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Drive from Fox Glacier to Christchurch. A local's tips to driving along the West Coast, through Arthurs Pass to finish in Christchurch.
Fox Glacier to Franz Josef
26 mins, 23.3 km
Fox Glacier to Franz Josef - The half an hour drive to Franz Josef is over the Fox hills. This is quite a windy piece of road going through native bush towards Franz Josef.
Franz Josef Glacier - The turn off to the Franz Josef Glacier is just before you come into the town ship. There are many different ways and routes to view the glacier. If you continue to the carpark at the end of the road leading to the Glacier there are route maps and details.
Franz Josef to Hokitika
1 hour 4 mins, 85.8 km
Franz Josef to Hokitika, then to Greymouth and then to Otira
Then head to Kumara Junction, 15 minutes drive from Greymouth. This is the main route through Arthurs Pass towards Christchurch.
After coming through Jacksons you come to the Otira Gorge. The gorge is where the road comes over the Otira River. The Otira Gorge has a large bridge. The planning to redevelop the bridge started in 1987, with construction starting in 1997. The bridge is built to withstand earthquakes, up to 40 times more powerful than most structures are built to.
Otira to Christchurch
2 hours 20 mins, 163 km
Arthurs Pass Village - Arthurs Pass village is nestled in the middle of a deep valley. The winter is pretty harsh on this small settlement with July temperatures getting down to -2 degree Celsius. Located in the town is a petrol station, cafes and a police station. The pass was named after Arthur Dudley Dobson who was the first European person to cross the pass in 1864.
Flock Hill - Flock Hill Station is still a functioning farm based all around the area, there is a cafe and accommodation here.
Cave Stream - If you need to stretch your legs Cave Stream is a great place to do it. There are limestone boulders scattered around this area. At the Cave Stream reserve there is a cave, if you are experienced it is a great short trip around the cave. If you are unsure or have any doubts just look into the cave from the start and don’t enter it.
Castle Hill Scenic Reserve - A great destination for rock climbers wanting something different, like climbing on and over limestone boulders. There are now public toilets here.
Porters Pass - At the height of 945m this is the last pass on the way into the Canterbury Plains. Lake Lyndon is in this area. During the winter months this lake can totally freeze over. If you are going to walk on the frozen lake be very careful.