The road between Hokitika and Greymouth provides great views of the wild west coast. Detour to the beach and breathe the salt spray air. Driftwood is the ornamentation of choice for west coast beaches – every shape, size and colour. Shantytown, just south of Greymouth, is a reconstructed 1880s gold rush town – great family entertainment. Hokitika was first settled in 1860, after the discovery of gold on the west coast. It still has the feel of a ‘frontier town’, and there are some lovely old buildings to admire. Greenstone (NZ jade) is the town’s treasure these days – you can see it being polished and sculpted. You might also want to pan for gold, investigate the museum and do the historical walk. First explored in 1865, the Franz Josef Glacier has been moving forward at a rate of about 1 metre a day since 1985. Previously it was in retreat. Franz Josef township has a good range of accommodation and eating establishments.
The Fox Glacier 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). After a short drive south, you’ll arrive at Fox Glacier. The glacier’s terminal face is just 5 kilometres (3.1 Miles) 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.
Approximate Distance: 241 kms | 150 miles Total Driving Time: 3 hours
Accommodation Fox Glacier - 1 night