State Highway 3 has been closed at the Awakino Tunnel due to a serious crash.
The major route connects Taranaki and Waitomo.
People are being asked to avoid the area - NZTA says the road is likely to remain closed for most of the day.
SH3 AWAKINO TUNNEL - SERIOUS CRASH - 1:20PM— NZTA Waikato/BoP (@NZTAWaiBoP) April 22, 2019
Due to a serious crash #SH3 is CLOSED at the Awakino Tunnel. More information to come, including closure points. Avoid the area if possible or delay your journey. Please note the road is likely to remain closed for most today. ^MF pic.twitter.com/4QH2pehnHm
A motorist told the Herald cars were still heading into the Gorge, unaware of the crash and closure.
"Traffic is backed up at least 500m, as people try to find a spot to turn around. Emergency services at the scene said not to bother waiting at the cordon, as it will be closed for hours. The nearest place is the Awakino Hotel, which is now full of families and holiday travelers, figuring out how they will get home now."