Road plunges into Shotover River

By Olivia Caldwell

The missing piece of road at "Devil's Elbow" yesterday on the historic Skippers Rd. Photo by Queenstown Lakes District Council. Photo / Otago Daily Times
The missing piece of road at "Devil's Elbow" yesterday on the historic Skippers Rd. Photo by Queenstown Lakes District Council. Photo / Otago Daily Times

It will be a case of getting groceries by helicopter for one Skippers Canyon family after the only access road to the remote valley collapsed yesterday morning.

Skippers Canyon Jet owners Winky and Jerry Hohneck woke up yesterday and found part of Skippers Rd had plunged 100m into the Shotover River.

It meant at least 40 cancellations for their business and left the pair pondering how they will transport customers until the road is reinstated.

"Business-wise, we are looking at helicopter access to get the customers in and out," Mrs Hohneck, a fifth-generation Skipper dweller, said.

"[But] the cupboards are full. We'll be fine."

The collapse is about 18km from the Coronet Peak Rd turn-off.

The Hohnecks are one of two families on the "wrong" side of the slip - Georgina and James Murray live on and run nearby Branches station, a sheep and cattle farm.

Mrs Hohneck said while it was impossible to get any vehicle over the road, there was still half a metre on which to walk past the slip, and she was lucky enough to have a vehicle parked on the other side of the break.

"I'll just have to walk now."

The slip had plunged at least 80 per cent of a 5-metre section of the Queenstown Lakes District Council-owned road into the river below, potentially disrupting access to the canyon for four other tourist operators: Kiwi Discovery, Nomad Safaris, Heritage Tours, and Off-road Adventures.

Council transport manager Denis Mander said the slip was most likely caused by rain and snow during the past two days.

- Otago Daily Times

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a1 at 21 Apr 2014 00:24:31 Processing Time: 560ms