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New Zealand Trade Manual has been designed with travel industry professionals in mind.
  • Selling New Zealand provides you with handy sales tools, quick facts and latest news from the New Zealand travel industry.
  • Travel Planner makes planning New Zealand travel easy. Find itineraries, information on accommodation/transport and more.
  • About New Zealand has everything on New Zealand culture, nature, lifestyle, activities and events that make New Zealand a unique destination.

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Image: Tourism West Coast

Incredible lush green rainforest is a feature of an unforgettable land where blue-white glaciers, dense rainforest, moody rivers and quaint towns are bounded by forest-clad mountains and pounding surf.

Journey into New Zealand’s pioneer heartland; the West Coast is a rugged region boasting an astonishing variety of landscapes, rich human history and abundant wildlife. Sandwiched between the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea, this region is home to five national parks protecting New Zealand’s highest mountains, longest caves and, most famously, its lowest glaciers. Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, nestled amongst rainforest, are a truly unforgettable sight.

Download the West Coast section from New Zealand Trade Manual 2013

West Coast (from New Zealand Trade Manual 2013) (1089)


Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers The world’s most accessible temperate-zone glaciers cascade from high in the Southern Alps to just 250 metres above sea level: blue-white rivers of ice nestled in valleys lined with rainforest. Pancake Rocks Amazing coastal rock formations at Punakaiki; the blowholes of the Pancake Rocks put on a stunning show in rough surf. Coastal scenery The journey 50 kilometres along the coast from Haast to Jacksons Bay, an isolated fishing village, has been rated in the Lonely Planet Bluelist as one of the top 10 road trips in the world! Maori culture and greenstone For generations, the West Coast has been significant to Maori as the source of pounamu (greenstone). Today, visitors can watch the stone being crafted into sculptures and jewellery in workshops and galleries. Pristine wilderness Between the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea, the West Coast is a stunning landscape of rainforests, glaciers and beaches. Take a Tree Top Walk near Hokitika for a unique perspective. Shantytown The West Coast has a fascinating human history based around its precious resources. Shantytown offers a vivid insight into life in colonial New Zealand. West Coast hospitality Sample a local beer at the Monteith’s Brewery in Greymouth.


Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Villages Picturesque base villages for trips to the glaciers. Greymouth Historic main commercial centre of the West Coast. Haast Wildlife paradise in the heart of South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. Hokitika Once a booming gold-rush town, now a peaceful town known for pounamu. Westport Busy port town and gateway to Buller Gorge adventure activities. Reefton Small mountain village offering outdoor adventures such as hiking and fishing. Lake Brunner Trout fishing, hiking and fishing in a tranquil alpine landscape. Karamea Gateway to the Heaphy Track and northernmost town on the West Coast.

Getting There and Around

Air Air New Zealand Link offers flights from Westport to Wellington and from Hokitika to Christchurch. With Air West Coast, you can book a private flight from Greymouth to Christchurch with a scenic flight over Mount Cook along the way. Road Greymouth is 3 hours, 40 minutes from Christchurch via Arthur’s Pass. The region is also accessible via mountain pass from Nelson in the north and Otago in the south. Coaches provide regular services. Christchurch to Greymouth [258 km; 3 hr, 40 min] Nelson to Westport [226 km; 3 hr, 15 min] Wanaka to Haast [145 km; 2 hr, 5 min] Westport to Greymouth [101 km; 1 hr, 25 min] Greymouth to Franz Josef [177 km; 2 hr, 30 min] Franz Josef to Haast [148 km; 2 hr, 5 min] Rail The spectacularly scenic TranzAlpine rail journey runs daily between Christchurch and Greymouth.

Making the Sale

  • The West Coast is a land of wonderfully dramatic and pristine scenery including some of New Zealand’s most iconic sights.
  • Although it feels remote, the West Coast region is easy to get to from Nelson, Christchurch or Wanaka.
  • The TranzAlpine train service from Christchurch to Greymouth is a world-class rail journey.
  • The glaciers of South Westland are a must-see – blue-white rivers of ice amidst the rainforest.

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