Avalanche risks have closed seven parts of New Zealand after widespread heavy snow in the past 24 hours.

The seven "don't go" regions marked "high" risk are Tongariro in the North Island and Nelson Lakes, Arthurs Pass, Craigieburn Range, Aoraki/Mt Cook, Wanaka and Fiordland.

Mt Taranaki, Mt Hutt, Ohau and Two Thumbs are marked at the next-highest danger level "considerable - expert skills required".

Of 12 areas monitored by the Mountain Safety Council, only Queenstown is listed as at "moderate" risk, but a spokesman said that would be reviewed today.


He said it was only the second time this winter that avalanche warnings were at the highest level across so many areas.

"Sometimes you get conditions where the North Island fields are at a different rate than the southern fields. Right at the moment it's widespread across the country," he said.

He said it was still safe to ski in designated skifields where the avalanche risk was "actively managed".

But it was not safe to hunt, tramp or climb in the high-risk areas outside the managed skifields.

"If you haven't got the equipment of a shovel, an avalanche probe and a transceiver, as well as the training on how to use that equipment, then you shouldn't be going into the back country regions," he said.

Updated forecasts are online at: http://avalanche.net.nz/Forecasts/