Waiho River

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Waiho River
Franz Josef village and valley from Alex Knob.jpg
Waiho River flowing out of the Franz Josef Glacier valley
CountryNew Zealand
Physical characteristics
 • locationFranz Josef Glacier
 • location
Tasman Sea
Length25 km (16 mi)
The Waiho Bridge was destroyed in 2019

The Waiho River (traditionally the Waiau River[1]) is a river of the West Coast region of New Zealand's South Island. It is fed by the meltwater of the Franz Josef Glacier and skirts the main township of Franz Josef to its south, where its river bed is crossed by SH 6 on a long single-lane bridge. Due to changes in rainfall and snow melt, the river's water flow varies greatly. In a severe rain storm on 26 March 2019, the bridge was destroyed after 400 millimetres (16 in) of rain had fallen.[2] The bridge and one abutment was rebuilt, and the road link reopened after 18 days. The works cost NZ$6m.[3]

Waiho River merges with Docherty Creek just before reaching the Tasman Sea 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) southwest of Okarito.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. "Whenua". Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  2. ^ Gorman, Paul; Guildford, Jonathan; Kitchin, Tom (26 March 2019). "State of emergency on West Coast as heavy rain batters region, wipes out bridge". Stuff. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  3. ^ Guildford, Jonathan (2 May 2019). "West Coast's Waiho River bridge to close at night as final construction begins". The Press. p. 3. Retrieved 3 May 2019.

"Place name detail: Waiho River". New Zealand Gazetteer. New Zealand Geographic Board. Retrieved 12 July 2009.

Coordinates: 43°18′S 170°05′E / 43.300°S 170.083°E / -43.300; 170.083