Winter has well and truly arrived in Queenstown.
Snow and sleet is already falling in Arthurs Point and Fernhill – and local schools are closed.
Flights into the resort have already been cancelled and Queenstown Airport boss Scott Paterson is advising those travelling to check with airlines directly about alternatives.
The MetService is predicting heavy snow across the district today.
Queenstown’s council staff say the snow on summit of the Crown Range is already 15cm deep. Chains are essential, from the bottom of the zigzags to Cardrona. The alternative route is through the Kawarau Gorge, although snow chains should be carried on that route too.
Senior sergeant Paula Enoka, of Queenstown police, also said heavy rain had caused extensive flooding on Lower Shotover Rd.
With heavy rain and snow expected throughout the day, drivers should “drive to conditions”.
Coronet Peak Ski field is open – but motorists are advised chains are essential. Cardrona Ski Field however is closed for today due to blizzard conditions.
Council roads update based on reports from roading contractors and NZTA: 10.45am
· Crown Range affected by heavy snow. Chains are essential from the bottom of the zigzags to Cardrona. No towing. The alternative route is via Cromwell
· Roads in and around Arrowtown are affected by snow. Clearing is underway.
· Malaghan Road is affected by snow. Clearing is underway.
· NZTA advises that SH6 through the Kawarau Gorge is affected by snow – all vehicles are recommended to carry chains as the conditions may deteriorate
· SH6 around Five Rivers is affected by snow
· The highest areas of roads around Queenstown Hill and Fernhill are affected by snow but it’s not causing any issues at present.
· Several roads are affected by surface flooding, including Aubrey Road in Wanaka, Lower Shotover Road and SH6 around Lake Hayes Pavilion.
– Changes since last time are that the Crown Range is now passable without chains, but they need to be carried – that includes the Cardrona Valley Road. Please watch for surface flooding – combination of rain and melting snow.
Also, NZTA advises that SH6 is being closed from Makarora Township to Haast due to snow.