Earthquake disruptions – update

Kaikoura - Earthquake disruptions

Following the devastating 7.5 Kaikoura Earthquake that happened on the 14h of November, State Highway 1 between Picton and Kaikoura is closed due to extensive road damage.

See below the latest update (21 December 2016) from the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) :

Kaikoura earthquake disruptions, South Island, New Zealand

Roads into Kaikoura

We are glad to announce that northbound road access is restored to Kaikoura. The Inland Route 70 is now open and State Highway 1 to the south of the seaside town is open with restrictions.

The Inland Route, between Waiau and Kaikoura, is now open 24/7 with unrestricted access both ways. There are speed restrictions and no stopping areas which everyone using the route is asked to strictly adhere to. The average travel time for the 90km route from Waiau to Kaikoura is about two hours.

The route remains hazardous and fragile and all road users are asked to take extra care and be prepared for the unexpected.

Access along State Highway 1 to the south of Kaikoura is now restored with night-time restrictions. These will remain until all slip faces have been stabilised and traffic signals have been installed along a 1km coastal section of the route where there is single-lane access only.

Access is now two-way and only during daylight hours, 6am to 8pm. The last vehicles will be admitted to travel along SH1 south from Peketa at 7.30pm. Vehicles travelling north from Christchurch are advised to leave the city by 5.30pm to ensure they get through to Kaikoura before the road closes at Oaro at 7.15pm.

There is no stopping or camping along the route because of the risk from potential rockfall in the event of any further seismic activity or heavy rain. There will be designated rest areas for your safety.

Alternative travel options – Picton to Christchurch

SH1 remains closed to through traffic until further notice.

The road is open between Picton and Clarence, and from Cheviot to Oaro.

People travelling between Picton and Christchurch need to use the alternate inland highway route – State Highway 6 and 63 to Murchison, and then along State Highway 65 to Springs Junction and through Lewis Pass (State Highway 7) to State Highway 1 at Waipara.

The trip from Picton to Christchurch will take about seven and a half hours. Everyone is asked to take extra care and allow plenty of time for their trip. Current traffic volumes are four times normal and expected to increase as families head away for the holiday season. Travel times and delays on the route will only get worse. We recommend all customers to make alternative travel plans to avoid traffic jams.

There is petrol, café and toilet facilities at St Arnaud, Murchison, Springs Junction and Culverden.

Alternatively, you can take the long but scenic way, travelling through Nelson and the West Coast (SH6). You then two major options, either going through Hanmer Springs on SH7 or reaching Greymouth to take the gorgeous and scenic SH73 going through Arthur’s Pass. As beautiful as these roads can be, please allow a couple of days to reach Christchurch while enjoying everything that these regions have to offer!

Safe driving tips

  • You should expect this journey to take on average 7 and 1/2 hours and be prepared for delays. We at Ezi strongly recommend you to built extra time into your travel plans.
  • Please be extra cautious and patient.
  • The alternative road is narrow and windy in many places and there are speed restrictions in place. We ask you to strictly adhere to these restrictions for everyone to stay safe. Police patrols will be visible on the alternative route to keep you safe.
  • Don’t forget to rest whenever you feel tired!

More info

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions on your future or current car rental reservation.

Earthquake disruptions – update was last modified: March 31st, 2017 by Alienor Izri