Top Experiences on the West Coast

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Discover the rugged natural beauty, unique experiences and gold mining history of the West Coast. Check out the top 8 experiences on the West Coast.

Oparara Basin

Discover the Oparara basin in the Kahurangi National Park. Let the knowledgeable local guide of The Oparara Experience lead you through its unspoiled native subtropical forest, cathedral-like arches, limestone formations and cave system. Uncover stories about the fascinating moa bird that roamed the forest hundreds of years ago.

Hokitika Gorge

Stopping to view the turquoise waters of the glacial river running through Hokitika Gorge is a must do. A short walk across a swing bridge takes you to a viewing platform that provides stunning upstream views of Hokitika River, surrounded by a beautiful rimu forest. There are a choice of tour guides who can provide transport to this stunning location such as; Hokitika Scenic Tours, Side Track Tours and Weka Tours.

Shantytown Heritage Park

Take a step back in time at Shantytown, a faithfully recreated 1900s gold rush town. For a full day of heritage exploration visit the village of 30 shops and buildings, take a ride on the Steam train along the old saw mill tram track through native rainforest, witness the firing of the sluice gun before trying your hand at gold panning and finally capturing your old time photo.

Savour local produce

Experience the best of West Coast local produce. From a tour of Monteiths Brewery to a meal with a view at The Cray Pot, Jackson Bay you will savour every moment of a visit to the West Coast.

West Coast Wilderness Trail

Explore the local history and natural wilderness of the West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail. The trail retraces old packhorse tracks, tramlines, railways and even water races, linked by a single track. Stretching from Greymouth to the gold town of Ross it offers the West Coast’s world-famous scenery, as well as a journey back in time to the days of the Māori pounamu (greenstone) gatherers and the glittering gold rush era. To arrange your cycle journey contact Wilderness Trail Shuttle or Trail Transport and they will help you on your way.

Charleston Glowworm Caves

Discover the natural wonders and local characters of the West Coast. The Charleston Glowworm Caves Tour operated by Underworld Adventures is an eco cave tour with the opportunity to explore vast caves and their glow worm inhabitants. For a unforgettable local experience Out West Tours operate nearby and their tour Johnnys Journey is based on a local who lives off the land, in the spectacular Awakari Valley.

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks

A journey to the West Coast is not complete without a visit to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. These ancient limestone stacks were formed over 30 million years ago and are the most visited natural attraction on the West Coast. The Pancake Rocks are easily accessible by a walking track, and its best to visit at high tide to witness the blowholes in action as well. Once you've soaked up the spectacular views, there is plenty to do with surfing, paddle boarding, canoeing and horse trekking all on offer.

Explore the glaciers

Explore the dramatic Franz Josef and Fox glaciers, two of the most accessible glaciers in the world that descend from the Southern Alps down to rainforest just 300 metres above sea level. There are several ways to experience the glaciers; you can join a guided glacier walk to the terminus of either glacier, take in the sights of the glacier from above with a scenic tour or land on the ice via helicopter.

Start planning your trip to New Zealand

  • Getting around

    Getting around New Zealand is easy with familiar road signs and a great range of transport options available.

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  • Where to stay

    There are plenty of accommodation options for every budget and travel style.

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  • Weather & Seasons

    Visit in Spring or Autumn to enjoy warm weather, spectacular colours, lower prices & short queues

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