Tunnels in New Zealand

Tunnels in New Zealand

This list of Tunnels in New Zealand is a link page for railway, road and waterway tunnels, including hydroelectric intakes and tailraces and gun battery tunnels. It includes artificial chambers but excludes caves and mines.

For a list of caves, see List of caves of New Zealand.


Air raid shelters

*Albert Park tunnels built to shelter civilians in the event of an air raid

Hydroelectric Tunnels and Chambers

*Manapouri Power Station - Machine hall 111 m long, 18 m wide, 34 m high, and road access tunnel 2040 m long, 6.7 m wide and high, with a semi-circular arch roof.
*Manapouri Tailrace - 2 tunnels - original tailrace tunnel 9817 m, 9.2 m diameter horseshoe section, commenced 1964, breakthrough 1968 drill-and-blast construction, 16 deaths. Second tailrace tunnel 9829 m, 10.05 m diameter, circular section, commenced 1997, breakthrough 2001, commissioned April 2002, tunnel boring machine construction, 0 deaths.
*Tongariro Power Scheme

Gun Battery and Military Tunnels

*Devonport Tunnels, Auckland
*Whangaparaoa Army Camp, two sets of tunnels, Auckland
*Stony Batter, Waiheke Island
*Wrights Hill Fortress, Wellington
*Cracroft Caverns - Chamber, Christchurch
*Godley Head, Christchurch
*Cashin Quay - Extensive network in midway hillside, Lyttelton
*Taiaroa Head and Harrington Point, Dunedin

Railway Tunnels

From longest to shortest.
#Kaimai - 8879 m - opened 12 September 1978 - near Apata on the East Coast Main Trunk Railway Line to Tauranga. It is the longest rail tunnel in New Zealand.
#Rimutaka - 8798 m - opened 3 November 1955 - between Upper Hutt (Wellington) and Featherston (Wairarapa), replaced the Rimutaka Incline, a Fell mountain railway. It is the longest tunnel in New Zealand that carries regular passenger trains.
#Otira - 8566 m - opened 1923 - between Arthur's Pass and Otira, in the Southern Alps on the transalpine Midland line - continuous 1 in 33 grade - electrified until 1997.
#Tawa No. 2 - 4324 m - opened 1935, goods on one line, 1937 all traffic - longest double-track tunnel in New Zealand. Between Ngauranga (Wellington) and Glenside (Tawa). With the 1 km Tawa No 1 Tunnel, part of the Tawa Flat deviation.
#Tikiwhata - 2989 m - opened 1943, between Wairoa and Gisborne.
#Lyttelton - 2596 m - opened 1867-12-09,cite web|url=http://library.christchurch.org.nz/heritage/earlychristchurch/lytteltontunnel.asp
title=The Lyttelton Tunnel
publisher=Christchurch City Council
] between Heathcote Valley (Christchurch) and Lyttelton.
#Turakina - 2091 m - opened 1947, between Marton, New Zealand and Wanganui.

hortest Bored Tunnels

#A 39.83 m long tunnel - opened 1906, between Staircase and Avoca, South Island Midland Line.
#A 42.05 m long tunnel - opened 1891, near Woodville, in the Manawatu Gorge.

ome Disused Railway Tunnels

In the North Island

*Cruickshanks - opened 1 January 1878, between Mangaroa and Upper Hutt. Public access uncertain (see [http://www.trainweb.org/valleysignals/tunnels/cruickshanks.html Valley Signals site] for information)
*Mangaroa - 152 m - opened 1 January 1878, at Tunnel Gully recreation area, Te Marua, Upper Hutt. Now a walkway.
*Summit - 584 m, and three shorter tunnels, opened 12 October 1878 on the Rimutaka Incline On the Rimutaka Rail Trail.
*Okaihau - on the never-opened extension of the Okaihau Branch to Rangiahua, unused but can be walked through - easily spotted from SH1 where the road passes Okaihau township.
*Parnell - single track, on the Auckland - Newmarket Line, adjacent to the current double-track tunnel. Closed, with no public access.
*Karangahake - 1006 m, in the Karangahake Gorge, on the former East Coast Main Trunk, closed in 1978. Now a walkway.
*Porootarao - 1071 m, replaced by new tunnel on deviation in 1980.
*Nine tunnels on the North Island Main Trunk Railway that were deviated around between 1981 and 1985. Most were on the Mangaweka Deviation. Hedgehog tunnel near Taihape is adjacent to State Highway 1; access to the rest is unknown.
*Four tunnels on the closed Moutohora Branch, ranging from 45 to 258 m in length. One tunnel is accessible on a public walkway, the others can be viewed from public roads.
*Three tunnels of unknown status on the closed Ngatapa Branch. Public access unknown.
*No. 24 tunnel on the Palmerston North - Gisborne line - 123 m (collapsed).
*No. 12 tunnel on the Wellington & Manawatu Railway (now NIMT) - abandoned in 1900.

