Tranzalpine Christchurch to Greymouth.

Old Oct 1, 06, 8:01 pm
  #16  
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Originally Posted by number_6
The roads are fine (and very little traffic), also very little gear shifting with most manuals -- but I know what you mean about shifting gears with the left hand. Renting a car in Greymouth is worthwhile only if you take the southern route back to CHC (ie. via the glaciers, Te Anau, Milford Sournd -- the single most spectacular drive and destination in NZ -- Queenstown/Arrowtown, Dunedin), which is a 3-4 day trip (well worth the time, some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, unlike Arthur Pass which is nice but merely average).

Five years ago we spent three nights in Queenstown, with a day trip to Milford sound including the flight back. My wife and I are doing g a 14 day cruise from Sydney with stops all along the NZ coast. We will have cruising through Milford, Dusky and Doughtful sounds. We wind up in Auckland. I really liked Christchurch the last time we were in NZ. Only had one night then. So the choice is to make it a base with a four night stay.
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Old Oct 2, 06, 1:19 pm
  #17  
 
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Red face

I did the Greymouth-Christchurch trip back in 1998, and perhaps I'm just jaded, but I didn't think the scenery was all that spectacular. Frankly, if I had to do it again, I wouldn't bother (and yes, Greymouth was dull too).
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Old Oct 2, 06, 3:06 pm
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Did the run last March & have to agree with most of the posters. The short 1 hr stay in Greymouth barely gave us enough time to walk down the street and get lunch. The scenery was nice, but didn't compare with some drives in the Queenstown area. If you do take the Tranz, make sure to stretch your legs in the open-air car & get some photographs.
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Old Oct 11, 06, 3:10 pm
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How far from Greymouth to Franz Josef?

I'm interested in taking the train ride for the scenery, but I'm not sure that we want to turn around and come back same day. If Greymouth itself isn't worthy of a day, what worthwhile day trips from Greymouth are there that would allow us to train back to Christchurch the next afternoon? We plan to head to Kaikoura afterward.

If we were to take the train from Christchurch to Greymouth in the morning, would there be enough time to visit Franz Josef and take the train back from Greymouth the next aftenoon? Any other thoughts or recommendations?

Thanks.
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Old Oct 11, 06, 5:08 pm
  #20  
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The glaciers are about a 90 minute drive south from Greymouth, so this is very doable, however it leaves almost no daylight time at the glaciers (certainly no time to take most of the glacier tours, though you'll have to work out the timings). One of my best tourism experiences was the glacier walk at Fox (complete with crampons and ice-pick, and steps cut into the ice by the guides; almost a climb, but not quite, and well worth the effort).

While Greymouth is a sleepy old town, it is somewhat charming, and when the weather is good (2 or 3 days a year) it can be quite nice. The jade stores all have "museums" which are actually quite interesting, if you like rock. I spent a night in Greymouth and rather enjoyed it.
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Old Oct 11, 06, 10:06 pm
  #21  
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The glaciers are much more than 90 minutes south of Greymouth. While Franz Josef (township not the glacier itself) is only 177km from Greymouth and Fox 200km, the road has lengthy windy and hilly stretches, and is only 1 lane each way (so if you get stuck behind a bus or caravan it could be slow going). 2-3 hours would be a more reasonable estimate, more if you want to stop off at the beautiful lakes along the way or check out the greenstone shops in Hokitika.

BTW the automobile association has maps and driving times (link on left hand side of this page).
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Old Oct 12, 06, 9:58 am
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Kiwi Flyer
The glaciers are much more than 90 minutes south of Greymouth. While Franz Josef (township not the glacier itself) is only 177km from Greymouth and Fox 200km, the road has lengthy windy and hilly stretches, and is only 1 lane each way...
Well, my notes say I drove it in 90 minutes; but I do agree that it is a very scenic road so worth spending more time on (I was trying to get to Fox before dark as I didn't have room reservations -- very high risk given the paucity of accomodations within 100 km of Fox). When I was there it seemed like there were about 20 cars per hour on that road ... quite deserted. And while the road is hilly and twisty, it is also quite good and can be driven at speed (unlike the road between Queenstown and Dunedin which cannot be driven at speed due to police enforcement).
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Old Oct 12, 06, 3:08 pm
  #23  
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That is a good point about accommodation risk. West coast in summer is one of the few places in NZ I'd strongly recommend having bookings for. I know lots of people who've gotten stuck and ended up either driving all night, or sleeping in their car.
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Old Oct 14, 06, 5:36 am
  #24  
 
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Greymouth to Franz Josef

Thanks for the responses and for the helpful link to the map with driving times--just what I needed!
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Old Oct 15, 06, 12:34 am
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Next week. i'll be driving Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown, Fox Glacier and dropping the car at Greymouth before getting the train back. I will post details in my trip report which is currently up and running
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Old Oct 15, 06, 7:08 am
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Gatwick Alan
Next week. i'll be driving Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown, Fox Glacier and dropping the car at Greymouth before getting the train back. I will post details in my trip report which is currently up and running
Anyone know what the weather will/might be going over the alpine passes mid/late October ?
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Old Oct 15, 06, 7:33 am
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Gatwick Alan
Next week. i'll be driving Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown, Fox Glacier and dropping the car at Greymouth before getting the train back. I will post details in my trip report which is currently up and running
Be sure to visit Arrowtown (about 30 miles from Queenstown and well worth the trip). Hopefully you also get to visit Te Anau and Milford Sound (one of the great drives in the world!). Some really fabulous sites on the way to Milford Sound, and with a car you can stop and see them at will. It would be a very big shame to miss them! And the guided glacier walk is a must, I was very skeptical about this but it really is great and well worth the price.
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Old Oct 15, 06, 7:58 pm
  #28  
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Tranzalpine

Am taking the Tranzalpine to Greymouth, staying over one night and then the bus to Nelson and then fly back to AKL from there. I think Greymouth would be a nice place just to sit and relax overnight.
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Old Oct 16, 06, 11:45 am
  #29  
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Originally Posted by im-headed-west
Anyone know what the weather will/might be going over the alpine passes mid/late October ?
Should be okay without chains, unless you are unlucky with the weather (like yesterday). Weather is changeable in NZ, especially in the mountains so be sure to check the weather forecast before you drive through the passes.

www.metservice.co.nz
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