14 Sep 2012

Major tourist routes in South Island blocked

8:13 pm on 14 September 2012

Two major South Island tourist routes remain closed on Friday - one affected by avalanches, the other by slips.

Sections of the Milford Road are under 10 metres of snow although workers are trying to clear it, while the Skippers Road near Queenstown will be closed for weeks following a big slip.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council is working out how to fix parts of the Skippers Road after a massive chunk fell into the Shotover River on Wednesday night.

The council will need to cut an alternative route through rock to re-establish the road.

Several families are stranded and three tourism operators are using helicopters to ferry bus passengers around the slip.

Meanwhile, the Milford Road was able to open temporarily on Friday morning.

Several avalanches have blocked the road after heavy late season snow earlier this week, but contractors say they should be able to clear most of the snow by early next week.

One-lane access to Milford Sound is being provided each day.