Milford Sound SH94 open to tourist buses Friday, 21 February

4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineFebruary 21, 2020

The NZ Transport Agency looks forward to reconnecting Milford Sound for tourist bus travellers alongside essential service vehicles from today.

Buses with eight seats* or more will be able to join the convoys from Friday.

Three return convoys are planned initially on a daily basis, subject to weather and/or urgent road repairs, says NZTA journey manager Peter Brown. These will be reviewed as repairs advance.

Self-driving motorists in campervans, cars or four-wheel drives are not able to get into Milford Sound at present.

“A huge amount of work is under way on this highway and we are reasonably confident the tourist convoys for buses will run as planned today,” says Brown. “By asking people to travel by bus, we minimise the time we need our crews to stop work.”

Torrential rain closed the highway (SH94) more than two weeks ago between Cascade Creek/the Hollyford turnoff and Milford Sound.

To date convoys of essential services vehicles have run extremely well, having started on Saturday, he says. Essential services convoys have run this week also. (See slightly altered times below from what was previously scheduled.)

Tourism buses from Friday, 21 February

Access for travellers on buses will start this Friday, alongside the essential services vehicles. Buses with a minimum of eight seats will be able to join the full convoy at these times and places:

  • 10am East Gate in

  • 11.30am Chasm Gate back

  • 12.30pm East Gate in

  • 1.30pm Chasm Gate back

  • 2.30pm East Gate in

  • 4pm Chasm Gate back.

“We thank everyone for their patience while this essential work is under way. We are doing our best to restore this important link to Milford and crews are working hard to restore a safe route.”

Convoy times for essential services vehicles only

If you are part of the essential services convoys or need to be in future, you should be getting the Milford Road Alliance update each day. If you are not getting this, please email and ask to be added to that list.

Essential services convoys** began running 20 February:

  • 8.30am from Cascade Creek to Chasm Gate

  • 9.30am from Chasm Gate to Cascade Creek

  • 11am from Chasm Gate to Cascade Creek (This additional ‘out‘ journey is needed to get stranded vehicles out of Milford, and better accommodate deliveries.)

  • 4pm from Cascade Creek to Chasm Gate

  • 5pm from Chasm Gate to Cascade Creek.

*Originally the minimum seat number for buses was 10, since revised to eight.
** Who is eligible for the essential services convoys?
Vehicles and drivers who will be able to take part in the essential services convoys will involve people transporting the following items: Fuel, food, freight, septic/rubbish disposal, trades goods. Also contractors, staff of Milford Sound businesses in vans or coaches, commercial fishing industry and associated trades, air traffic control personnel. Single axle trailers are okay, larger axles require approval. No pleasure boats.