What is there to see between Wanaka and Franz Josef

What is there to see between Wanaka and Franz Josef? 

Are you planning a road trip from Wanaka to Franz Josef or vice versa and want to know what to see along the way? Well, you’re in luck!  

We’ll guide you through some of our top must-see places to stop at while taking a journey between Wanaka and Franz Josef. 

Lake Hawea 

Distance from Wanaka: 16 km 

Distance from Franz Josef: 271.3 km

Address: https://maps.app.goo.gl/MU5LB6chWDymFmBq7?g_st=ic 

Lake Hawea is about 15 minutes north of Wanaka. This picturesque lake can be appreciated from all angles, but we think the best views are from the small hill on the lakeside. 

Lake Hawea attracts all types of visitors, from families enjoying a picnic to adrenaline junkies partaking in water sports.

Pro Tip: 

  • Pack a picnic and enjoy lunch at one of the many picnic spots around the lake.

Blue Pools Track

Distance from Wanaka: 71 km 

Distance from Franz Josef: 213.3 km 

Website: Blue Pools Track

Address: Blue Pools Track, Otago 9382, New Zealand

Hours: Open 24 hours

Just off the Haast Highway, these crystal clear waters and unique rock formations are a must-see. This spot is perfect for an afternoon stroll across the bridge where you can get a bird’s eye view of the Blue Pools Track.

Pro Tip: 

  • If you dare to, you can swim at the Blue Pools Track. However, we must warn you that the water is very cold as it is glacier-fed.

Haast Pass Lookout 

Distance from Wanaka: 80.5 km 

Distance from Franz Josef: 203.7 km 

Address: https://maps.app.goo.gl/aqLQWCbapxsKieHf9?g_st=ic

Hours: Open 24 hours

Haast Pass Lookout offers breathtaking and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The lookout provides a great photo opportunity and a chance to stretch your legs.

Pro Tip: 

  • Bring a pair of binoculars to get a closer look at the surrounding mountains.

Lake Wanaka 

Distance from Wanaka: 18.3 km 

Distance from Franz Josef: 153 km 

Address: https://maps.app.goo.gl/P6FA2APWSN7yjgcdA?g_st=ic

Lake Wanaka is vast and beautiful, and it’s surrounded by mountains. Take a walk around the lake, discover the hidden tracks, then find the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a scenic break. 

Pro Tip: 

  • Depending on how much time you have, we recommend fishing or kayaking at Lake Wanaka as it’s a fun way to make the time pass by! 

The Neck 

Address: https://maps.app.goo.gl/TTz4kLqo7Rb1YA829?g_st=ic

The drive to Franz Josef includes The Neck, a small pass between two lakes at the base of the Southern Alps. The Neck offers stunning views of both Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea, and is an excellent spot for photos. 

Pro Tip: 

  • Visit during sunset to witness the most breathtaking views.

Roaring Billy Falls

Distance from Wanaka: 113.4 km 

Distance from Franz Josef: 170.9 km

Website: Roaring Billy Falls

Address: Mt Aspiring National Park 7886, New Zealand

Hours: Sunday to Monday – 12 AM to 10 PM 

Roaring Billy Falls will take your breath away like it did ours! The waterfall is a sight to behold, but you’ll have to hike for around 15 minutes to reach it. 

We think it’s a plus though that the waterfall’s remote location makes it less crowded and more peaceful.

Pro Tip: 

  • Take insect repellent if you don’t want to be attacked by the sandflies in the area.

Knight’s Point Lookout 

Distance from Wanaka: 167.6 km

Distance from Franz Josef: 116.7 km

Address: 6, Haast 7886, New Zealand

Hours: Open 24 hours

If you’re looking for stunning views and want an excuse to take a break from your travels, Knight’s Lookout is an unbeatable spot. The lookout is accessible by car, but we recommend getting out of your car like we did. 

From Knight’s Lookout you can see Mount Taranaki, the Tasman Sea and outlying islands. On a clear day, you can even see the skyline of New Plymouth! 

Pro Tip: 

  • We recommend bringing something to sit on—you’re going to want to stay for a while and enjoy the incredible views.