Snow stopped tourists in their tracks on the Crown Range between Wanaka and Queenstown yesterday morning.

There was no problem with the road itself, but hundreds of tourists abandoned their cars and campers briefly to make snowpeople and take part in snow ball fights.

The carpark at the top of the road was almost full at times.

Among those most enthusiastic about the snow were members of the Crisp family from Perth where temperatures have been around 45degC recently.


Snow also blanketed hills surrounding Queenstown, Most of the snow had melted before midday, but not before tourists rushed to get summer holiday pictures with a snowy backdrop.

The mid-summer snowfall was regarded as a welcome change after days of rain in the district.

Police reported no major problems with roads. Detective Warren Duncan, in charge of the Waitaki Lakes area for police, told the Otago Daily Times yesterday eight camper vans stopped short of the summit of the Lindis Pass on Wednesday night because of concerns about the snow.

Detective Duncan said the van drivers' decisions to stop was wise and while police were advised, no action was required.

The code amber alert for the Young Valley in the Mt Aspiring National Park was lifted yesterday morning.

There had been concerns heavy rain could cause a breach in the slip that created a lake in the valley six years ago, endangering trampers using the valley.

Visitor information ranger at Wanaka Simon Mazzotti said trampers should continue to be aware rivers and streams in the national park could still be swollen.