West Coast alerts

Updated 21 January 2015

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

Pest control operation DOC has carried out an aerial 1080 operation in approximately 270,000 ha of Kahurangi National Park to control rats, possums and other predators as part of the Battle for our Birds programme.

Tracks in the operational area have been checked and all baits removed.

Read more on Kahurangi National Park or contact the Motueka Office phone +64 3 528 1810, Takaka Office phone +64 3 525 8026, or Westport Office phone +64 3 788 8008.

Heaphy Track

  • Track construction and realignment is being carried out along the section at Scott's Beach from 2 February to 2 April 2015.  Machinery will be on site, and visitors are asked to adhere to all instructions from staff and only proceed through the construction site when approval has been given.
  • The new James Mackay Hut is now opened to the public. The original hut will be demolished and the site landscaped over the coming weeks.
  • 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.
  • The mountain biking season has now closed. There is no mountain biking allowed until the winter season re-opens on 1 May 2015.

Wangapeka Track

  • Recent heavy rains have dislodged more storm damaged trees on the Western section of the Wangapeka Track. This track is a route and traverses storm damaged terrain which currently has some windfallen trees and slips on a sector west of the Belltown Mananui Hut. Users should be fit and experienced to deal these conditions. Care is required when traversing slip areas.

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
  • Mount Stormy - Closed

Punakaiki area:

  • Inland Pack Track – damage is extensive and covers a large area between Bullock Creek and Dilemma Creek - Closed

For more information contact the Kawatiri / Westport Office.

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Greymouth area tracks

Big River to Inangahua Swingbridge Track  A number of windblown trees have been reported on the Deep Creek section of this track. Take care and allow more time for your trip.

Carew Falls Track  Closed due to Easter 2014 storm damage.

Duffy's Creek Track  This route has large windfall trees on the last 300 metres of track and is difficult to navigate.

Kirwans Track

  • The Kirwans loop track is completely clear of windfall as of 13 November 2014.
  • 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 still closed 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.

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.

Mount Te Kinga/Ara O Te Kinga Track  The section above the first lookout has several large windfall trees and is difficult to navigate.

Tutaekuri Hut  The 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.

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Hokitika area tracks

Hokitika backcountry tracks

  • You may encounter 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 Hokitika 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.

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.

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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 mid-2015 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).
  • 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 the end of February 2015 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.


Wind Blown Timber Salvage Hazard

Areas presently affected:
Lake Brunner Scenic Reserve above and to the east of Mitchells
Hohonu Scenic Reserve and Hohonu Forest Conservation Area in the Biggs Road Area
Ahaura Road Amenity Area above Big Gully.

Areas currently under consideration and potentially affected from early January:
Okuku Scenic Reserve; both sides of state highway 73 from Dillmanstown east to the old Christchurch Road
Milltown Amenity Area and Lake Kaniere Scenic Reserve
Lake Kaniere Scenic Reserve on terrace faces to the south of Manks Tarn
Lyell and Radient Range Conservation Area, Harvey and Captains Creek Areas.

Affected areas will be signposted at public access points. Root plates and logs pose a risk of moving. Walk through cut areas with extreme caution and keep clear of root plates and root plate depressions. If you have concerns or for more information please contact the Department of Conservation in Hokitika.

Related links

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Find out more


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


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
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
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