The Haast Pass Road, connecting Lake Wanaka with South Westland, is the most historic and most recently opened of the transalpine routes, following an ancient greenstone trail.
Although the road, much of it unsealed, traverses some of the Island’s most rugged country, it presents little difficulty to the motorist. The region’s rainfall is among the country’s highest and can prove vexing to visitors, who are not infrequently obliged to drive through the pass while cloud obscures much of its magnificent surroundings. There are numerous picnicking and camping places on the way. The road, which is continually being upgraded, is seldom closed by snow.
Haast River Bridge
The country’s longest single-lane bridge – of Callander-Hamilton steel trusses extending some 732.4 metres – spans the river. Completed in 1964 at a cost of $552,000, it stands 3 metres above the highest known flood-level and is designed to accommodate a flood flow of 11,200 m³ secs. The bridge was an integral part of the final leg of the Otago-Haast Highway.