Driving the unsealed Mount Cheeseman Access Road
Access Road to Mount Cheeseman is an unsealed road located in New Zealand's South Island. The access road is suitable for 2WD vehicles with chains. The road climbs up to 1.550m (5,085ft) above the sea level. It’s one of the highest roads in the country.
This is a maintained road where a high clearance 2WD vehicle is able to travel safely at low speeds on long dry straight-of-ways, without losing control due to wash boarding, ruts, or dips. The 12km access road is an unsealed road which starts by winding its way through beach forest and then continues through alpine terrain. There is an unload point up by the Base T-Bar and the car park is 200m back down the road.
The unpaved sections of the road can be impassable when wet. After rain, sections of road can become decidedly hazardous when fast-flowing creek crossings and slippery mud can cause road closures. The 12km access road comes off the Great Alpine Highway, officially known as State Highway 73 ('SH 73'), approximately 2km past the Castle Hill village. Like many other NZ ski fields, the access road is really gnarly (the Mt Cheeseman staff call it scenic!). Chains must be carried and a 4WD vehicle is highly recommended, and don’t even dream of taking your camper van up there.
A chairlift service road (-43.153643, 171.659028) climbs up to 1.862m (6,108ft) above the sea level.
Pic: The Family Scapegoat