More than a 100 tourists have been airlifted out of Fiordland after torrential rain brought down a slip, blocking Deep Cove, trapping hundreds of people.

Up to 339 people were trapped this afternoon at Wilmot Pass Rd.

Helicopters were called in to rescue those trapped after the weather cleared.

Real Journeys immediately put four helicopters on stand by and started flying passengers over the slip about 5pm to West Arm where four vessels were waiting to bring them back across Lake Manapouri.


The first group of passengers arrived back at Manapouri just after 7pm. All remaining passengers are expected to return to Manapouri by 9pm.

The tourists were cared for on Real Journeys day cruise vessel the Patea Explorer or at the Deep Cove Hostel nearby as they awaited air rescue.

"The slip blocked the road and they were held up," spokeswoman Tsehai Tiffin said.

"As soon as the weather was clear we flew them to West Arm, in the meantime a digger was working on the slip which was covering 25m of road."

"The roading contractor had it cleared of debris by 6.30pm. The remaining passengers were able to coach out to West Arm.'

A further road inspection will be conducted in the morning.

Anyone booked to travel to Doubtful Sound tomorrow is advised to contact the Real Journeys Contact Centre to reconfirm their booking on 0800 656 501.

A school group is understood to have been able to get out of Deep Cove before the road became blocked, Fairfax reported.


The weather forecast in the area today was for heavy rain with possible downpours and thunderstorms, easing overnight.

The MetService said there was also expected to be severe northwest gales turning southwest and easing overnight.