Pressure is mounting on Queenstown’s council to seal one of the Wakatipu’s most scenic but
hazardous unsealed roads, and a magnet for increasing numbers of tourists driving to Lord of the Rings film sites. Tourism New Zealand’s Kevin Bowler said councils need to consider sealing more sections of popular roads in and around tourism hotspots.

The 10 kilometre road past Glenorchy, from the Rees Bridge to Paradise, is considered “very dangerous” and “could cause serious injury or death over the upcoming Chinese New Year”, according to Queenstown line producer Gary Strangman. The fines in the gravel are blown away, leaving stony, rough corrugations and visitors often crawl along at 30km/h.

The road is graded every so often, but a few days later it’s back to where it started. Tourism New Zealand has heavily promoted the country’s Lord of the Rings film sites, but Bowler said he is unaware of the road’s current problems.

“Many of our international visitors won’t have experience driving on unsealed roads, so there’s no doubt we need to consider sealing more sections of popular unsealed roads in and around tourism hotspots like Queenstown. Council staff will address the issue at the next association meeting.