Driving from Christchurch to Franz Josef, NZ

If you’re exploring the South Island of NZ, you will no doubt want to head to Franz Josef and with any kind of luck, jump on a glacier hike experience. This post will explore the best driving route between Christchurch and Franz Josef and where to stop along the way.

This was Day 1 of our Wild Kiwi Southern Island Voyager tour. Check out or New Zealand page for all of our posts relating to the South Island.

Christchurch to Franz Josef

It is such a beautiful drive and as you drive throughout New Zealand you will appreciate just how picturesque it really is. See below for a map highlighting our specific stops.

2 hours from Christchurch you will find yourself at Castle Hill.

We spent 45 minutes here exploring the area and climbing up on top of the rocks! Do you see me in the photo above, standing on the top of the rock?? It was a heap of fun and a great way to start the journey.

Here is a super short video to show you just how much fun it was!

We drove for a little bit to get to our next stop and the scenery kept impressing us!

Our next stop was for lunch at Hokitika. To get here, you drive through the famous Arthur’s Pass. We decided to get some fish and chips (or fush and chups as the kiwi’s pronounce!).

If you want to pick up some Jade, here is the spot to do so, as recommended by our Wild Kiwi guide! We got to see some locals making some pieces in their workshop.

We even got to pick up some ‘pretty’ hardcore weapons!

Also… if you have a bit of a sweet tooth, stop in at Alice’s Fudge Kitchen for some delicious fudge (just don’t ask for a tasting!!).

Continuing on the journey, If you find that you’re needing 5 minutes to stretch your legs, definitely stop in at Lake Ianthe. It is so relaxed here with the jetty and blue skies!

A couple of hours later we arrived at a very wet and rainy Franz Josef. But we were hopeful for a sunny day on day 2 so we could jump on our much awaited Heli Hike on Franz Josef! Did we get some sunshine? You will have to check out day 2 to see how that ended up!

We ate dinner at Monsoon Bar which was located at our accommodation, Rainforest Retreat.

Driving map from Christchurch to Franz Josef

This was our driving route from Christchurch to Franz Josef.

Franz Josef

Click here for our New Zealand page and to read more about our Wild Kiwi 7 day South Island tour!

“Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.” – Wendell Berry


9 Comments on “Driving from Christchurch to Franz Josef, NZ

  1. Pingback: 7 day New Zealand South Island Tour with Wild Kiwi - thewelltravelledman

  2. Hi!! Great drive! Well be driving the same route in late August, do you have any recommendations regarding road conditions? Thank you!

    • The roads are fantastic! We had a bit of rain during our drive so just be safe and don’t speed! I don’t think you will come across any issues on your trip! Hardly any traffic either which is always nice! Have an amazing time!

    • We plan to drive in September/October. Is my understanding that the roads are clear of snow and ice, usually?

      • Hi Shiv! You will have such an amazing time. We didn’t have any issues in September with snow and ice on the roads. I would suspect you will be fine in any case. When we travelled for skiing a couple of years back in winter, the roads were generally pretty good, but we were only travelling between Queenstown and the ski fields. If you’re hiring a car, the company will recommend chains if they feel it necessary, but being september/october, I do think you will be fine!

  3. Great Information. Will be doing the same route in opposite direction from Queens town to Christchurch by end of Dec. Any recommendation for place to stay.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: