new zealand | queenstown to franz-joseph

presse agent Daniel Graham

Last Saturday my son Tristan and I headed out of Queenstown and over the Crown Mountain Range (this road is actually the highest road above sea level in New Zealand). We arrived in Wanaka, and then took Route 6 north and towards the west coast of the South Island. Absolutely amazing views of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea! The most interesting thing about this drive is how the scenery changes. The dusty reds and orange colours of the arid land around Wanaka are a striking contrast to the blue waters of the lakes and sky… Another half hour and we were in full-on rain forest. Usually the weather is foggy with a lot of rain and low lying cloud, which can also be quite beautiful with waterfalls frequently coming into view, but we were lucky to have super fine days on this trip. We then found ourselves driving through Mount Aspiring National Park. Pit stops along the way allow travelers to access the interior via short trails, complete with suspension bridges across some rivers. We stopped at Blue Pools and Thunder Creek Falls. Once through the park, the Tasman Sea comes into view and we really felt like we were at the end of the earth. Huge cliffs make for spectacular scenery. After we passed Haast, we started hitting the beaches which were long and totally deserted. After stopping for a walk and to toss the baseball for a while, we carried on to Fox Glacier. Here we found a small hotel and ate a huge dinner at Cook’s Saddle Saloon. Next morning we hired a guide and rented all the gear (jackets, backpacks and boots with crampons) for a four-hour walk on the glacier. After taking in all the amazing views, we drove about 20 minutes to Franz-Joseph and chilled out in the hot pools. Definitely worth the drive!

Daniel Graham could have been the greatest journalist ever. While he almost followed a career in reporting on the world of Formula 1 racing, he fell into finance instead. After many years in London, he left the UK for New Zealand, and now owns and operates an ice arena with his brother Ted.

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