It can take a while for nature to have its way - about 20 million years, give or take. On the West Coast of the Southern Alps, New Zealand discover an abundance of nature so astounding, it'll leave an impression for years to come. With five national parks, two kiwi sanctuaries and a southern landscape so awe-inspiring UNESCO named it a world heritage site, the West Coast is truly nature at its most raw and spectacular.
Read below to see what Kahurangi, Paparoa, Arthurs Pass, Westland Tai Poutini and Mount Aspiring National Parks, two West Coast kiwi sanctuaries and the Te Wahipounamu - South West New Zealand UNESCO World Heritage Site have to offer.
The park is best known for the bizarre Pancake Rocks and impressive blowholes of Dolomite Point near Punakaiki. The blowholes put on their best performance at high tide so check at the local iSite for times. For the adventurous (and experienced) there are amazing caving opportunities and for families you can do an easy canoe up the Pororari River.
The area is best known for the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers where you can walk up the river valleys to see the terminal faces or take a guided trip onto the ice. Westland National Park is the backbone of Glacier Country and is part of the South West New Zealand UNESCO World Heritage Area.
Westland Tai Poutini, Mount Aspiring along with Mount Cook and Fiordland National Parks make up the internationally recognised South West New Zealand UNESCO World Heritage Area and is a significant national treasure. Spectacular landscapes; ancient forests, rocks and animals from Godwanaland times (that's 80 million years!); and rare plants and animals including the endangered rowi and Haast tokoeka kiwi and the flightless takahe all make their home here.
For more information on the West Coast National Parks please visit:
Department of Conservation information pages
The West Coast of the Southern Alps is home to four out of 14 New Zealand's National Parks.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) are charged with being guardians, along with local iwi (Maori for local area tribal group), of our most precious land resource - our treasured national parks. It is a role not taken lightly and DOC not only administers and physically look these assets on behalf of all New Zealanders'. More importantly they have a passion for what they do and why they do it.
Whether booking bed nights on some of the Great Walks in National Parks throughout New Zealand, to apply for tourism operator concessions or hunting permits, to permission to research wildlife or collect flora and fauna, DOC is the backbone and resource behind our treasured National Parks.
Naturally we are pretty wild about our own part of New Zealand paradise - the West Coast of the Southern Alps.
These fine folk have created an amazing television series on each of the National Parks featured on this page - what better way to get to know them?
Follow the links then sit back and watch what is so special about our back door step;