17 Aug 2008

"Stay away" says alpine visitor centre

9:42 pm on 17 August 2008

The visitor centre in Arthur's Pass in the Southern Alps is urging people heading for the mountains to stay away because of heavy snow.

Village residents describe the snow over the past few days as the heaviest in years.

An Arthur's Pass ranger says people heading from Christchurch to see the snow should stay at home until it's stopped.

Although State Highway 73 is open to vehicles with chains, she says there's a risk of avalanches and people will be stuck there if the road has to be closed again.

In the North Island: Local people and the police dug cars out of deep dumps of snow at Whakapapa Village in Tongariro National Park on Sunday.

Constable Tony Carne said he spent Sunday helping visitors to leave the village, while keeping others out as the route was shut and skifields closed.

The Metservice says more snow's to come in the area in the next 24 hours.