Routeburn and Milford walking tracks closed due to 'significant' storm damage, refunds offered

Two of the three Great Walks in Fiordland have been closed due to storm damage, with the iconic Routeburn Track shut for the "foreseeable future".

The walking tracks, managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), were damaged as torrential rain battered the lower South Island earlier this week, causing flooding, landslides and trapping hundreds of tourists and trampers.

The Milford Track will be closed for "at least three weeks", says DOC, adding that early assessments show "significant damage" to that track as well.

"The Routeburn Track sustained significant damage and will not reopen this season and will remain closed for the foreseeable future. The track will require considerable repair work to be operational," DOC said in a statement.

"We understand that this is disappointing for people who have been booked to walk at this time.

"Our priority is ensuring people’s safety. No access to either track will be possible while we undertake this repair work."

Torrential rain, flooding and landslides have closed Fiordland's Routeburn and Milford walking tracks.
Visitors at the flooded Milford Terminal. Photo credit: Emergency Management Southland

People who have booked the Routeburn and Milford during the affected periods will be given a full refund, DOC says.

The Kepler Track remains open and operational and people who had planned on doing the Milford or Routeburn in the coming weeks could potentially do that instead.

Information on how to get a refund and the status of other Fiordland walking tracks can be found on the DOC website.