Introduction

Find out what access and activities are managed with a permit system on Molesworth Recreational Reserve.

DOC issues all activity permits. Permits can be applied for using the online application form below. Allow 10 working days for us to receive and process your application. 

About activity permits

  • Public access to Molesworth is managed to balance recreation, farming needs, fire risk and public safety.
  • Access is available to the public within certain zones during specified periods of the year.
  • The Molesworth map (PDF, 2,248K) will assist your planning.
  • Outside these specified zones and time periods, public access is restricted and an activity permit is required.
  • Driving permits for the Acheron Road will not be issued during road closure periods except in exceptional circumstances, due to farming operations and winter conditions.
  • See the list below to work out if you need an activity permit.
  • Activity permits may be declined due to farming activities such as mustering, calving and animal pest control.
  • Activity permits may also be declined due to safety issues such as extreme weather conditions and fire risk.
  • Alternative dates or locations may be offered to the applicant.

Apply online for an activity permit

Check if the road is open

Acheron Road is closed. The road is due to reopen again from the Saturday of Labour Weekend.

Acheron Road through Molesworth is normally open 7 am – 7 pm daily from the Saturday of Labour Weekend in October, to Easter Monday or the second Sunday in April – whichever is the later date.

However, it can close without warning. Always check for alerts on the Acheron Road and Molesworth pages, or call the Renwick office any time +64 3 572 9100

Find out if you need an activity permit

Driving

Acheron Road - vehicles not towing and less than 7m

Date: Saturday of Labour Weekend until Easter Monday.
Permit required: No

Date: Easter Tuesday until the Friday before Labour Day Weekend.
Permit required:  Yes - note that due to winter road conditions and farming operations it is unusual for driving activity permits to be issued during the road closed period.


Rainbow Station

To acquire a permit, or find out the latest information on the road status and access, you can:


Mountain biking

Acheron Rd

Date: Saturday of Labour Weekend until Easter Monday
Permit required: No

Date: Easter Tuesday until the Friday before Labour Day Weekend
Permit required: Yes


Hunting

Any location

Date: Anytime
Permit required: Yes. Special permit required - apply online.

Note that due to winter road conditions and farming operations it is very unusual for permits to drive the Acheron Road to be issued during the road closed period. Plan for this in your block choices.


Walking

Leatham/Molesworth Route

Date: 1 May to 31 December
Permit required: No

Date: 1 January to 31 April
Permit required: Yes (to travel upstream of Saxton hut)


East/West Route

Date: Anytime
Permit required: No (unless travelling upstream of Saxton Hut between 1 January and 31 April)


Central Zone

When walking on marked tracks from Acheron Road:

Date: Saturday of Labour Weekend until Easter Monday 
Permit required: No

Date: Easter Tuesday until the Friday before Labour Day Weekend
Permit required: Yes

When walking off-track:
Date: Anytime
Permit required: Yes


North Zone (adjoining the Leatham)

Date: 1 May to 31 December
Permit required: No

Date: 1 January to 30 April
Permit required: Yes


East Zone (including Dillon Cone)

Date: 1 November to 30 April
Permit required: No

Date: 1 May to 31 October
Permit required: Yes


Southwest Zone (adjoining Rainbow Station)

Date: Anytime
Permit required: No


Horse riding

Any location

Date: Anytime
Permit required: Yes


Fishing

Any location

Date: Anytime
Permit required: Yes, a fishing licence is required from Fish & Game New Zealand. Trout fishing season is 1 October to 30 April. No fishing allowed outside this time. You may require an activity permit for access if you are driving, mountain biking, walking or horse riding - the information for these activities is above.


Open areas may be temporarily closed due to weather conditions or stock movements.

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