Gridlock traffic dampens holiday mood for Aucklanders

Aucklanders leaving the city for a summer getaway may struggle to get into the holiday mood as gridlock traffic blocks motorways.

For the second day, Johnstone's Hill Tunnel near Pūhoi on State Highway 1 is jammed with cars.

Posts on social media showed the road to Wellsford backed up as far as the eye can see.

"It's started early this morning," wrote one woman on the Warkworth and Districts Traffic Updates Facebook page.

A photo of the highway showed the southbound lane completely clear, but the northbound lane practically bumper-to-bumper with cars.

To try and help motorists avoid the worst of the traffic, NZTA produced a travel planner which uses previous years' travel to predict when congestion will be at its heaviest.

According to the traffic timetable, the northbound traffic between Pūhoi and Wellsford will remain heavy until the 30th December. 

Southbound traffic will remain relatively clear until January 1 when holidaymakers begin to head back to Auckland.

The road will be congested for large swathes of the day between the 1st and the 5th of January.