Westport to Nelson?

Old Mar 11th, 2007, 03:22 AM
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Westport to Nelson?

Is the drive from Wesport to Nelson via Murchison very scenic or just a drive?

My friend and I are trying to decide whether to drive from Franz Josef to Picton via Westport/Nelson or Christchurch/Kaikoura (we will spend time in Arthur's Pass either way).

Our principle interest is in photography rather than adventuring, hiking or whale watching. We are looking for the most scenic route.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 12:43 PM
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We drove the other direction from Picton to Westport and loved the drive.
I wasn't sure which section of it we loved, and so just took out my journal. We stopped for lunch at Murchison at River Cafe on Fairfax St and had a great lunch. Then carried on along Highway 6 and have noted that the drive was 'stunning' through the Buller River Gorge. We carried on to Westport and had really enjoyed our day. I notice that not alot of people talk about this part of the country, but it really is a beautiful drive.

The coast along Kaikoura is also beautiful, but I'm sure you will see a lot of the coast. The Buller Gorge is something different.
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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 01:42 PM
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Thanks, kodi. Yours is the first 'eye witness' account I have had of this route so it is extremely valuable. I was beginning to wonder if I had made a serious mistake in thinking of going that way instead of the more popular Kaikoura route. Buller Gorge and the Punakaiki pancake rocks might just swing it for me.
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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 02:27 PM
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I'm glad I could help. Yes, the Buller Gorge was really beautiful. And the Pancake Rocks are definately worth the time. Westport itself is a sleepy town, but the timing was right for us to stay there.
Are you planning to drive from Franz Josef to Nelson in one day? We took 2 days to get from Picton to Franz Josef.
The first day we got to Westport, and the second day to Fanz Josef.
But we did stop along the way. We stopped at Cape Foulwind , south of Westport , to see the seals, then we stopped at Pancake Rocks, then at the town of Hokitika to do some shopping. I've noted in my journal that we got to Franz Josef at 4 PM.

Oh what beautiful memories I have!!
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Old Mar 12th, 2007, 11:50 AM
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kodi, we are planning on overnighting at Hokitika, Westport and Picton. Between Hokitika and Westport we will take a detour into Arthur's Pass as far as Castle Hill to see the rock formations, returning via the Arthur's Pass - Greymouth road. Should be a great day
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Old Mar 12th, 2007, 05:23 PM
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Sounds great! I was afraid you were trying to do it in one day.
Good luck with your planning, and have a wonderful trip.
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 08:27 PM
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Call me a fool..yes, due to time constraints we are driving from Abel Tasman to Franz Josef in one day. Will it be a killer? How long will it take? It really is too late to change plans so perhaps it's best just to tell me it will work out!! I guess we'll just be zapped?
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 11:36 PM
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Yelpir -

The following link will help you determine drive times and distances:

http://www.accommodationz.co.nz/distances2.html

Abel Tasman isn't listed, but the drive from Nelson (which isn't terribly far from Abel Tasman) is listed at 469 km - about 6 hours without stops.
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 11:37 PM
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Oops, sorry that response was meant for gtnz07.
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Old Mar 26th, 2007, 11:29 PM
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We drove from Te Anau to Nelson over 2 days at Christmas, stopping in Franz Josef - really nice little town even in the pouring rain. The drive was about 7 hours each day, without stops. Its a very long haul. I would suggest stopping somewhere in between - probably Westport. The drive through the Buller Gorge is really nice, and the Punakaiki Rocks are beautiful too. I think going through Christchurch would be a let down. The road between Christchurch and Blenhiem is not very exciting compared with the West Coast.
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