a VirtualTourist member from Auckland
Hi, we will be driving from Queenstown to Greymouth and have been advised to stop along the way at one of the glaciers. Does anyone know which one might be best for an overnight stay?
Hi, we did a half day hike on Fox Glacier which was great - you can find our blog at twillet.com/2009/01/walking-...
We stayed at Frans Joseph at the Chateau Franz Hostel, it's a great little place and we had a really good stay there. We then made the drive to Fox Glacier in the morning - it's about a half and hour by car.
There are also options of places to stay nearer to Fox Glacier but unfortunately I can't give you any recommendations there.
I noticed you planned to head up to Greymouth atfer visiting the glacier. We also made the mistake of stopping here...it's an absolute dump! We have written another blog which you can find here twillet.com/2008/12/avoid-gr...
Anyway, happy travels...
Staying in Franz Joseph will give you more choice of where to stay and where to eat.
Here is a link to accommodations in the area:
If you are going to cross over at Authors Pass I would just stay in Hokitika at the Beachfront Hotel: http://www.beachfronthotel.co.nz/
We left Queenstown around 8:00a.m., stopped at a mining camp across a river and had lunch at a Salmon Farm, reached Fox Glacier around 4 1/2 hours later. Spent a couple of hours there and still reached Hokitika before 5:00 that afternoon.
This drive is rated amount the top 10 in the world by Lonely Planet so you will make may stops to enjoy the magnificent scenery. It is long and very twisty with many ONE lane bridges. One you get to share with a train also, it always has the right of way.
So have a full tank of gasoline, sit back and enjoy the drive !
No great difference between staying at either Fox or Franz Josef. At Fox we stayed at Fox Glacier Holiday Park and at Franz Josef we stayed at Franz Josef Top 10 Holiday Park. Both were quite adequate for our purposes. There's enough places to eat in both villages, though The Alice May Restaurant on the corner of Cowan and Cron Streets, Franz Josef, is probably the pick of the bunch.
However, the benefit of staying at Fox is that you have Lake Matheson just down the road. I also preferred Fox Glacier to Franz Josef, which is a personal observation. Don't stress though - they are only about 25km from each other (about a 20 minute drive)!
Just a warning; if you can fill your gas tank in the Wanaka area before you go over Haast pass (or there may be a town when you hit the West Coast), the gas stations in the Glacier towns are very expensive compared to the rest of South Island. I don't agree with the previous post that Greymouth is a dump! That's a terrible statement. It's just a small industrial/port town. It does have attractions near by. The Monteith brewery is there - a great time if it's raining out! You get to help yourself to free beer tastings at the end of the tour. I did the tour, and afterward met some other travelers from all over, we spent the day drinking by the river - it was a great time.
Do make some stops along Haast Pass! the waterfalls and views are spectacular. In Queenstown, if you have time, climb the hills above the residential areas to get a wonderful look over the Lake, Remarkables, and valleys. Or take head to Arrowtown for a look around, then take the Cardrona road over to Wanaka on the way to the West Coast. Great look out at the top of the hill!
If you go to Arrow town as a side trip while you are in Queenstown on the same outing I would drive to the top of the Cardrona road for the view. To drive the whole road is a twisting, 180 degree bending road. Take Dramamine for that rode.
Thanks very much everyone for all your great travelling advice.