West Coast alerts

Updated 15 July 2014

For your safety, every effort has been made to ensure that this information is correct. However you should contact the local DOC visitor centre for the latest updates.

Buller area tracks

Heaphy Track

  • Following the Easter 2014 storm, track users need to be aware of loose vegetation hung up in canopy branches and allow for minor debris on some sections of the track, particularly between Brown Hut and Perry Saddle and between MacKay Hut and Lewis Hut.
  • Construction of the new James Mackay Hut is progressing well with an expected completion date of 30 September 2014.  The original hut is still available to book, but trampers may prefer to stay at either Saxon or Lewis due to noise from the construction site.  There is no camping available at present.
  • Between Kohaihai and Heaphy Hut:  Sections of the coastal track are subject to large wave surges during high tides and rough seas and may cause the track to be temporarily impassable - there is no alternative track available.  The sections affected are clearly signposted.  Track users must make their own safety assessment and be prepared to wait up to two hours until the tide retreats.  When planning your trip, ensure you check tide charts and allow adequate time in case of delays.
  • Contractors will be based between the 11 June and 30 August at the Katipo Creek Shelter while replacing the Katipo Bridge.  During this time there will be no camping available at this site.
  • The winter season of mountain biking has opened and runs until 30 September 2014.

Wangapeka Track

  • Wangapeka Track: closed due to extensive tree windfalls on the West Coast side Easter 2014.. The Wangapeka Track from the Little Wanganui Saddle out to the West Coast has extensive windfalls and that part of the track is CLOSED.

Cyclone Ita - Easter 2014 extensive storm damage has affected the following tracks:

Karamea area:

  • Fenian - Adams Flat - Open
    The rest of the Fenian, including side tracks has substained severe damage and remains closed 
  • Karamea Gorge - severe damage – Closed
  • Oparara Basin – loose vegetation may still be hung up in canopy branches and allow for minor debris on some sections of the track.  Honeycomb Hills Cave Tours, Moira Gate, Big Arch and Box Canyon tracks - Open
  • Lake Hanlon - Open
  • Mount Stormy - Closed
  • Big Rimu - Open

Northern Buller:

  • Mokihinui Gorge –  Open
  • Charming Creek – Open
  • Britannia Track - Open
  • Bridle Track - Open
  • Buckland Peak Track - minor windfalls - able to be bypassed - Open

Punakaiki area:

  • Inland Pack Track – damage is extensive and covers a large area between Bullock Creek and Dilemma Creek - Closed
  • Punakaiki to Pororari Loop Track - Open
  • Pororari River Track to Bullock Creek (including Cave Creek) - care required over some sections - Open
  • Fox River – Open to the Fox River Caves and Ballroom Overhang

For more information contact the Kawatiri / Westport Office.

back to top

Greymouth area tracks

Camp Creek Route Closed due to Easter 2014 storm damage.

Carew Falls Track Closed due to Easter 2014 storm damage.

Kirwans Track

  • The 4WD access road to the Waitahu Valley is closed to vehicles due to a washout before the Clematis Gorge Swingbridge. You can still walk the road.
  • The track connecting Gannons Road end to Capleston is closed for 18 months from June 2013 due to PF Olsen logging operations. If you are planning on doing a loop then you will need to walk out to Reefton using Murray Creek Track.

Lewis Pass short walks Waterfall Track is closed indefinitely.

Progress Water Race Track The track is closed in both directions (Deep Creek/Big River and Inangahua swing bridge). This is due to structure damage to a bridge which was sustained during the recent storms.

Waiuta - Prohibition Road The Prohibition Road at Waiuta is closed at the junction of the Big River to Waiuta track, this is due to heavy machinery operating in the area.

Robinson River & Saddle Track You will encounter land slips on this track. You need to allow extra time and be an experienced tramper to negotiate your way around them.

Tutaekuri Hut Tutaekuri Hut was struck by a tree in the Easter 2014 storm. It is still usable, however the flashing around the chimney has been damaged so there is a leak above the fire. We will repair this as soon as possible.

Easter 2014 storm damage update

All frontcountry tracks have been checked.

We are still assessing backcountry tracks and this exercise will take some time to complete. In the meantime, allow extra time and be prepared to encounter and negotiate windfalls. If you are travelling in the back country and come across windfalls or storm damage, please let us know.

For more information contact the Mawhera/Greymouth Office.

back to top

Hokitika area tracks

The Easter 2014 storm has caused extensive windfall damage to tracks in the Hokitika area. At this stage DOC staff are assessing frontcountry tracks.

Several tracks are closed and DOC staff will commence the track clearing work once a full assessment is completed.

Hokitika backcountry tracks

  • You can encounter numerous windfalls and slips. You need to allow extra time and be an experienced tramper to negotiate your way around them.
  • If you are travelling in the Hokitika backcountry and come across track damage, please report it to the Southen West Coast District Office (photos and grid references would be appreciated).

Arahura and Styx Valley tracks

  • Styx Valley Track is now very rough with numerous slips to be negotiated. These slips are moving after each rain event and can be difficult to cross by inexperienced people.

    The Styx River has cut into a vertical gravel cliff 20 minutes from the Styx car park. To continue up the valley be prepared to cross the river at normal flow below and above this slip. Parties or individuals that are not confident with river crossing should travel through via the Arahura valley.

    The alternative via the Arahura Track has a major slip south of Snowball Creek. Caution is advised when crossing this slip.
       

