Day 12 - 15 - Greymouth - Wanaka
5 hours 50 minutes
Venture west three hours through Arthur’s Pass, a scenic route that intersects the TranzAlpine train as it slowly chugs from Coast to Coast.
Slightly north of Greymouth is the natural phenonemon of Punakaiki, Pancake Rocks and just south is Hokitika, famous for Pounamu - New Zealand Jade - and the crystal clear blue waters of Hokitika Gorge.
Franz Josef and Fox Village, roughly two hours south, are best known for Heli hiking and Ice climbing on the glaciers, or keeping your feet on the ground, walk along the valley floor to the terminal face of the glaciers, relax in local hot pools and meet the native Kiwi’s at the West Coast sanctuary. Lake Matheson, just 10 minutes outside of Fox Village, offers a perfect mirror image of the Mountains.
Continue to the Haast Pass at the north end of Mt Aspiring National Park, known for it’s natural beauty. Allow plenty of time for stops as there are amazing waterfalls just metres from the roadside.
Drive between Lakes Wanaka and Hawea as you enter Wanaka, Queenstown’s laid back neighbour lakeside town, popular for mountain biking and hiking.
- The TranzAlpine traverses the mighty Southern Alps, where spectacular views of the chiselled alpine landscape will take your breath away at every turn. It then continues through the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River, before reaching the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland. An outdoor viewing carriage will get your clients close to the fresh alpine air and spectacular scenery.
- Allow plenty of time for stops on the West Coast, the clear aqua blue water coming from the glaciers is breath-taking and there are plenty of photo opportunities along this route.
- If booking a heli-hike in Franz or Fox, book an afternoon flight on the day you arrive, if it gets cancelled for weather you will get a second chance the following day.
- Franz has more of a village but Fox only has one helicopter company operating on it, so it is less crowded – this company also operate in Mount cook on the other side of the mountain.
- The free terminal face walk to the glacier in Franz Josef is a short drive out of town and a great walk, but due to the glacier receeding you can no longer get that close, if your clients want to get up close to the glacier the best option is a heli-hike.
- Take a guided trip onto the Glacier at Fox or Franz Josef.
- View the glaciers from above with a scenic flight
- Relax in the steaming Glacier Hot Pools at Franz Josef Glacier
- Get to know New Zealand’s national bird, the Kiwi, up close at the West Coast Wildlife Centre in Franz Josef
- Enjoy the spectacular mountain reflections in Lake Matheson – take a short walk through ancient native forest to a pontoon that extends out onto the lake, ideal for photo opportunities.
- Stop in Haast and enjoy a scenic or wildlife tour by jetboat or helicopter
- Experience high action on the water by jet boating, fishing or paragliding. For the adventurous there’s canyoning or white water sledging.
- Go on a hike, 4WD experience or mountain bike