St James Conservation Area - motor vehicle access

Motorised vehicle access into St James now restricted due to high fire risk

The Edwards Valley Track is closed to all motorised vehicles until further notice. Off-road vehicle users need to register with DOC before taking their motorised vehicles into the St James Conservation Area.

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

Before leaving, ensure you check the gate will remain open for your entire visit via the DOC website or by contacting the Rangiora office during office hours.

Where can I drive in St James?

Access is usually restricted to the Edwards Valley and Maling Pass 4WD tracks from Tophouse Road as far as the signs by the Waiau River. Vehicles are to stay on these tracks at all times.

However, due to the high fire risk Edwards Valley track is now closed to all motorised vehicles. Maling Pass track is being monitored daily and may also be closed if the fire risk worsens.

Vehicles are not permitted on the Waiau River bed, or on the western side of the Waiau River without prior permission from the Rangiroa office.

How do I get into St James?

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.

To register your details and view the codes complete the St James motor vehicle access form.

After submitting the form, you will be able to view the codes. We recommend you print these or write them down as they will not be emailed to you.

You can also contact Rangiora office during working 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.




Find out more


Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

Alerts for Canterbury places



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