Heading North from Franz Josef

Takes you through a wealth of scenic and geological experiences. You will pass through several small townships all having significant historical and geological features and providing various levels of hospitality to travelers. There are several coastal and scenic bush walks en route and for those keen on sea, river or lake fishing, there are plenty of opportunities to get the rod out. Those keen on a relaxing swim can also find the ideal spot.


Approximately 20 – 30 minutes from Franz Josef is a proud rural farming community. Whataroa is also home to the exquisite and graceful White Heron. For those who play golf, Whataroa is home to our only golf course in the area.

Hari Hari

Approximately 40 – 50 minutes from Franz Josef, a good spot to relax after the trek over Mount Hercules or to contemplate the trek south over Mount Hercules. Hari Hari is another rural farming community renowned for its hunting and fishing and breathtaking coastal walk and other long and short DOC walking tracks. The township is steeped in the history of the early pioneers. There are a number of vantage points for panoramic views of the glacial coastal valley.

Lake Ianthe

Lake Ianthe is sanctuary to an array of New Zealand birds and is a great spot for a cool dip on a hot West Coast day or to take the flask out and have a picnic tea. Enjoy the reflective images mirrored upon the lake. Or drop the line in to catch a brown trout for supper.


The gold mining town of Ross offers visitors the opportunity to learn the art of gold panning; it is rumored that the town sits on top of a highly sought-after gold stream. Evidence of the town’s gold mining history is abundant and several well-curated walking tracks are available. Ross is also known for its annual Themed Fireworks Display attracting people coast-wide.


1.5 hours from Franz Josef. Hokitika is Jade Country, home to the Wild Food Festival, and the annual Driftwood Art competition. Hokitika offers the chance to purchase world-class carved Jade stone, and you can watch the stone being carved from your own design. Hokitika also has many walking tracks and during the whitebait season, the white baiters populate the river mouth to catch the delicacy of the West Coast.

Hokitika is also the start of the famous coast-to-coast race, recognized as a world class challenge to sportsmen and women alike annually. Hokitika is also known as the gateway to the glacial region. There are flights into Hokitika from Christchurch.