Lindis Pass

Road trip guide: Conquering Lindis Pass in NZ

Lindis Pass is a mountain pass at an elevation of 966m (3,169ft) above the sea level, located on the boundary of Canterbury and Otago regions on New Zealand’s South Island. The actual pass crosses a saddle between the valleys of the Lindis and Ahuriri Rivers.

How long is Lindis Pass?

The road to the summit is totally paved. It’s called State Highway 8. The pass is 80.2 km (49 miles) long, running from Tarras, in Central Otago, to Omarama, near the southern end of the Mackenzie Basin. It’s the highest point on the South Island's state highway network. The summit hosts a car park and a lookout. Adjacent to the highway is the Lindis Conservation Area, where snow tussock grassland dominates the landscape. Before reaching Lindis Pass when driving from Omarama, you can take a short detour down Ahuriri Valley and back by driving on Birchwood road, which is a gravel road.

Is Lindis Pass open?

The pass links the Mackenzie Basin with Central Otago. The road is usually open all year round, however, the weather on the area is unpredictable. Heavy snow and frequent ice are common in winter. For many months of the year, you can expect to see snow in this mountainous area - often down to the roadside.

Is Lindis Pass steep?

The road to the summit is pretty curvy, so caution is required. It features steep sections, hitting a 10% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. The road is hilly, so you won’t be able to drive 100 km/h (62 mph) very often.