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.

Highlights

Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers The world’s most accessible temperate-zone glaciers cascade from high in the Southern Alps to just 300 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! Māori culture and greenstone For generations, the West Coast has been significant to Māori 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.

Destinations

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 (greenstone). 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.

Directory

Shantytown

This recreated gold-rush town tells stories of pioneering spirit through a mix of experience and displays. Ride the Steam Train through native rainforest, experience the sights and sounds of a…

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The Glacier Hot Pools

Relaxing under nature’s leafy canopy at The Glacier Hot Pools is a wonderfully rejuvenating experience to be enjoyed all year round. Franz Josef’s newest attraction, The Glacier Hot Pools, features…

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Franz Josef Glacier Guides

An internationally recognised guiding operation that provides the most incredible glacier experience. The rugged gradient of the Franz Josef Glacier ensures visitors enjoy the most dramatic glacier scenery available to…

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Fox & Franz Josef Heliservices

Scenic helicopter flights. Snow landings above Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Locally owned and operated for over 25 years. Four- and six-passenger helicopters. We also offer transport for skiers, climbers,…

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Kapitea Ridge

At Kapitea Ridge guests can enjoy the true solitude and splendour of the West Coast’s environment. Set in secluded native gardens with easy beach access; wake to the sound of…

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Fox Glacier Guiding

Experience the breathtaking world of the West Coast’s longest (and least steep) glacier with New Zealand’s most experienced glacier guiding company. Educational, and with your safety paramount, access onto the…

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Beachfront Hotel Hokitika

Beachfront Hotel’s unique and convenient location on the beach makes it the best accommodation in Hokitika, with a wide range of rooms to suit your needs. The 4-star, luxury Ocean…

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