Other walks

  • Lake Kaniere walking tracks - be aware of windfalls. The Lake Kaniere Walkway is open but please expect to encounter severe windfalls, some track surface damage and damage to structures on the track. The Kaniere Water Race Walkway is also open, but has severe windfalls.
  • Ross Historic Goldfields Walk - closed until further notice.

Bridge removals:

Due to the deterioration of the following bridges they have been removed and will not be replaced. These bridges have been removed over the past three years:

  • Otehake Swing Bridge, Otehake Valley (E1494326-N5262067)
  • Mungo Swing Bridge, Mungo Valley (E1452630-N5234077)
  • Crawford Junction 6-Wire, Crawford Valley (E1456300-5242200)
  • Hokitika River Cableway, Whitcombe Valley (E1438829-N5235905)
  • Price River Swing Bridge, Whitcombe Valley (E1437336-N5224434)
  • Moonbeam Swing Bridge, Waitaha Valley (E1421731-N5221381)

For more information contact the Hokitika Office.

back to top

Glaciers/Franz Josef area tracks

The Easter 2014 storm has caused extensive windfall damage to tracks in the Glaciers/Franz Josef area.

Currently the following track is closed:

  • Canavans Knob walk

It may be late October at least before this track is open again.

There is likley to be damage on backcountry tracks as well, and trampers and hunters are advised to be prepared for longer than normal walking times.

If you are travelling in the backcountry and come across track damage, please report it to the Franz Josef, Fox Glacier or Haast offices (photos and grid references would be appreciated).

Wanganui Valley

  • Lambert Swingbridge: New six wire swingbridge open (March 2013).
  • Hendes Bridge: New three-wire bridge open (March 2013).
  • Smyth Hut is closed until at least mid-2014 while further site assessments are completed following severe flood damage in the Wanganui valley (January 2013).
  • As a result of heavy rainfall in January 2013, the upper Wanganui valley track between Hunters Hut and Smyth Hut sustained major damage, making access extremely difficult.
  • Smyth swingbridge was destroyed in the above floods and there is no longer bridge access across the Wanganui River at Smyth Hut. 

Whataroa/Perth/Butler valleys 

  • A significant flood/probable river surge event has destroyed the swing bridge across the Butler River (South Branch). The bridge primarily provided access to the track to Ice Lake and for hunting in the area. The bridge was installed in 2009. Crossing the Butler River (South Branch) on foot is possible in low flow conditions. Do not attempt to cross if you are inexperienced at river crossings or when the river is high or in flood. The bridge over the Butler River (South Branch) at this location will not be replaced in the near future. Parties planning on tramping or hunting in the area need to be aware that travel beyond Top Butler Hut can only be achieved if the party is experienced and able to cross the river in suitable conditions on foot
  • A slip has destroyed the Upper Scone swing bridge (July 2014).  Do not attempt to cross if you are inexperienced at river crossings or when the river is high or in flood.  No decision has been made on bridge replacement.

Terrace Walk

  • Open to the bridge only due to flood damage.

Roberts Point Track

  • Roberts Point Track is closed due to severe flood damage, including major structure damage. The track is not expected to reopen until late-2014 at the earliest. Please check at the Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre and i-SITE for an update closer to your visit.

For more information contact the Franz Josef Office. 

Glacier Valley Walks

  • Access to the Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier Valley walks change often due to rain and river valley conditions. Please check at local DOC centres for the most up to date information.

Fox Glacier Office open weekdays (10 am - 2 pm) or Franz Josef Office open seven days.

South Westland area tracks

If you are travelling in the backcountry and come across track damage, please report it to the Franz Josef, Fox or Haast offices (photos and grid references would be appreciated).

Copland Track

  • Please note that in times of severe weather such as sustained and/or heavy rain, the Copland Track may be closed (often at short notice) due to flooding and/or other damage. In instances of closure, notices will be placed at the start of the track. Please check conditions and weather at the nearest DOC office prior to departure. Refunds will be issues in these instances - please contact the Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre and i-SITE for details.

Copland Pass

  • Do not attempt the pass unless you have a high level of mountaineering experience and the proper equipment. Please contact DOC Aoraki Mount Cook as part of your planning. Be aware that the cable that hangs down the moraine wall onto the Hooker Glacier is prone to damage - do not use this cable as any significant weight may cause it to break.

Fox Glacier Office open weekdays (10 am to 2 pm) or Franz Josef Office open seven days.


Related links

back to top

 

Find out more

Weather

Maps

DOC maps: Discover the outdoors - DOC's key places, campsites, tracks and huts, and visitor centres on a map

Learn more

Check, Clean, Dry between waterways and stop the spread of didymo.

Walking track categories

Safety

Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

Contacts

Kawatiri / Westport Office
Phone:      +64 3 788 8008
Email:   paparoavc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
Māwhera / Greymouth Office
Phone:      +64 3 768 0427
Email:   greymouth@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
Hokitika Office
Phone:      +64 3 756 9100
Email:   hokitika@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
Franz Josef Glacier Base
Phone:      +64 3 752 0796
Email:   westlandnpvc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details

Weheka / Fox Glacier Base
Phone:      +64 3 751 0807
Email:   foxglacier@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
Franz Josef Glacier Base
Phone:      +64 3 752 0796
Email:   westlandnpvc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
Awarua / Haast Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 3 750 0809
Address:   Haast Junction
Corner SH6 and Jackson Bay Road
Haast
South Westland
Email:   haastvc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 3 435 1186
Address:   1 Larch Grove
Aoraki/Mt Cook
Email:   mtcookvc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
Give feedback on a recent visit to a DOC place