Glacier Country , Haast to Makarora -
From Fox Glacier we are off to Haast (2 1/2 hour drive) where we turn inland and through the Mount Aspiring National Park along the Haast River. Good café at McGuire’s in Haast over the bridge. Also if the weather was no good for a heli-flight at the glaciers ask here to get a flight to them. There is a World Heritage place at Haast you may wish to see. www.discover-new-zealand.co.uk/haast .
(For those with a lot of time take the drive from the turnoff by the Haast bridge out along the ocean to Jackson Bay where the road dead ends. You are welcome to stay the night out there. This is whitebait country with mostly fishermen living out here.)
The drive to Makarora is up and through the Mount Aspiring National Park. Stop at Thunder Falls and just a short drive past the falls stop and see the Gates of Haast before the vertical climb after the bridge toward Haast Pass. Great drive through here being in the middle of the Southern Alps. Consider yourself lucky if it rained as there are dozens of waterfalls cascading from the mountains along this drive. We will stop at the Makarora Wilderness Resort (www.makarora.co.nz ) for the night. (1 1/2 hour drive from Haast). Ask about the glow worm walk. Also a place to get a helicopter ride. Lots of other walks too.
Makarora, Wanaka, Cromwell, Arrowtown
From Makarora route 6 winds along Lake Wanaka and cuts over along Lake Hawea on its way south. After Makaroroa there is a great spot to stop overnight or just to have a look at the Boundary Creek Camp. A DOC camp. Along this road beside the lake to the left the sheer cliffs provide two waterfalls one at Waterfall Creek and the other at Camp Creek. After Lake Hawea you will go by the Albert Town Camp by the Clutha River. It has a wide expanse to stay in but limited facilities. Take a right on route 84 a short few kms into Wanaka and have a look around. Be a good place to stock up at the supermarket. A lot of people like the Puzzling World. www.lakewanaka.co.nz .
After Wanaka back to route 6 and off to Cromwell traveling along Lake Dunstan. You will pass the Warbirds Museum just out of Wanaka. The road continues along now following the Kawarau River an exciting drive through the Kawarau Gorge. I recommend a stop at the Gibbston Valley Winery and Cheese shop after the gorge on the left and then a stop to watch the bungy jumps not too far down the road on the right. This is where the original bungy jump began. Quite a building there now. When I first stopped in 1989 they were operating out of an old hippie bus. Worth it to stop and see and watch the jumpers or do it yourself.
From Wanaka to Arrowtown where we are going is about a 2 hour drive. www.arrowtown.org.nz/ .
Arrowtown is one of our favourite places an old gold mining town with lots of history still maintaining its glory. You will have passed it on your left coming in. We also park behind the town down by the river during the day. No camping at night anymore. You can stay there at the park in town but I recommend to go on to Queenstown and stay at the Queenstown Top Ten – www.camp.co.nz . Right in town in easy walking distance to the downtown area. Be sure to book ahead as they are always busy.
Arrowtown, Queenstown, Glenorchy -
Take the back road via Arthur’s Point for the best visual route to Queenstown. If you are lucky you can find a parking spot and have a walk around. Great place but very busy!
Again the place to stay in Queenstown is at the Queenstown Top Ten (www.camp.co.nz) Qualmark 5 star plus the world’s first Green Globe 21 Environmentally Certified Park. Now with a gold rating. An easy walk into town.
After your fill of Queenstown now we go out the Glenorchy road along Lake Wakitiputo Glenorchy one of our favourite drives for scenery. About 1 1/2 hours drive I think or less. After Glenorchy you return on the same road. On the way out after you leave Queenstown keep your eyes peeled on the right for the turn-off to Moke Lake. This is where you can come back to and spend the night. It is a DoC camp ($6pp a night - no facilities except toilets). You drive the road on past the first lake and park wherever you want around Moke Lake. I guarantee you it won’t be crowded and only locals if any.
I won a photo award with a photo of Moke Lake! You also can camp at the 12 mile delta on the left going out to Glenorchy, another DOC camp if you got a self-contained unit.
Lots to do around Queenstown as this is the adrenalin capital of the world.
Have a look at these sires for more information –