Wanaka, Haast Pass and Glaciers, New Zealand

lake hawea with mountains in the background in new zealand

Wanaka, Haast Pass and Glaciers, New Zealand

Hello everyone and welcome back to my blog. Todays post is all about our journey from Queenstown via Wanaka, through the Haast Pass and up to Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier.


The journey from Queenstown to Wanaka was extremely scenic, we actually got stuck in the middle of a marathon! For some reason on our travels we hit 3 separate marathons. 1 in Melbourne, 1 in Auckland and the 1 in Queenstown. It must have been marathon season or something?

We drove highway 6 which you climb mountains and get beautiful views. There are many places to stop which I highly recommend doing. One spot is worth stopping for is is Lake Hawea lookout pictured above. We stayed one night in Wanaka and while we were there we climbed Rocky Mountain which was like climbing up a waterfall! If you haven’t gathered from my other posts the South island can get very wet! It did make it however, all the more interesting and challenging.

Haast Pass

The next day we carried on motorway 6 which is also know as the Haast Pass. This section of the road felt like driving through Jurassic Park. There are many places to stop off along the Haast Pass including Thunder Creek falls picture opposite and Blue Pools. If you see a DOC sign just stop off and take a quick look. There are a lot of waterfalls along the road some of which were actually tumbling onto the road.

thunder creek fall in haast pass in new zealand
lake matheson in new zealand
cows standing next to tree with mountains in the background at lake matheson in new zealand

Fox Glacier

The roads on the way to Fox Glacier are very windy, steep and at times challenging. So please make sure that you do take your time. We stayed the night at a top ten campsite near Fox Glacier and ventured out the next day to the glacier. It takes quite a while to get to the glacier now as the river unfortunately washed the road away. Therefore, you now have to walk it which takes about an hour there and an hour back. You can’t get too close to the glacier either and so you shouldn’t. Glaciers are very dangerous and many stupid tourists have lost their lives in doing so. 

Lake Matheson

We then went to Lake Matheson which is famous for its black water which reflects the beautiful mountains if you have a perfectly still day. Unfortunately for us it wasn’t but it was still beautiful, pictured above.

Franz Josef Glacier

The next day we then travelled to Franz Josef Glacier which you can get a lot closer to than Fox Glacier. Again the walk was about an hour round trip and was well worth it. I would say if you were short on time and were to do only one glacier then do Franz Josef over Fox.

Other posts

If you haven’t already please check out my other posts on: Queenstown and Glenorchy, Doubtful Sound, Moeraki Boulders and Nugget Point, Mount Sunday, Lake Tekapo and Mount Cook, Kaikoura, Wellington, Cape Palliser, Tongarriro, Craters of the Moon, Rotorua, Hobbiton, Piha, Coromandel, Waitomo Caves and Auckland.

Lots of love, Melissa x

Video credit – Sam Gill

franz josef glacier in new zealand

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