Discover the beauty of a world lost in nature. Experience the West Coast’s unique flora and fauna, in its natural environment.
Out of the 140 glaciers flowing from the soaring peaks of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, only two creep as far as the lower rainforests – the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers.
The power of these giant tongues of ice, grind down through temperate rainforest to just 250 metres above sea level. There is only one other place on this earth where this phenomenon takes place, in far away Argentina.
The advantage of this for visitors is that the ancient glaciers are accessible, and those not wanting to venture further can get good views of their beauty, not far from the small townships that take their names.
Take your time… breathe in the deep, earthy scents of a West Coast rainforest, listen to the calls of native birds, feast on the sights of nature in all its abundance, and get some exercise at the same time!
Over 200 bush walks offer hikes from short ten minute strolls to five day hikes through the lower regions of the Southern Alps.
Two of the country's 12 'Great Walks' lie at each end of the West Coast: the Heaphy Track just north of Karamea and the Cascade-Hollyford track in South Westland. Click here for Heaphy Track Update
The New Zealand Department of Conservation lists many of the West Coast walks grading them from easy and short, right up to challenging multi day tramping. We recommend you check track conditions before embarking on your walk.
The West Coast offers a number of caving opportunities, from guided tours through to guided cave rafting! Check out our 'what to do' section for more information.
The Kakapotahi, the Hokitika and the Arnold rivers are well regarded rivers for white water activties, whilst Lake Brunner, Lake Kaniere, Lake Mahinapua offer family friendly boating and other recreational opportunities. For further information visit the Department of Conservation
For commercial operators visit our 'what to do' section for more information.
The West Coast has some fantastic mountain biking and cycling opportunities. Check out our blog on Mountain Biking by clicking here.