GREYMOUTH – HOKITIKA – FRANZ JOSEF
Travel distance is approximately 173kms (108 miles).
Allow at least 1.80 hours drive time (not including stops).
Boasting some of the most untamed and stunning scenery in the world, the coastal road between Greymouth and Hokitika provides great views of the genuine ‘Wild West Coast’. Make sure you stop off along the route to enjoy the sharp tang of the sea air and enjoy a stroll along the beach while enjoying the entertaining shapes and sizes of the driftwood that adorns our West Coast beaches.
From Hokitika the scenery begins to turn rural with a strange twist of thick forest and big flowing rivers.
Some notable stops along the route to Franz Josef include:
Only 10km’s South of Greymouth, Shantytown is one of New Zealand’s premier cultural and heritage experiences and retells the inspirational stories of the challenges that faced gold seeking immigrants during the 9th century’s great gold rushes. Take a ride on a real steam engine and explore the ‘real-life’ town, as it would’ve looked in the ‘old times’.
Between Greymouth and Westport on one of the spectacular coastal drives in the world, this is a wonderful place to stop and enjoy the wonderful walks and coastal views. Located in the heart of the Paparoa National Park, the area is most famous for the internationally recognised Pancake Rocks and Blowholes.
Situated by the sea, the town and area is famous for local artists working in jade, gold, driftwood, timber, clay, shell, bone, fibres and paint! The area boasts talented craft artists; sculptors, jewellers, painters and poets that choose to make this inspirational area their home. Hokitika is also home to the famous Wild Foods Festival, which is held in March each year and attracts visitors from around New Zealand and the world.
Offering New Zealand’s largest range of quality and affordable Pounamu/Jade carvings and sculptures, The carvers at the Jade Factory in Hokitika work exclusively with Pounamu.
THE BUSHMANS CENTRE
Located in the tiny township of Pukekura near Lake Ianthe, this is a really fun place to stop for a driver reviver with a difference! This unique tourist attraction has a cafe that caters for breakfast and lunch, a museum with live possums that you can see and feed, live eels and a wild pig, plus a shop full of interesting and unique souvenirs.
WILD FOOD RESTAURANT
Across the road from The Bushman’s Centre is a unique restaurant and pub that has a fabulous ‘road kill’ menu which includes possum, venison, Thar, Chamois, rabbit, Hare, Whitebait, Mutton Bird, Wallaby and wild pork. Be adventurous and try a Possum Pie!
Welcome to Glacier Country! Franz Josef is most famous for the Franz Josef Glacier that is located a short drive from the township, in the stunning unique World Heritage Area of Westland National Park.
You will enjoy your overnight stay in this friendly, bustling village that offers some great restaurants, cafes and a large range of accommodation from budget to luxury.
It is easy to stroll around the main street, visit the Information Centre, book your glacier hike (or scenic glacier flight) and enjoy all the offerings that Mother Nature has handed out in abundance around this district.
Highly recommended Franz Josef tourist attractions include…
Guided Glacier Walk – Your chance to get up close and personal with a real glacier! Experienced guides offer a variety of walks and hikes onto the glacier, including easy level walks for a few hours to whole day hikes. This is a ‘must do’ when visiting Franz Josef. Don’t forget your camera for some truly exceptional photography opportunities.
Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike – The ultimate glacier experience that combines an exhilarating scenic helicopter flight up the glacier where you and your experienced guide will be dropped off for a 2 hour glacier walk amidst pristine ice caves and magnificent views.
Hukawai Glacier Centre – If the weather doesn’t permit a walk on the glacier enjoy the next best thing! The modern glacier centre has the only indoor ice climbing wall in the Southern Hemisphere! Take a fascinating journey via a stimulating audio-visual exhibit as you learn more about the local flora, fauna, geology, glaciology, history and mythology.
Glacier Country Lake Tours – Enjoy a stunning 90-minute eco-cruise on Lake Mapourika. View native flora, fauna and bird life while enjoying a complimentary hot drink and light snack as you listen to an engaging commentary, pointing out scenic highlights and wildlife.
White Heron Sanctuary Tours – View the magnificent White Heron, the Royal Spoonbill, Little Black Shag and other native bird life in their natural environment.
New Zealand Itineraries: South Island Suggested Itineraries
Our modern self-drive travel Itineraries have routes specifically for the North Island as well as the South Island, ranging from 5 to 11 days, plus there are some travel routes that take in both the North and South Island’s. Our range of travel itineraries include information regarding travel distances and time to ensure that you can make the best of your time in New Zealand, no longer how short your visit!
- 5 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Greymouth, Greymouth – Fox Glacier, Franz Josef – Wanaka, Wanaka – Mt Cook and Mt Cook – Christchurch
- 5 Day Itinerary (route 2): Christchurch – Hanmer Springs, Hanmer Springs – St Arnuad, St Arnuad – Blenheim, Blenheim – Kaikoura and Kaikoura – Christchurch
- 5 Day Itinerary (route 3): Christchurch – Mt Cook, Mt Cook – Queenstown, Queenstown – Dunedin, Dunedin – Oamaru and Oamaru – Christchurch
- 7 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Dunedin, Dunedin – Invercargill, Invercargill – Stewart Island, Stewart Island – Te-anau, Te Anau – Milford Sound, Te Anau – Queenstown and Queenstown – Christchurch
- 8 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Greymouth, Greymouth – Fox Glacier, Fox Glacier – Wanaka, Wanaka – Queenstown, Queenstown – Te Anau, Te Anau – Dunedin and Dunedin – Christchurch
- 9 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Dunedin, Dunedin, Dunedin – Invercragill, Invercargill – Te Anau, Te Anau Milford Sound, Te Anau – Queenstown, Queenstown – Mt Cook, Mt Cook – Lake Tekapo and Lake Tekapo – Christchurch
- 9 Day Itinerary (route 2): Christchurch – Omarama, Omarama – Dunedin, Dunedin, Dunedin – Te Anau, Te Anau – Milford Sound, Te Anau – Queenstown, Queenstown – Haast, Haast – Greymouth and Greymouth – Christchurch
- 9 Day Itinerary (route 3): Christchurch – Hanmer Springs, Hanmer Springs – Greymouth, Greymouth – Nelson, Nelson – Takaka, Takaka – Motueka, Motueka – Nelson, Nelson – Blenheim, Blenheim – Kaikoura and Kaikoura – Christchurch
- 11 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Dunedin, Dunedin – Te Anau, Te Anau – Milford Sound, Milford Sound – Queenstown, Queenstown – Wanaka, Wanaka – Franz Josef, Franz Josef – Greymouth, Greymouth – Nelson, Nelson – Blenheim, Blenheim – Kaikoura and Kaikoura – Christchurch