An update on the Haast Pass Highway 6 slip for the South Island properties sending guests up the West coast. The road has been open 93% of the last 15 days October 2 to October 17. This is having devastating consequences for tourism operators both on the coast and in Wanaka.
There have been some ongoing challenges on Highway 6 since heavy rain triggered a slip on September 8 2013. It is located 3 km on the West Coast side of the Haast Pass summit. Since then there has been a lot of road work on the slip as it stabilises. NZ Transport Agency have just run public meetings right down the West Coast (October 17) to update us on progress on fixing the problem.
The slip at Diana Falls is 3km before the top of the Haast Pass.
Although there were long closures back in September, throughout October Highway 6 has been open for much of every day for 14 of the last 15 days (93% of the time). That means that providing you aren’t running on a very tight schedule such as some of the big tour buses, people will usually get through the slip area straight away or with a brief delay every day so be a little patient. There are road men at the slip site all the time letting people through and managing the traffic and safety.
For safety reasons the Highway Authorities are closing the road every night between 6pm and 8am. Our guests don’t usually travel at night anyway because they are here to see the scenery so this will not affect them.
We do suggest that if they are driving north from Queenstown/Wanaka or south Hokitika to Queenstown/Wanaka, aim to come through the slip area around the middle of the day and don’t leave it until the late afternoon (when they might decide to close the road early) or early in the morning (when the roading people might still have to clear rocks off the road).
Our guests coming to or going from the Lodge usually do drive through this area around the middle of the day so this should not be an issue.
When there is heavy rain it may trigger more rockslides that have to be cleared off the road but usually this is achieved by 1pm each day.
The closures are getting less and less as the loose rock is washed down off the slip.
From mid November 2013 onwards the roading authorities are installing rock netting and engineering works to solve the problem. This can only be done once most of the loose rock is flushed off the slip.
When you/they drive from Fox Glacier south or from Wanaka north there will be an electronic sign that advises current highway conditions. This is not Gospel. It does change all the time so we generally encourage you to keep on with your original travel plans. There is a website www.nzta.govt.nz “South Island Highway Conditions” that is updated 4 times a day..
For 93% of the last 15 days the road has been open despite the fact that we have had rain over much of that period so the road guys are doing a great job keeping the road open most of the time.
Well, what a wonderful way to put Hokitika on the map. The book has been flying off the shelves throughout the country and no more so than in our little town. Our local bookshop has just been trying to keep up with demand and has ordered at least twice as much stock as previously and they are still running out. If this book gets the global following we think it will, then people will come and visit us because of that. Who knows, they may make it into a movie. That will certainly put Hokitika on the map. I had a call from a film production company who needed five rooms this coming week, but because we have four were unable to assist them. Oh well, hopefully there will be more requests in the future! So, everyone, enjoy the book.
Now that spring has arrived on the coast, our garden is looking spectacular. The bellbirds, tuis, thrushes and of course the destructive kereru (pigeon) have returned, the pigeons to eat all the leaves from our plum trees and the tuis and bellbirds to nest close to their food source.
Helen & Peter
33 Seddons Rd
+64 3 755-5255