Winter arrives – we’re snow excited!


The Crown Range Road to Wanaka will stay closed on Monday night, Queenstown’s council says.

The council says the Crown Range is expected to re-open at 7am on Tuesday.

All other roads are open, the council says, but care is needed.

“Expect ice and grit,” the council warns on its Twitter account.

As predicted, a healthy dump of snow arrived in Queenstown on Sunday night and early Monday morning – bringing half a metre of snow to Coronet Peak and The Remarkables skifields.

While winter-reliant tourism businesses are rubbing their hands with glee but the snow caused widespread disruption.

Schools closed, contractors battled power blackouts and flights to Queenstown were cancelled or delayed.

About 10cm fell in central Queenstown overnight, with 25cm in the hill suburbs such as Fernhill and Sunshine Bay. Arrowtown was also coated in a thick white blanket.

Queenstown Airport’s rescue fire team were clearing snow from 4am. A flight from Christchurch was diverted to Invercargill and its return leg has been cancelled.

Other flights were delayed. The first arrival to touch down was a Jetstar plane from Auckland, which landed late morning.

Delta Utility spokesman Gary Johnson says power was restored to Frankton, Arrowtown, Lake Hayes Estate and Ladies Mile to Lake Hayes Road.

He says faults should be reported to an electricity retailer’s faults number.

“Severe weather conditions continue and consumers should be prepared in the event of further power outages.”

The power blackouts hit the Queenstown Events Centre’s boiler that heats its swimming pool.

Queenstown’s council said on Monday morning ”pool temperatures are colder than usual because our boiler was affected by power outages last night. There are currently no hot showers available at the pool.”

Alpine Aqualand swimming lessons were canned.

Bus operator Connectabus’ service resumed after being on hold this morning.

NZ Transport Agency temporarily closed State Highway 6 between Frankton and Cromwell through the Kawarau Gorge on Monday morning, but it re-opened.

At 10.15am,Queenstown’s council said chains had to be carried in: Fernhill, Queenstown Hill, Dalefield and Malaghans, Arthurs Point, Arrowtown, Kelvin Heights and Glenorchy Road.

The Crown Range Road to Wanaka was closed.

Three cars were spotted in a ditch on the steepest parts of Fernhill Rd at about 7.30am.

The council’s libraries opened at 10am and long-term plan hearings in the Gorge Rd council chambers started late.

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