Christchurch to Franz Josef
Allow five hours for the journey by road with some extra time for stops along the way.
Follow SH 73 from Christchurch through to Kumara Junction, turn left at Kumara Junction and follow SH 6 through to Franz Josef Glacier.
The drive is very picturesque, a great opportunity to experience some of the most impressive landscapes in the region. Castle Hill is two hours from Christchurch and is worth a stop to explore the incredible ancient limestone rock formations that can be seen from the road.
Arthurs' Pass village is a good place for a coffee and snack break. Hokitika on the West Coast has a range of eateries, shops and activities available.
Queenstown to Franz Josef
This is one of New Zealand's iconic road trip routes, taking approximately five hours by road plus breaks. Follow SH 6 from Queenstown, through Wanaka and Hawea to Haast all the way up to Franz Josef - you will be rewarded with some incredible scenery along the way.
The lakes at both Wanaka and Hawea are excellent stops for photo opportunities with a number of excellent short walks, including the Blue Pools just past Makarora, Thunder Creek Falls and Roaring Billy Falls.
Greymouth to Franz Josef
This is a reasonably quick and very easy route along SH 6 taking just two and a half hours by road. Hokitika is a good option for lunch or coffee while the small former gold mining town of Ross provides an excellent chance to try your hand at gold panning.
The closest international airports are in Christchurch and Queenstown, which are both approximately a five-hour drive from Franz Josef.
If you are flying domestically within New Zealand, Air New Zealand offers services to Christchurch, Queenstown, and Auckland. The closest domestic airport is in Hokitika, approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes drive from Franz Josef. Air New Zealand is the only commercial carrier operating flights in and out of this airport.
For those not wanting to drive, there are public bus options available. Intercity Buses run a few buses to and from Franz Josef. For more information, visit Intercity's website.
Weather & Climate
The changeable weather that shapes our dramatic landscape on the West Coast can also impact our ability to operate. It's best to allow some time and flexibility when planning a trip to the region to ensure that you get the most out of your experience and have the best possible chance to enjoy our glacier.
We will not compromise the safety of our guests or staff in any circumstance. If the weather conditions create an unsafe environment to operate a trip, we will cancel it. All trips cancelled due to weather will be refunded or you may re-schedule to a later date.
For more information on the climate, we recommend visiting MetService.
We recommend visiting the following websites to help with your planning: