Driving to the West Coast, Punakaiki and Birds Ferry Lodge,

Of course, is a pleasure! There’s lots of scenic views and interesting spots to stop at.

In this series, we look at:

1 Driving from Franz Josef Glacier (and Fox) to the West Coast and Birds Ferry Lodge

2 Driving from Christchurch to the West Coast and Birds Ferry Lodge via Arthur’s Pass

3 Driving from Abel Tasman to the West Coast and Birds Ferry Lodge1 Driving from Franz Josef

Nelson to the West Coast and Birds Ferry Lodge

Picton to the West Coast and Birds Ferry Lodge

6Blenheim to the West Coast and Birds Ferry Lodge

We also mention the locations of zero cellphone coverage in case this is important to you! You can view a map of West Coast cellphone coverage here

 1 Franz Josef Glacier or Fox Glacier to Birds Ferry Lodge

Allow 4-4.5 hours driving time +stops 4.5-5 hours from Fox

After you leave Franz there is minimal cellphone coverage till you get to Hokitika.

From Franz Josef Glacier township take Highway 6 North

from glaciers

  • Okarito – Turn left off highway and travel 13KM to spend a little time exploring this beautiful coastal lagoon. Home of the only White Heron breeding colony in New Zealand
  • HarihAri – we hear of an exciting new eatery/cafe here – more details to follow – The Gatherer Cafe
  • www.treetopsnz.com Follow the signs as you approach hokitika & enjoy a leisurely 45 minute to one hour stroll through the beautiful West Coast rainforest tree tops.
  • Hokitika –  Food, Coffee, Fuel and a wide selection of quality craft shops. Home of New Zealand Green Stone (Jade).
  • Hokitika Gorge  This is 30 minutes drive inland from Hokitika so you will need to allow extra time BUT IT ABSOLUTELY WORTH THE TRIP!The gorge is stunningly beautiful and there is a swimming hole for hot days! Coffee kiosk, snacks and toilet.
  • Teramakau Bridge is an unusual bridge that you cross between Hokitika and Greymouth. It is a single lane bridge that also has a railwayline on it!!! Sounds scary but basically you give way to trains and traffic already on the bridge – stop at the giveway sign and look onto bridge. If bridge clear of cars and trains then you may proceed with care.By the way the trains will be moving slowly.
  • Greymouth – refuel  if less than half a tank. Good food at Monteith’s Brewery. Once you leave Greymouth there is little reliable cellphone coverage till Punakaiki and again in Charleston. Shades of Jade 22 Tainui Street is worth a look if you didn’t find Jade in Hokitika. www.shadesofjade.co.nz
  • Barrytown – NEW November 2018 – we have just read on social media that the Barrytown Pub is being renovated and will open December 2018 as a Cafe and will offer evening meals.
  • Punakaiki – Stop and view the Pancake Rocks, Food, Toilets Coffee and good quality local Craft also available here.Best visited at , or close to high tides. tide timetable
  • Truman Track – a short drive after Punakaiki,look for signs and carpark on right,  Be sure to go as far as the beach if you can and look for the waterfall.
  • Fox River Historic Bridge and Beach access – stop in car park on left. Also sea caves to explore on the South side of the road bridge. Ask us to email a map to you.During summer there is a weekly market at Fox River – well worth a stop, coffee, food, craft https://www.facebook.com/groups/foxriversummermarkets/
  • Charleston – Turn left and explore Constance Bay, (toilet) short loop walk 15min – very spectacular views.Big Waves and cliffs.
  • Beach Road – Soon after Charleston turn left off highway at Nile River Bridge and follow this scenic back road which will bring you back to the highway a little further on.
  • Next Stop Birds Ferry Road- On your left 

 

2 Christchurch to Birds Ferry Lodge via Arthur’s Pass

  • Allow four hours + stopschch via arthurs
  • Christchurch Take Highway 73. Once you leave Springfield there is no cellphone coverage till Arthurs Pass then none again till Kumara Junction
  • Castle Hill The hill was so named because of the imposing array of limestone boulders in the area reminiscent of an old, run-down stone castle. Very photogenic.
  • Arthurs Pass Village Food, coffee, toilets at the train station, fuel. DOC visitor center, numerous walks. Here you will likely see Keas especially if you stop at “Deaths Corner”. There are few food/coffee opportunities from now till Punakaiki unless you drive via Kumara (read on)
  • Then you have two options:
  • Option One: Lake Brunner After Arthurs pass you will see a sign for Lake Brunner on the right – this route is very scenic and misses out Kumara and Greymouth and there is a lakeside cafe at Moana.(Toilets,  food, coffee)
  • Option Two:  Kumara Junction In Kumara township the Theatre Royal Hotel is a good food/coffee/toilet stop. (Public toilets by the sports field on right) Opposite is a woodturners studio.Then proceed and turn right for Greymouth.
  • and now follow the directions higher up the page for the remainder of your journey to Birds Ferry Lodge

