Scenic flights: For a bird’s eye view of the West Coast, try a light aircraft or helicopter scenic flight. Services are available for both transport and sightseeing opportunities. Take a scenic flight to Mount Cook (New Zealand’s highest mountain), Mount Tasman, Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, Milford Sound, Mount Asiring, Lake Brunner, the Punakaiki Pancake rocks, the Heaphy Track, Karamea, Nelson and more.
All four highways to the coast are spectacular and inspiring journeys.
Highways to and within the West Coast region are easy to drive, while minor roads offer exploration opportunities to 4WD enthusiasts!
State Highway 7links Canterbury to the West Coast. The highway weaves through beech forests to the summit of Lewis Pass (863m).
State Highway 73 goes via Kumara Junction through the dramatic Otira Gorge in Arthur's Pass National Park, with many places to stop near running water and accessible bush walks.
Scenic State Highway 6through the Buller gorge links with Nelson and Christchurch via Inangahua and Murchison, following the Buller River for much of the way.
Haast Pass(completed 1965) is the lowest pass over the main divide of the South Island at 563m. It travels through to Lakes Hawea and Wanaka and has an international reputation as a stunningly beautiful route, with many places to stop for short walks.
The daily Tranzalpine train is known as one of the greatest rail journeys in the world. The train route takes passengers from Christchurch to Greymouth through some of the planet’s most gorgeous natural landscapes.
The train takes 4.5 hours to travel the 224km between Christchurch and Greymouth. It passes through 16 tunnels and over five viaducts with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, icy rivers, beech forests, spectacular gorges and river valleys.
The TranzAlpine train arrives in to Greymouth, daily from Christchurch, at 12.45pm and returns at 1.45pm.