A central North Island highway will remain closed until at least Wednesday as the impact of weekend downpours continues to be felt.

State Highway 3, the main road between Taranaki and Waikato, is closed because of a rock fall. The closure begins just south of Mokau, 83 kilometres northeast of New Plymouth.

An alternative route is available using SH1 and Whanganui, but will add three-and-a-half hours to the journey. New Zealand Transport Agency advised travellers to avoid using other local roads, such as Ohura and SH43, because they were narrow, windy and unsuitable for heavy traffic.

SH43 was also closed this weekend because of slips but has since reopened.


New Zealand Transport Agency regional performance manager Karen Boyt said geotechinical engineers had warned there was a risk of more slips, making the road unsafe. The agency would continue to examine the cliff by drone and helicopter today and would reopen the section as soon as it was safe to do so, Boyt said.

"We appreciate that State Highway 3 is the main route between Taranaki and the Waikato and we are working to get this section open again as soon as it is safe. We understand that it is frustrating and inconvenient to have this important route blocked, and we appreciate everyone's patience."

Earlier today Boyt said a geotechnical engineer told them yesterday afternoon it was not safe to open the road because of the risk of further rockfalls.

Motorists can get real-time information by calling 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49) or at www.nzta.govt.nz

It was a wet and windy weekend for much of the North Island, with surface flooding and slips affecting the Kapiti Coast and two people needing to be rescued in water-related incidents off Auckland.

However, the working week has started with settled weather over the country.

MetService's only severe weather outlook was a "low confidence" of heavy rain in the Far North.

Much of the country can expect mild temperatures and cloudy conditions, with showers possible in Nelson, New Plymouth and Tauranga, and drizzle in the capital.

Today: Long fine spells, 18C
Tomorrow: Rain developing in the afternoon, 16C

Today: Fine spells, 17C
Tomorrow: Patchy rain, 16C

Today: Mostly fine, 18C
Tomorrow: Fine spells, 17C

Today: Mainly fine, evening showers, 19C
Tomorrow: Showers developing in the afternoon, 15C

Today: Fine, 15C
Tomorrow: Morning cloud, then fine, 14C

Today: Cloudy with some drizzle, 12C
Tomorrow: Cloudy with chance of drizzle, 11C

Today: Cloudy periods and a few showers, 15C
Tomorrow: Early showers clearing, 14C

Today and tomorrow: Cloudy, 13C

Today: Cloud clearing in the afternoon, 12C
Tomorrow: Cloudy with early drizzle, 12C