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 Conservation Area closed for winter

Weather and track conditions permitting, we aim for this to be opened again in October 2021.

Motorised, off-road vehicle users must register with DOC before taking their vehicles into the St James Conservation Area.

Where you can drive

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.

However, if you are driving an ATV’s, LUV’s or a motorised bike you can only access Edwards Valley and Mailing Pass tracks during the open season.

Edwards Valley and Maling Pass

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.

Edwards Valley track is not maintained past Scotties Hut, access over Charlies Saddle is not recommended.

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

How to get in

Access is currently closed.

Rangiora Office
Phone:   +64 3 313 0820
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   32 River Road
Rangiora 7400
Postal Address:   PO Box 349
Rangiora 7440

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

Arthur's Pass National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 318 9211
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   106 Main Westcoast Road
Arthur's Pass
Postal Address:   PO Box 51008
Arthur's Pass 7654

Before you go, 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.

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 New Zealand transport laws and regulations covering all vehicles and drivers (eg. 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.
  • Give way to uphill traffic if travelling downhill.

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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