Queenstown is 217 miles (350 kms) south of Franz Josef, the small town where the Franz Josef Glacier sits. The road between them passes through Mount Aspiring National Park and the Haast Pass, which is generally considered one of the most beautiful road trips in New Zealand (and it has a lot of contenders!) Make sure to check road and weather conditions before heading out, as rain or snow can close the road. Here's how to get from Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier.
Duration: 5+ hours
Many travelers to New Zealand like to hire a car as it gives them the option to visit many out-of-the-way places, and because New Zealand's public transportation is limited. If you haven't been driving all over New Zealand, you can easily pick up a rental car in Queenstown.
The journey between Queenstown and Franz Josef passes through Wanaka, skirts the edge of Mount Aspiring National Park, and along the West Coast through the Haast Pass and Fox Glacier. From Queenstown get on SH 6 and keep going. The Haast Pass, connecting Central Otago with the West Coast can be challenging for experienced, let alone novice, drivers, but it's also one of the most beautiful in the country. While the road is sealed and generally in good condition, there are many sharp, blind corners, so take care. The journey from Queenstown takes about five hours if you go directly, but you'll probably want to stop and admire the view at many places along the way.
Duration: 8 hours
Daily buses leave Queenstown in the morning and arrive in Franz Josef about eight hours later. They mainly follow the same route as above, but may go via Cromwell, near Queenstown, to collect passengers there.