Ohau Waterfall Track Temporarily Closed

Due to safety concerns, the Ohau Waterfall Stream track has been closed temporarily.

ohau waterfall track sign

The track is very popular because fur seal pups can often be viewed at the waterfall or in the stream.  These pups are usually 4-10 months old and they spend their time resting and playing while their mothers are at sea feeding.  When the pups get hungry, they head back down the stream and meet their mothers at the coastal colony for a long drink of milk.

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However, in the past few days the story at Ohau has changed.

For the first time in recent history, female fur seals are giving birth to pups up the stream and near the waterfall.  This means that the area is now a breeding ground and must be protected.  Newborn pups are vulnerable to disturbance and mothers need adequate rest to properly care for their young.

In addition, now that there are reproductive females up the stream, several large mature males have followed.  This makes the area hazardous to the public.  We really don’t want anyone to be in close quarters with one of these males, which could weigh up to 150 kg.

Males can be quite aggressive and territorial at this time of the year.  We are currently at the height of the breeding season and males are set on mating with females in the days after she gives birth.

At the request of the landowners, the track has been closed for the time being and DOC Rangers are monitoring the situation closely.

The best place to view fur seals is at the Ohau Point Lookout, just a little further down the road.  From the safety of a viewing platform, visitors can see heaps of new pups and their mothers and can safely watch large males fight and defend their territory.


There is a possibility of short delays with it being 30km/hour through parts of the route. The full rebuild of the highway will continue in 2018. Check the NZTA website for road updates before traveling. INLAND ROUTE 70 IS OPEN 24/7.


Hasslefree ToursCanterbury Leisure Tours & Kaikoura Express have daily services from Christchurch to Kaikōura with a return service from Christchurch. Kiwi Experience now have the option of a day tour out of Christchurch for their travellers. Intercity Bus also provides a bus service between Christchurch and Kaikoura return.

Progress on the work being done on the roads can be found on the dedicated Kaikoura Earthquake Response page provided by the team at NZTA. This page is updated weekly on Fridays. Work is also underway on the railway network, please be aware and take care when using rail crossings.