The West Coast's two largest glaciers – Fox and Franz Josef – extend almost to sea level, making parts of them easily accessible for walking and hiking.
There are several ways to experience the glaciers, including the spectacular Franz Josef Walk – a moderate 1 ½ hour return walk up the glacier valley. You can walk to the terminus of Franz Josef Glacier, or take in the views of Fox Glacier from Cook Flat Road (on the way to Lake Matheson).
Visit the spectacular Paparoa National Park on the Porari River Track, another brief walk that lasts for 1 hour or just under. Pass between dramatic limestone cliffs and take in the views of sub-tropical forest.
The Ship Creek walk near the Haast township provides an insight into ancient Kahikatea swamp forest, with a boardwalk providing easy viewing of the forest. Keep on walking to the dune lake where you'll find magnificent views of the windswept coastline.
The Paparoa track is the 10th great walk of New Zealand and takes you through alpine tops, limestone landscapes and lush rainforests offering breath-taking views.
From swamp forest to windswept sand dunes these two short walks will give you give a real taste of the wild West Coast.
Travel past ancient moraines and glacier molded landscapes as you explore Fox Glacier to it's terminal face.
Wander through beautiful native forests and over a swing bridge to experience the pristine waters of the the Makarora River's Blue Pools.
Follow the Pororari River upstream into the impressive Paparoa National Park. Pass between dramatic limestone cliffs and through sub-tropical forest.
With a seal colony, a lighthouse and panoramic views of mountains and coastline, the Cape Foulwind Walkway is an easy walk suitable for all the family.
Not for the fainthearted, this track winds through a rocky riverbed. You'll be rewarded with stunning glacier views.
Wander through ancient forest and gaze on mirror-like reflections of New Zealand's highest mountain Aoraki/Mount Cook on this easy Lake Matheson hike.
Hike along a disused railway line through tunnels, over bridges and along deep gorges. Enjoy native forest, waterfalls and sweeping views.
The park contains some of New Zealand's finest native beech forest, as well as relics from the region's famous gold rush.
The 2-day Copland Track offers stunning forest, river and alpine vistas as it winds its way towards the naturally heated Welcome Flat Hot Pools.
This ancient Maori trail crosses over tussock downs to lush forests, through nikau palms and onward to the roaring seas of the West Coast. Find out more about Heaphy Track, Great Walk.