Avalanche warnings for six South Island peaks

An avalanche.
An avalanche. Photo credit: Getty

South Island snow enthusiasts are urged to have a break from the mountains over the next few days due to high avalanche danger levels.

The Mountain Safety Council said its danger levels have reached a winter season high after recent weather delivered significant amounts of new snow.

Currently, six regions are classified as "high" danger for avalanches and four are "considerable".

High danger regions Arthur's Pass and Wanaka each recorded several avalanches last week. The other high danger zones are: Aoraki/Mt Cook, Queenstown, Fiordland and Nelson Lakes.

Tongariro, Craigieburn Ranges, Ohau, and Two Thumbs are all at "considerable" danger levels.

Chief executive of the Mountain Safety Council Mike Daisley is urging Kiwis to wait until the snow settles before getting back on the mountains.

"When this storm system passes through and warmer sunny weather returns, loose wet avalanches are predicted to be a major hazard," Daisley said.

"The silver lining is that the past few storms have brought plenty of snow which should extend the backcountry season, so there should be plenty of good days ahead - no need to rush."

Metservice has also issued a series of warnings for central and lower South Island residents.

There are currently road snowfall warnings for Porters Pass (SH73), Lindis Pass (SH8), Crown Range Road and Milford Road (SH94).

Southland's Milford Sound Piopiotahi Highway (SH94) was also closed for the third day on Wednesday, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency said.

Milford Road alliance manager Kevin Thompson said snow had blanketed the area and the Homer Tunnel portals.

"We have had a pretty mild winter to date but this week winter conditions arrived for real. We have had some large avalanches in recent days as we forecasted.

"As soon as we get a safe weather window, we will use helicopters to reduce the avalanche risk with managed explosions in strategic spots to remove large volumes of snow above the road."