Welcome to the wild and wonderful West Coast of the South Island. The New Zealand Information Network has highlighted a number of ‘must see’ attractions to assist you in planning a great holiday in this fascinating part of the country.
The ‘Coast’ as locals call it, is one of the world’s special places, with mind-blowing topography. Ancient uplifts of the earth’s crust created the impressive vertical ramparts of the main divide of the Southern Alps. These cloud-piercing mountains rise within 30 km of a breathtaking coast. Five of our national parks are here, and South West New Zealand has been declared a World Heritage Area.
There are many ways to experience this adventure playground in the wild West. Tramp through the bizarre limestone landscapes or touch the silence of a timeless rainforest. Explore blue ice caves of an ancient glacier or make a helicopter landing on a vast alpine snowfield. Paddle across a peaceful lagoon or raft a swift glacial river. Pan for bright burnished gold in a murmuriabout:blankng stream or cast a trout fly over a languid pool.
The West Coast has it all. But wherever you travel you will never be far from water – rivers, lakes, lagoons, sea and especially glaciers. The most popular walks on the Coast are on the two major glaciers, the Franz Josef and Fox. Walking on the icefall is the best possible way to understand the forces of ice and water that have shaped this land.
Guiding Companies at Franz Josef have been taking groups onto the glaciers for years. For visitors, a close encounter with the icefalls of Glacier Country is the highlight of their New Zealand holiday.
There is a strong tradition of hospitality on the Coast. Westport is a friendly base for exploring the old gold trails, coal towns and limestone country in the north. Greymouth is the business centre and tourist hub. Hokitika is a relaxed town with craft studios and adventure activities.
When you visit the West Coast you will enjoy quality accommodation, fine foods, exciting guided adventures, and such an amazing variety of scenery that every day will bring a fresh feeling of anticipation and excitement.