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Day 9 : Franz Josef to Wanaka

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

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

Franz Josef - Fox Glacier

Franz Josef - Fox Glacier

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 (mostly involving glaciers and mountains).

First explored in 1865, the Franz Josef 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.

After a short drive south, you'll arrive at Fox Glacier. The glacier's terminal face is just five kilometres from the township, and 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.

Fox Glacier - Haast

Fox Glacier - Haast

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

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.

Not far from Fox Glacier is the western end of the Copland track. In half a day you can walk to the hot springs at Welcome Flat. Pretty Lake Paringa is full of trout, and you can enjoy a delicious meal of salmon at the salmon farm.

Lake Moeraki is another peaceful forest lake with good fishing—a 40 minute walk takes you to the penguin colony at Monro Beach.

The long one-lane bridge over the Haast River leads you into the settlement of Haast, 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 - Wanaka

Haast - Wanaka

139 km (87 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.

Enjoy waterfalls and river scenery as you leave the coast and climb up the Haast river valley to Haast Pass. The road snakes through the Aspiring National Park, and the vegetation becomes more sparse as you travel inland.

The wilderness town of Makarora is a chance to refuel and refresh. Watch for the famous ‘bra fence’—it's become a local legend. Lakes Wanaka and Hawea make the last part of your trip beautifully scenic.

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.

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Directory Information

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

Haast, West Coast:
Accommodation, Attractions and Activities, Tours

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

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