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.
Experience the most remote and challenging of New Zealand’s Great Rides. This epic wilderness adventure follows an old gold miners’ route between the ghost town of Lyell in the Buller Gorge and Seddonville on the West Coast. Old Ghost Road traverses beautiful native forest, open tussock hilltops, river flats and forgotten valleys.
Explore local history and natural wilderness on the West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail. Retrace old packhorse tracks, tramlines, railways and even water races, as you travel through world-famous scenery from Greymouth to the gold town of Ross. Contact Wilderness Trail Shuttle or Trail Transport to help plan your journey.
For a taste of true wilderness take a jet boat safari or scenic helicopter trip through Haast UNESCO World Heritage Area. Known to the original Māori inhabitants as Te Wāhi Pounamu – the greenstone waters, the 2.6 million hectare site covers almost 10 percent of New Zealand’s total land area. From mountain to sea, this is an area of primeval vistas.
Explore the largest lake on the West Coast and take your pick of water activities from jet boating and yachting to swimming and kayaking. Birdwatchers will enjoy the multitude of bird species that feed, roost and breed on the lakes edges. The lake is also a mecca for trout anglers, with fishing available year-round.
Stopping to view the turquoise waters of Hokitika Gorge is a must do. A short walk takes you to a lookout where stunning upstream views of the glacial river are surrounded by beautiful native rimu forests. Several tour guides offer transport to this unique location such as; Hokitika Scenic Tours, Side Track Tours and Weka Tours.
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.
A journey to the West Coast is not complete without a visit to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. Formed over 30 million years ago, these ancient limestone stacks are the most visited natural attraction on the West Coast. For the best view, visit at high tide when you can witness the blowholes in action as well.
Explore the dramatic Franz Josef and Fox glaciers, two of the most accessible glaciers in the world. Descending from the Southern Alps down to rainforest just 300 metres above sea level, there are several ways to experience these natural wonders. Join a guided glacier walk to the terminus, take in the sights from above with a scenic tour or land on the ice via helicopter.