3 Abel Tasman to Birds Ferry Lodgeabel tasman

  • Allow 4 hours driving time plus stops
  • Take Sandy Bay-Marahau Road and highway 60 to
  • Motueka Refuel if less than half a tank. Food shops,toilets banks etc. If you are self catering in our cottage you should get your supplies here to save you going into Westport.
  • Follow Motueka Valley Highway till it joins SHW6 then follow SHW6 for Westport.
  • Murchison township – Fuel, Food and coffee. Couple of interesting bric-a brac stores. Once you leave Murchison there is no reliable cellphone coverage till you exit the Buller Gorge and reach the West Coast
  • Swing Bridge over the spectacular Buller River. Worth a stop, lots of gold mining history here – watch for sandflies and close your doors and windows.Toilets. Soon after you will drive to Lyall rest area where you turn right into the car park. Historic old settlement.150+ year old graveyard! Take a walk to the very old cemetery in the Forest!(15 minutes one way, access behind toilets)
  • Further down the Buller Gorge you approach Killkenny Lookout. Pull over to the layby on the right for a photo opportunity.Ahead of you the road is Hawks Crag, the road single lane – you need to look ahead to see if the road is clear and observe the giveway signeage. If you are Nelson bound then you have right of way BUT only if another vehicle is not already on the section of single lane road.If you are heading to us you must giveway.
  • After this you come to Fern Arch – another section of single lane road but this time there are traffic lights. So just observe the lights and proceed accordingly, slowly and you will be fine!
  • Tauranga Bay Seal Colony Visit today if you have time & if you are heading South when you leave us to avoid back tracking. Westport township, fuel available here, shops, banks, postoffice etc. PS On SHW6 south there is no fuel for another 80KM! Next Stop Birds Ferry Lodge.

4 Nelson to Birds Ferry Lodge

  • Take SHW 6 Allow three hours driving time plus stopsfrom nelsonHope Saddle Fantastic viewpoint of mountains. Toilets.Once you leave Hope Saddle there is no reliable cellphone coverage till you reach Murchison.
    Then take a small  detour to St Arnaud & Nelson Lakes. (Toilets,Fuel,  food, coffee). Clinkers Cafe has good food and coffee – look for the sign on the pavement where you turn off to the right)
  • Lake Rotowiti -Is worth the visit and a walk along the East shore is a birdwatchers paradise due to DOC predator trapping.
  • Murchison township
  • After Murchison follow the instructions above on this page

 

  • GPS coordinates:
  • Birds Ferry Road 41degrees 52’01.10’S, 171degrees30’23.75E

5 Picton to Birds Ferry Lodgepicton

  • Take SH1 to Blenheim Allow 4.5 hours plus stops
  • Blenheim and surrounds – you are spoiled for choice here – wineries as far as the eye can see and some great lunch options. Alan Scott and Wither Hills are our favorites.
  • From  Blenheim take SHW6 marked for Westport.Once you leave Blenheim you will soon loose cellphone coverage till you reach Murchison.
  • Now follow the directions from Nelson further up this page.

6 Blenheim to Birds Ferry Lodge

  • From Blenheim take SHW 63
  • St Arnaud & Nelson Lakes. (Toilets, Fuel,  food, coffee). Clinkers Cafe has good food and coffee – look for the sign on the pavement where you turn off to the right). Museum next door to cafe.
  • Lake Rotowiti -Is worth the visit and a walk along the East shore is a birdwatchers paradise due to DOC predator trapping.
  • Murchison township – Fuel, Food and coffee. Couple of interesting bric-a brac stores. Once you leave Murchison there is no reliable cellphone coverage till you exit the Buller Gorge and reach the West Coast
  • Swing Bridge over the spectacular Buller River. Worth a stop, lots of gold mining history here – watch for sandflies and close your doors and windows.Toilets. Soon after you will drive to Lyall rest area where you turn right into the car park. Historic old settlement.150+ year old graveyard! Take a walk to the very old cemetery in the Forest!(15 minutes one way, access behind toilets)
  • Further down the Buller Gorge you approach Killkenny Lookout. Pull over to the layby on the right for a photo opportunity.Ahead of you the road is Hawks Crag, the road becomes single lane for a short distance – you need to look ahead to see if the road is clear and observe the giveway signeage. If you are Nelson bound then you have right of way BUT only if another vehicle is not already on the section of single lane road.If you are heading to us you must giveway.
  • After this you come to Fern Arch – another section of single lane road but this time there are traffic lights. So just observe the lights and proceed accordingly, slowly and you will be fine!
  • Tauranga Bay Seal Colony- Visit today if you have time & if you are heading South when you leave us to avoid back tracking. Westport township, fuel available here, shops, banks, postoffice etc. PS On SHW6 south there is no fuel for another 80KM! Next Stop Birds Ferry Lodge

Just in case you are reading this and you have not yet booked with us you can find out more and make a booking  here www.birdsferrylodge.co.nz


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