Access to the top of the Far North is limited as crews work to repair a washout which punched a 20 metre-wide hole in the road.

State Highway 1 south of Pukenui is closed following a washout, between Whalers Rd and Lamb Rd, leaving no other appropriate routes between Kaitaia and Cape Reinga until at least Wednesday.

Extra police staff are on the roads to help with emergencies and the washout will cause some disruptions for local schools as well as for tourists wanting to access the iconic light house at Cape Reinga.

Inspector Chris McLellan, Northland police acting area prevention manager, said three extra staff had been rostered to work today - two who volunteered to come off leave to help out - but the slip had not affected police response.


"We have officers in Houhora who are residents and live in the area, and on the south side. To date we have had no reports of crashes or other incidents of note. We'll have extra police staff responding on roads and that's about giving messages to people, and visitors," he said.

Work has started to repair the washout which blocked access to top of the Far North. Photo/NZTA
Work has started to repair the washout which blocked access to top of the Far North. Photo/NZTA

NZ Transport Agency Northland system manager, Jacqui Hori-Hoult, said NZTA was on course to reopen the road by the middle of this week after it washed out on Friday.

"There is a significant workforce and heavy lifting equipment on site and we are working to have one lane open to traffic as soon as possible but that is unlikely to be before the middle of the week," she said.

NZTA said some locals have used a private unsealed one-lane forestry track, which would have deteriorated with recent rainfall and extra traffic, to get around the washout but Summit Forestry said it will not allow vehicles other than emergency services to use the track. Its operations resumed in the forest today.

Motorists were also urged not to drive on 90 Mile Beach.

Mr McLellan said if anyone needed medical attention they should call 111 as emergency services, who have four-wheel drives, were ready.

"It's best to do that than drive through, then we can make sure you get there," he said.

Mr McLellan said there were still discussions being held with schools to determine what would happen but advised people to not travel if they didn't have to.


Meanwhile, NZTA said the work that is currently underway involves diverting the stream and placing new rock and material to provide a base to lay 24 metres of 2.1m diameter pipes across the road.

Crews will then back fill with 3000 to 4000 cubic metres of material to cover the pipes back up to road level.

Two of the pipes have already been placed into position and material is being trucked in and stockpiled close to the site so that the hole can be back filled to road level as soon as possible.

Locals take a look at the washout on Friday. Photo/Supplied
Locals take a look at the washout on Friday. Photo/Supplied

Murray Soljak, Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management spokesman, said as of about 1.20pm yesterday no one had visited the drop in centre which had been set up at The Houhora Big Game and Sports Fishing Club.

"By in large communities are connected and functioning by themselves under normal circumstances. At any time that someone pops up their head and says they need assistance there's all sorts of agencies that will look after them," he said.