Western glaciers from Mt Cook side of Southern Alps
Replies: 4 - Last Post: Jan 8, 2013 2:03 AM Last Post By: pfenwick
Jan 7, 2013 5:04 AM
Western glaciers from Mt Cook side of Southern AlpsHi there,
My girlfiend and I are heading to NZ for a 4 week road trip from mid-Feb, starting in Queenstown. As we need to be in Nelson for 9th March for a wedding, we plan to travel anti-clockwise by car in the South Island for 2 weeks to Nelson. We will spend a week there and then over to the North Island for a quick highlight trip (4-5 days) en route to Auckland before flying home.
We would like to do a heli hike to either Franz Joseph or Fox glacier, but want to avoid the 10 hour round trip from Queenstown due to the direction of our travel plans.
In fact, we aim to be in the Mt Cook region on our second week and are currently looking into options where we can fly over to Franz Joseph or Fox glacier from that side for heli hike activities. All we can find so far are "Grand Tour" plane options with short landings on the Tasman glacier or heli-hike to Tasman without being able to see Franz Joseph or Fox.
We would welcome recommendations or advice on options from Tekapo/Twizel area of close by.
For last week will be in the North Island, we aim to leave Wellington on Tuesday 12th March and arrive in Auckland on the Friday 15th as we fly back to the UK the following afternoon. Basic plan for North Island by car is as follows;
Tues - Wellington to Taupo (overnight)
Wed - Taupo to Coromandel (overnight)
Thur - Coromandel (overnight)
Fri - Coromandel to Auckland (overnight)
Sat - Home
Having been to lovely Taupo before (not my girlfriend) and not to Coromandel, would we be better off with two nights in Taupo to take in the lake and thermal stuff, then quick visit to Rotarua on the way to Coromandel for one night? OR should we do one might in Taupo, then quick visit to Rotarua on the way to Coromandel for two nights?
In either case, where is best to stay on to Coromandel penisula to best experience it, but to reduce the driving time to the area and also over to Auckland?
Jan 7, 2013 1:38 PM
1Sorry, I haven't heard of you being able to do heli-hikes of the Franz or Fox from the the Mt Cook region. Not sure if this is because of it being a bloody big mountain range for helicopters to get across or because of various access agreements for the helicopter companies. I'm curious as to why you're not seeing any of the West Coast?
With your current itinerary you'll have an afternoon or a morning to spend in Taupo. It really depends on what you want to do/see while you're there but I would have thought more time would have been better.
The Coromandel is a lovely drive - the roads are windy so take your time. If you enjoy a good drive and are happy to spend most of your time getting in and out of the car, I'd suggest head for Whangmata for lunch and a swim then carry on up and stay somewhere near Whitianga. Spend the next day kicking around that area - be sure to see Cathedral Cove. The following day spend a leisurely day driving through Coromandel township and back down the other side to Thames. You can then follow the main highways back to Auckland or head through Miranda and stop at the hot pools.
If you'd rather chill out, spend all your time on the Coromandel in and around Whangamata. I havent' driven the Kopu-Hikuwai Rd (SH 25a) in a long time so check with locals first whether this road or going back through Paeroa is quicker.
Jan 7, 2013 5:52 PM
2I believe restrictions on helicopter landings prevent tour companies crossing the mountain. There are only a certain number of spots per day, and these are already taken by the local tour companies. I lived the West Coast glaciers, but it maybe best to restrict your glacier viewing to the east coast on this schedule.
I was underwhelmed by Taupo. It's a great big lake, and not much else. Rotorua, while very touristy and a bit tacky, offers a lot more. Midway between Taupo and Rotorua are some of the major thermal parks like Wai o tapu. Might be better going straigh to Rotorua.
Coromandel the town is at the end of a peninsula with very slow winding roads. It's nice, but the better scenery in this area is at Hahei and Cathedral Cove which also avoids the worst of the roads. I would head for Whitianga - Hahei, Cathedral Cove and Hot water Beach are all just south of there. If you wish you could then loop back round Coromandel, but beware the road to Auckland down the western edge of the Penininsual is very narrow, winding and slow and you be better coming straight back across the peninsula
Jan 8, 2013 1:46 AM
Jan 8, 2013 2:03 AM
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