There are 55 soldiers and 28 NZ Army vehicles making their way to Kaikoura.

Captain Jeff Howell, of Burnham Military Camp, says they're not expecting an easy ride through the Inland Rd when they leave Waiau tomorrow morning, but they'll have soldiers doing reconnaissance trips ahead to make sure the going is good.

The troops are carrying a variety of goods and aid, not only enough to sustain themselves but also for those in need in the cut-off coastal settlement.

Inland Rd - the soon to be new replacement for State Highway 1 - was officially closed for all vehicles this afternoon ahead of the Army's arrival tomorrow.


"We are expecting a difficult crossing tomorrow so we're making sure everyone is well refreshed and rested."

A few opted to play cards and eat burgers as they lounged on the floor of the Rotherham Community Hall.

As well as aid, Captain Howell says they've also got a portable kitchen onboard - which will be set up at the hospital - as well as fuel for emergency vehicles.

Their convoy of vehicles includes mainly MHOV's - Medium Heavy Operational Vehicles - which recently replaced the Unimogs. He says the MHOV's give the army a "revolutionary step up in terms of capability".

"So, their ability to carry and go to really difficult places ... these are much bigger and much heavier ... the land capability of the LAV (Light Armoured Vehicle)."

Also in the fleet is the Pinzgauer - six wheel utility vehicle being used as an ambulance.

Of the 55 crew, there's about ten female soldiers, some of whom are also driving the MHOV's.