Wellington Scoop

High waves flood roads on south coast; Cook Strait ferries cancelled

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Photos: Marten Rabarts
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Cook Strait passenger ferry sailings were cancelled today, because of swells of up to six metres and a southerly gale. The swells flooded parts of the road on Wellington’s south coast and also threw up debris and damaged the recently resealed road.

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Moa Point Road. WCC photo from Twitter

Moa Point Road alongside the airport runway was closed for several hours because the heavy seas were throwing large rocks on to the roadway.

The Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office issued a heavy swell warning from Baring Head to Sinclair Head. It said there would be a southerly swell rising to 6m this afternoon. It asked people to take care on the South Coast and in Eastbourne.

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Waves on Eastern Bays Road. Photo via twitter from Hutt City Council

At 1pm the Hutt City Council asked drivers to avoid travelling around Eastbourne and Seaview till road hazards improved. It said road conditions were challenging. An hour later, the council advised:

Traffic control is in place at the Marine Drive & Port Road intersection. Traffic from the Eastern bays will be able to continue north, but at this stage the road is closed for those travelling to the bays. This will allow debris to be cleared safely.

At 3pm, both roads had reopened, but driving conditions remained hazardous.

MetService had earlier warned that high waves would bring debris and surface flooding to roads about the south coast and Eastbourne, especially around high tide. It confirmed that southerly swells could reach 6m this afternoon and were then forecast to ease to 5.5m this evening and 4.5m overnight. The next high tide is at 11.48pm.

MetService has strong wind watches in place till 10pm for the lower North Island.

Interislander operations manager Peter Matthews said the company’s cancellations would affect about 1000 passengers. Bluebridge also cancelled today’s sailings.


  1. Peter Steven, 13. October 2021, 18:11

    The Regional Council’s official sea level rise tool says that this section of the Esplanade won’t be affected by sea level rise for another century at least. Perhaps it needs reviewing…

  2. TrevorH, 14. October 2021, 8:09

    Peter Steven, as a long time resident (40 years) I have seen far worse. In 1990 I lost a boat that was kept well up from the high tide mark and the road around Karaka Bay was strewn with heavy rocks and kelp.

  3. Greenwelly, 14. October 2021, 9:18

    The Road to Eastbourne will gain significant additional protection from storm surges when the new seawalls are built for the Eastern Bays shared path. “The replacement seawalls will reduce overtopping and debris on the road and develop a consistent seawall design that can be added to in the future. The Shared Path will sit on top of the new seawall.”

  4. D'Esterre, 14. October 2021, 23:19

    TrevorH: my recollection as well, going back to my time here in the mid-60s. There’s nothing new about storm surges flooding roads and houses around the harbour, and on the south coast. Those who are old enough will also remember the Wahine storm in 1968. The Eastbourne road was particularly affected that day.


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