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

Feral goose control for St James Conservation Area

Canada geese control will be undertaken from 23 until 26 March in the St James Conservation Area.

NZ Game Bird Hunting Association (NZGBHA) hunters will control geese in some of the area's wetlands. They will travel with up to eight vehicles and cross the Waiau River.

NZGBHA vehicles have signs to advise that they have DOC approved access.

Landslide on the St James Cycle Trail/Edwards Valley 4WD Track

There is a landslide on the Edwards Valley 4WD Track which is part of the St James Cycle Trail. The landslide has come over the track and the Edward River, forming a lake near the Cow Stream confluence. 

The St James Cycle Trail remains open and cyclists can navigate around and across the area safely. You can still access the Cow Stream hot pools.

4WD users are recommended to stop at the landslide, and not travel beyond it, to avoid getting stuck and damaging the surrounding landscape. 

Motorised vehicle access open

Both the Maling Pass and Edwards Valley 4WD tracks into St James Conservation Area are now open for registered motorised vehicles.

Access is subject to weather and track conditions, and could be closed. Those that have registered will be advised of any changes via e-mail.

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.

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

Vehicle access is controlled by gates with different combination locks at the two-track entrances, at Edwards Valley and Maling Pass car parks. 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'll be emailed the codes and conditions for access. We recommend you print this form out and take it with you as there is no email coverage in this area.

You can also contact Rangiora office during working hours:

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
Address:   104 West Coast 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

  • Securely close the gate after you have gone through.
  • 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. For example, 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 traveling 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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