Ōtaki Gorge Road slip
Cracks in the Ōtaki Gorge Road at Blue Bluff (12km inland from SH1) have required the road to be closed at this site.
Vehicle access to Ōtaki Forks remains closed.
Walkers are not to cross at Blue Bluff for their own safety. The Department of Conservation has now confirmed alternative public walking access to the Tararua Forest Park is now open.
Visit the Department of Conservation website for more information.
Key information at a glance:
- Ōtaki Gorge Rd is closed at the area known locally as Blue Bluff, 12km inland from SH1.
- A large under slip is moving and there is an ongoing risk of the road dropping out.
- It is unsafe for both vehicles and people to cross.
- Vehicle access to Ōtaki Forks is not available. An alternative walking access is open.
We continue to monitor this slow slip.
A recent update from our geotechnical experts shows the slip site has continued to move over summer, shifting by 500mm between 5 November and 19 February.
The site is monitored with fortnightly detailed survey. Drone photography is also providing visual information, helping create a fuller picture of what is happening.
We have established there is an ongoing risk of the road dropping out. The significant tension cracks throughout the site are continuing to grow.
Our next phase is to begin intensive investigation with core holes and geotechnical risk assessment in preparation for the design phase to re-establish access beyond the slip.
Why has this happened?
This section of the Ōtaki Gorge Road is an active slip area and slips are a regular occurrence.
The road is on a steep embankment above the Otaki River which is naturally degrading the river bed and embankments. The Ōtaki Forks area receives intensive rainfall further adding to the challenges of this road.
Accessing Ōtaki Forks
Access to the Ōtaki Forks and the Tararua Forest Park via the road is closed to motorists and walkers. Walkers are strongly urged to not cross at Blue Bluff for their own safety.
The Department of Conservation has confirmed that alternative public walking access to the huts and walks in the Tararua Forest Park is now open.
- Visit the Department of Conservation website for more information on this.