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Driving Route : Christchurch - Milford Sound - Christchurch

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Day 7: Wanaka to Franz Josef

Travel time is approximate only, based on an average driving speed under normal road conditions.

  Travel Time Km (Miles)
Wanaka - Haast 1.75 hrs 139 87
Haast - Fox Glacier 1.75 hrs 122 76
Fox Glacier - Franz Josef 0.25 hr 23 14
Totals for Day 3.75 hrs 284 178

Wanaka - Haast

Wanaka - Haast

139 km (87 miles)
Approximately 1.75 hours
Road Conditions: State Highway

The lakeside town of Wanaka can provide you with an appealing mix of fine living, family fun and adventure. It has a high concentration of cafes, restaurants and interesting shops. You'll also find unique attractions, like the 3D maze and the 'warbird' air show, which is held every two years.

Lake Hawea is the first scenic highlight of your journey, followed closely by the northern end of Lake Wanaka. The famous 'bra fence' is impossible to miss—it started as a joke, but it's become a local legend. At the wilderness town of Makarora you can fuel up and refresh before you take on the dramatic twists and turns of the Haast Pass. Enjoy waterfalls and river scenery as you arrive in rainforest country.

The settlement of Haast was once a construction camp for the Ministry of Works (the government department responsible for road and bridge building). It's a town with a touch of the wild west—helicopters fly deer hunters into the rugged ranges and local pubs make a feature of stuffed animal trophies.

Haast - Fox Glacier

Haast - Fox Glacier

122 km (76 miles)
Approximately 1.75 hours
Road Conditions: State Highway

The settlement of Haast was once a construction camp for the Ministry of Works (the government department responsible for road and bridge building). It's a town with a touch of the wild west—helicopters fly deer hunters into the rugged ranges and local pubs make a feature of stuffed animal trophies.

Just north of Haast is Lake Moeraki, a peaceful forest lake with good fishing—a 40 minute walk takes you to the penguin colony at Monro Beach. Next is pretty Lake Paringa, where you can enjoy a delicious meal of salmon at the salmon farm. Just before Fox Glacier is the western end of the Copland track. In half a day you can walk to the hot springs at Welcome Flat.

The terminal face of Fox Glacier is just five kilometres from the township that serves it. The road to the walking track crosses ancient moraine from earlier advances and retreats. Fox Glacier was named after an early New Zealand Prime Minister, William Fox.

Fox Glacier - Franz Josef

Fox Glacier - Franz Josef

23 km (14 miles)
Approximately 0.25 hour
Road Conditions: State Highway

The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are unique relics of the last ice age. Mighty rivers of solid white, tumbling down ice-hewn rock valleys, they are classically beautiful in the glacial sense. Nowhere else in the world have glaciers advanced so close to the sea at this latitude. While in the area, you can choose from a wide range of adventure activities.

The terminal face of Fox Glacier is just 5 kilometres from the township that serves it. The road to the walking track crosses ancient moraine from earlier advances and retreats. Fed by four alpine glaciers, Fox Glacier was named after an early New Zealand Prime Minister, William Fox.

After a short drive north, you'll arrive at Franz Josef Glacier. First explored in 1865, the glacier has been moving forward at a rate of about one metre a day since 1985. Previously it was in retreat. You can walk to the terminal of the glacier in about 10 minutes. Franz Josef township has a good range of accommodation and eating establishments.

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Directory Information

Wanaka:
Accommodation, Attractions and Activities, Tours, Transport, Visitor Information

Franz Josef Glacier, West Coast:
Accommodation, Attractions and Activities, Tours, Transport, Visitor Information

Fox Glacier, West Coast:
Accommodation, Attractions and Activities, Tours, Transport, Visitor Information

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