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.


St James vehicle access will be closed for the season at the end of Friday 31 May 2019. It is expected to reopen for motorised vehicle access in October (weather and track conditions permitting).

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

When I 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.

Where can I drive?

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.

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 do I 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 will be e-mailed the codes and conditions for access.  We recommend you print this form out and take it with you as there is no e-mail 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
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.

Back to top