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Snow Chains Required?

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Apr 4th, 2016, 09:48 AM
  #1
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Snow Chains Required?

As you all know, we're visiting the South Island, arriving in Queenstown May 21st and leaving Christchurch on June 2nd.

I'm about to rent a car, and I wanted to check to be sure snow chains are required. I called the rental company to ask, but it's still the middle of the night in New Zealand.

Should I add them to the rental?

Lee Ann
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Apr 5th, 2016, 07:21 AM
  #2
 
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Drivers are required to carry snow chains in their car while traveling Milford Road and Arthur's Pass from May-Sept.

APEX charges $25 for snow chains for the duration of a rental - I always rent them when traveling May-Sept but have never had to use them.

My experience is that if a road is bad enough to need snow chains, it will be closed. But by law you need them in your car if traveling the roads above.
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Apr 5th, 2016, 07:41 PM
  #3
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Thanks. I emailed Apex to ask and they made it sound optional, but I went ahead and rented them just in case.

Lee Ann, hoping for decent weather and no road closures
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Apr 6th, 2016, 01:11 AM
  #4
 
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During your trip, you can check weather forecast on met service.com
I mentioned this link before:
http://www.metservice.com/national/home

It will alert you to bad weather on your horizon.

Also check NZ Transport Agency updates. This will advise you of roadworks, closure, delays, so on. In map form:
http://www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/
In list form:
http://www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic-and-travel-list-view/

Generally speaking, you shouldn't encounter heavy snow at the end of May, NIWA is predicting the continuation of warmer El Niño temperatures through May, so we will probably have a mild early winter. Last winter was worse than usual. You can read about it here:
http://www.odt.co.nz/news/queenstown...ow-hits-resort
https://www.niwa.co.nz/climate/sco/s...pril-june-2016

Heavy rainfall can sometimes cause slips and road closures, so it's worth checking the NZ Transport Agency update website daily.

If mornings are frosty, try to avoid driving before 10 a.m. as the roads can be slippery, especially in shady areas. (As you're from New Mexico, you're familiar with black ice.)

Melnq8 is right, roads will often close if it's bad enough to need snow chains. But not always. Sometimes, signs will be posted advising you that now chains are needed. Sometimes, signs won't go up in time and something like this might happen (note this happened in mid-July):
http://www.odt.co.nz/news/queenstown...ntal-car-rolls
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Apr 6th, 2016, 01:40 PM
  #5
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Thanks for all those links, Diamantina!

Lee Ann
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