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Driving to Franz Joseph down west coast.

Australia.
Level Contributor
257 posts
49 reviews
26 helpful votes
Driving to Franz Joseph down west coast.

Hello,

We would like to spend 2 nights in Hanmer Springs & then drive down to Franz Joseph. We would like to book a heli flight & then travel onto Queenstown. I've done a search for driving times/distances from Hanmer to Franz Joseph. Suggestions were 387 klms & roughly 5 hours.Happy to break journey along the way & arrive Franz Joseph to do the flight, stay overnight & then continue onto Queenstown. Can I get some advice &/or suggestions please, if this sounds OK/doable ? Any suggestions for O/N stop along the way, who to book for flight & place to stay Franz Joseph, would also be greatly appreciated. First visit to NZ & south island.

Thanks in advance.

9 replies to this topic
New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island, Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand, Tonga
Level Contributor
25,163 posts
728 reviews
511 helpful votes
1. Re: Driving to Franz Joseph down west coast.

i would suggest you drive hanmer springs to punakaiki (it mens going north on the west coast but it is absolutely stunning coastline) and then to franz josef - i would actually suggest fox glacier township as i prefer the fox glacier heli hike. you will need 2 nights at either fox or franz as its lot of driving day after day after day

then i would suggest you drive fox glacier to wanaka - its a full day drive with stops at lookouts waterfalls etc.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Fiji, New Zealand, Tasmania
Level Contributor
28,644 posts
428 reviews
245 helpful votes
2. Re: Driving to Franz Joseph down west coast.

Peter how many days do you have in New Zealand and what have you booked. As mentioned you need a stop between Hanmer Springs and the Glacier country.

Punakaiki is a good choice as some of the most scenic driving along the waterfront is around this area.

I would suggest you then visit hokitika gorge before having lunch at Franz Josef and then onto Fox glacier for two nights.

The second day take in the heli hike and lake matheson.

The drive from Fox Glacier to Wanaka (Not Queenstown) can take anything from 6 -8 hrs with so many attractions along the way. Last time it took us 8 hrs with a quick stop for a snack and toilet stop at Haast.

Australia.
Level Contributor
257 posts
49 reviews
26 helpful votes
3. Re: Driving to Franz Joseph down west coast.

We into Christchurch 16/11 ( out 28/11) stay the night (only booking I've made) then head to Hanmer Springs for 2 Nts. Make our way down west cost to /Franz Josef, onto Queenstown & get back to Christchurch for flight home. Will need to book other stops when decided where.

Example: Christchurch 16/11, Hanmer Springs 17-18/11, Stop off west coast (Punakaiki?) 19/11, 20-21/11, Wanaka/Arrowtown 22/11, Queenstown 23-24-25/11, then back to Christchurch to out late 28/11. A lot of driving, I know, but seems to be a better option to go down west coast & back up "centre"

IThoughts ?

Thanks for any advice.

Australia.
Level Contributor
257 posts
49 reviews
26 helpful votes
4. Re: Driving to Franz Joseph down west coast.

Thank you NZ pOppy. for your reply & suggestions, all,taken on board. I now realise that I should be going for 3 weeks ! However, will try & make best of the time we are there. There's always a return trip can be done.

Australia.
Level Contributor
257 posts
49 reviews
26 helpful votes
5. Re: Driving to Franz Joseph down west coast.

That should have been Fox/Franz Josef 20-21/11.

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Christchurch, South Island, Akaroa
Level Contributor
51,607 posts
555 reviews
231 helpful votes
6. Re: Driving to Franz Joseph down west coast.

Wanaka & Arrowtown are too far apart to be options. You need to be in Wanaka on the 22nd. Where do you plan to break the inland journey between QTN & CHC on the 26th & 27th? The ideal half way stop of course is Aoraki Mt Cook, but you need to book many months ahead for accommodation within the NP, so Twizel might fill the bill for 2N, allowing for a day trip to AMC on the 27th.

I hope you know about Cup & Show week in Canterbury, with "Show Day" on the 17th. Accommodation anywhere in Canterbury will be very hard to get as most people leave town for the long weekend.

Australia.
Level Contributor
257 posts
49 reviews
26 helpful votes
7. Re: Driving to Franz Joseph down west coast.

Thanks for the reply. No, wasn't aware of the show day on 17th. ! Good idea re Twiizel, did consider breaking the journey there, so will get into it tomorrow.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Fiji, New Zealand, Tasmania
Level Contributor
28,644 posts
428 reviews
245 helpful votes
8. Re: Driving to Franz Joseph down west coast.

Here is a suggestion

16/11 Arr Christchurch O/N CHC

17/11 drive to Hanmer Springs (2N)

18/11 Explore Hanmer Springs and Hot pools

19/11 Drive to Punakaiki

20/11 Drive to Hokitika

21/11 Drive to Fox Glacier (2N)

22/11 Heli Hike and Lake matheson

23/11 Drive to Wanaka

24/11 Drive via Arrowtown to Queenstown (2N)

25/11 Explore Queenstown

26/11 Drive to Twizel

27/11 All day in Mt Cook drive to lake Tekapo

28/11 Drive lake Tekapo to Christchurch and late flight home

California
Destination Expert
for New Zealand
Level Contributor
18,926 posts
70 reviews
33 helpful votes
9. Re: Driving to Franz Joseph down west coast.

Frankly, I'd skip Hanmer Springs and drive via Arthur's Pass to Punakaiki on the 17th. That leaves you more time to enjoy the rest of your trip.

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