of Rākaihautū and Āriteuru.


Proposed locations overview

Lake Pukaki area

A right turn bay will be installed on SH8 at the entrance to the salmon farm on Twizel-Omarama Road and Haymans Road carpark off SH8 will be extended.

Lake Tekapo area

A right turn bay will be installed on SH8 at Godley Peaks Road.

Mt Burgess and Burkes Pass areas

On SH8, the road will be widened to provide for pull-off areas which allow vehicles to pull over and let traffic pass. 

SH80 SH8 rest stops and viewing areas

A number of potential improvements are being investigated which will be prioritised according to budget and priority.


Locations map


Project type overview and costs

Type Location Estimate Status
Pull-over area and rest area improvements​ Multiple sites along SH8, 79, 80 $1m Underway
Intersection and access improvements Six sites on SH8 $2.5m Complete
Shoulder widening Two sites on SH8 $0.3m Complete
Signage improvements Multiple sites along SH8, 79, 80 $0.2m Complete
Pre-implementation (design, land purchase, service works etc.) All  $1m Complete



The regional package of the NZ Upgrade Programme is an $88m package of projects to address key challenges our regional state highway networks face including safety risks, resilience and congestion problems, accessibility and travel time reliability. The projects will also support regional economic development.