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Travel forecast – Snow & gales impact air, road, sea travel

UPDATED 9:30pm Monday — A winter storm is bringing travel chaos to both islands.  Below are our predictions of highway, airport and ferry conditions over the next day or two.

By Air
Airports most at risk from delays or closures will be Christchurch, Wellington, Dunedin and Queenstown.

  • Invercargill Airport – Moderate risk of flights being affected Tuesday.
  • Queenstown Airport – Moderate risk of airport being affected Tuesday.
  • Dunedin Airport – High to moderate risk of cancellations or delays across Tuesday
  • Christchurch Airport – High risk of the airport being affected Tuesday, moderate risk Wednesday.
  • Wellington Airport – High risk of flight delays and cancellations on Tuesday, low risk Wednesday.

***In ALL cases, please check your airline and airport websites for the latest information***

By Sea
Cook Strait will be roughest from Tuesday to Thursday with huge swells coming in from the south.  Check with your ferry company for further travel details.

By Road.

For the latest Highway information click here

South Island: 

  • Alpine Passes – ALL South Island alpine roads are at high risk from being closed, or seriously affected, by snow across Tuesday. 
  • Lower level highways – High risk that many highways, especially in Otago and Canterbury, will be affected over Tuesday.  Check with the roading website above for the latest (see link above)

North Island:

  • Rimutaka Ranges – High risk of closure through Tuesday, moderate risk Wednesday.
  • Desert Road – High risk of closures Tuesday and moderate risk Wednesday.
  • Napier-Taupo Highway – High risk of closure or delays, Tuesday, Wednesday.
  • SH2 – Napier to Gisborne and Gisborne to Whakatane – Moderate risk of closures or delays Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • SH4 – Raetihi – Moderate risk of closure or delays Tuesday and low risk on Wednesday.
  • SH3 – Taranaki – Hawera – Moderate risk of snow on SH3 near Stratford on Tuesday.
  • Central North Island – It’s possible many roads and highways will be affected by snow for a time from this event. If this is the case, the best alternative will be via SH3 through Taranaki.
  • SH29 – Kaimai Ranges – High risk of snow on Tuesday morning.
  • Numerous other highways may be affected – or are affected – see the link above for the very latest State Highway conditions.

We cannot be anymore specific at this stage but will endeavour to update and make as accurate as possible over the coming days.


Jojo on 15/08/2011 10:18pm


Just wondering if it will snow again in masterton (i mean like proper snow, not just a little bit for a couple of mins, and then rain)?

Do you know when?



Kerry on 15/08/2011 8:57pm


I am meant to be flying to Invercargill tomorrow and then driving up to Queenstown for work tomorrow afternoon/evening. Is this unwiise with present conditions?



Kerry D

Rob on 15/08/2011 10:08am

Been snowing since 5:00pm here currently 0.6°C and 94% Humidity

Tomorrow might be a bit more difficult to drive to Christchurch for work.


Di on 15/08/2011 9:39am

Just got photos from a friend living in Pauanui, on the Coromandel Peninsula – snow covering her deck!Surprised

Guest on 15/08/2011 9:05am

Got turned back across the Tasman to Sydney on Sunday due to snow. Rebooked for Wednesday 17th to land at QTown. What do you think our chances are of getting in? Would it be better to go to another airport and drive? Many thanks.

WW Forecast Team on 15/08/2011 9:32am

Should be ok by Wednesday we hope – good luck!

– WW

Guest on 15/08/2011 9:25pm

Looking at the Metvuw forecast charts and it seems like Queenstown will be clear by midnight tonight (Tues 16th).  Are our chances of landing in Queenstown from Auckland (ETA 9 a.m. Weds 17th) looking good?  Cheers guys, keep up the fantastic work.

Guest on 15/08/2011 6:51am

Really need to get to chch from Westport, went today but couldn’t get though. Will tomorrow be any better?

WW Forecast Team on 15/08/2011 7:38am

No sorry – possibly even worse.  Weds looks much better – but black ice will be a major factor.

– WW

Guest on 15/08/2011 6:51am

Really need to get to chch from Westport, went today but couldn’t get though. Will tomorrow be any better?

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