Off-road vehicle users need to register with DOC before entering the St James Conservation Area. Find out about more about vehicle access, restrictions, and how to register your vehicle.

Motorised vehicle access into St James - closed for the winter season

Public vehicle access is restricted to drier periods usually between October to May, but can be closed at any time due to safety risks, bad weather, threats to conservation or track damage.

The Edwards Valley and Maling Pass 4WD tracks are costly to maintain and very susceptible to damage from heavy rain and freezing conditions. These tracks are therefore closed to motorised vehicles over winter and spring.

How does the access system work?

Vehicle access is controlled by gates with different combination locks at the two track entrances, at Edwards Valley and Maling Pass car park. The gates are locked to ensure drivers are aware of the code of conduct and any other conditions before entering the area. The combination codes are changed regularly.

Drivers need to register via the DOC website to access the combination codes. This form is not accessible on the website when motorised access is closed, but is expected to be live again in October 2015, subject to the conditions of the track.

For further information contact the DOC Rangiora Office during office hours.

Rangiora Office
Phone:      +64 3 313 0820
Full office details

In the weekends, contact the Arthur's Pass Visitor Centre:

Arthur's Pass National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 3 318 9211
Address:   State Highway 73
Arthur's Pass
Full office details

Code of conduct

  • Lock the gate after you.
  • Stay on the 4WD tracks and stop driving at the signs that mark the end of vehicle access
  • Do not take your vehicle on the Waiau River bed or across the river.
  • Decontaminate your vehicle at the last culvert before the top of Maling Pass to prevent the spread of didymo.
  • Abide by the lNZ Transport laws and regulations covering all vehicles and drivers (e.g. all drivers are licenced, all vehicles warranted and registered).
  • Ensure your vehicle is free of any weeds and plant or animal matter before entering this area.

Shared-use track code of conduct

These are shared-use tracks; walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders will also be on them.

  • Be prepared for the unexpected.
  • Drive at a speed that enables you to stop if a hazard arises.
  • Approach a blind corner no faster than walking speed as other users may be just around the corner.
  • Give way to walkers, horses and mountain bikes.
  • As a general rule, vehicles travelling downhill give way to uphill traffic.

Your help is needed to make this work

The success of this system relies on 4WD users following the vehicle code of conduct.

  • Any damage caused by vehicles not following the code could result in the whole area being closed off to vehicles in the future.
  • Report any vehicles observed across the Waiau River or not following the formed vehicle track. Note date, place, vehicle registration, any other details and photograph if possible.
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