In the South Island

*Spooners Range Tunnel - 308 m, on the closed Nelson Section. Accessible by public walkway.
*Kawatiri Tunnel - 185 m, on the closed Nelson Section. Accessible by public walkway.
*Abandoned tunnel - south of Oaro township on the Main South Line. Line deviated by widened coast.
*Chasm Creek - former Seddonville Branch. Accessible by public walkway.
*Charming Creek - former private coal railway. Accessible by public walkway.
*Former coal tramways at Stockton and Denniston. Public access.
*Cape Foulwind - former quarry line. Public access but tunnel has largely collapsed.
*Rewanui Incline - two short tunnels now used by access road.
*Puketeraki - 157 m. Track deviated around in a cutting. Partly collapsed and ends have been fenced over.
*Sawyers Bay, Dunedin - 101 m, track deviated through new tunnel. Status unknown. Appears to have been filled in at entrances.
*Caversham, Dunedin - 865 m, track deviated through new double-track tunnel. Public access to both ends but it is quite muddy (the access down the steps between intersections with Ensor Street and Townleys Road has been fenced off, but easy to get under) and also on the opposite side of road to the Caversham entrance of the current tunnel).
*Chain Hills (Wingatui) - 889 m, track deviated through new double-track tunnel. Tunnel blocked with no access on Dunedin side. Unsure about access on Wingatui side: appears to be on private land.
*Three tunnels on the Otago Central Rail Trail (former Otago Central Railway), ranging in length from 152 to 229 m. All have public access.
*Three tunnels on the former Roxburgh Branch ranging from 226 to 443 m. Tunnel 1 is in public reserve, appears to be no access to others.
*Raki's - on the former Tokarahi Branch. Can be seen from road, on private land.
*Conical Hill - 71 m, on the former Tapanui Branch. Public access through walkway.
*Hunts Road - 221 m, former Catlins River Branch. Public walkway access.
*Glenham Branch, 301 m. Possible public access.
*Tunnel Hill Historic Reserve - between Balclutha to Owaka, 200 m, [http://www.cluthacountry.co.nz/Visit/must.html] public access through walkway.

ources for Railway Tunnels:

* [http://trains.wellington.net.nz/tunnels.html New Zealand Railway Tunnels at http://trains.wellington.net.nz]
* [http://trains.wellington.net.nz/tunnels2.html New Zealand Railway Tunnels at 31 March 1975]
*"Exploring New Zealand's Ghost Railways", David Leitch and Brian Scott, Grantham House Publishing, Wellington (1995).
*"New Zealand Railway and Tramway Atlas", Quail Map Co, UK (various editions)
*See also: Rail transport in New Zealand

Road Tunnels

Tunnels on State Highways

*Lyttelton Road Tunnel - 1900 m - opened 1964, on SH 74 between Lyttelton and the Heathcote Valley in Christchurch.
*Homer Tunnel - 1200 m - completed 1953, opened 1954, on SH 94 between Hollyford Valley and Milford Sound, Fiordland. Mean altitude 945 m. Unlined rock.
*Mount Victoria Tunnel - 623 m - SH 1, opened 1931, Mount Victoria, Wellington.
*The Terrace Motorway Tunnel, SH 1, opened 1978, under The Terrace, Wellington.
*Moki Tunnel - approx 200 m, SH 43 between Whangamomona and Taumarunui - uses wooden shoring.
*There are two short twin road tunnels on SH 1, on the coast a few kilometres south of Kaikoura.
*There are short (less than 50 m) tunnels on SH 3 between New Plymouth and Te Kuiti - one at the summit of Mt Messenger and a single-lane one in the Awakino gorge.
*There is a short tunnel north of Okaihau constructed for railway purposes, which is accessible to vehicles.

Tunnels on other Roads

*Karori Tunnel - 74m - between Kelburn and Karori, Wellington; opened 1900.
*Northland Tunnel - 90m - between Northland and Karori, Wellington.
*Hataitai bus tunnel - 388m - Mount Victoria, Wellington; opened 1907 as a tram tunnel.
*Seatoun tunnel - 144m - between Strathmore and Seatoun, Wellington, opened 1907. There are several tunnels on rural Taranaki roads:
* An approximately 100 m tunnel on the Tongaporutu-Ohura road (4 km from SH 3), which is unusual in that it abuts directly to a bridge.
* Uruti Tunnel on Uruti Road, connecting the Pehu Valley with the State Highway. It is both the longest (at about 200 m) and least stable tunnel in Taranaki. It took seven years to construct and opened in 1923. Signs at each end recommend not walking through it and stopping is prohibited. It looks like a mine shaft with its inverted V shaped top, has a wooden ceiling, and reinforcing planks along its walls.
* Two Kiwi Tunnels: the eastern one on Kiwi Road, the western on Moki Road, near Uruti Road.
* Tarata Tunnel on Otaraoa Road, about 30 m long, built as the hill above was unstable.
* Matau Tunnel on Mangaoapa Road, connecting Matau and Douglas via Kiore.
* Makahu Tunnel on Brewer Road, providing access to the small village of Makahu (white hawk).
* Tangahoe Tunnel in South Taranaki - has recently been re-opened.
* Huinga Tunnel, near the village of the same name, provides access to an isolated valley.
* Two short tunnels on the old Whangamomona Road (4WD only)
* The Te Horo Stock Tunnel near the Whitecliffs Walkway; and the Moki Stock Tunnel, hidden away in the bush to the east of the Kiwi Tunnels.

Road Tunnels to be constructed

*Johnstone's Twin Tunnels, on the Auckland Northern Motorway Extension near Puhoi - 340 m long - to open in 2009.
*Victoria Park Northbound Tunnel, just north of the Central Motorway Junction on State Highway 1 in Auckland - 440 m long - to open in 2014. The positioning of the tunnel allows a southbound tunnel to be built in the future (project yet to receive construction funding).


[http://www.teara.govt.nz/1966/T/TunnelsRailAndRoad/TunnelsRailAndRoad/en "Tunnels" in the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand]

See also: List of Tunnels of the World.

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