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.


Recommended Experiences

  1. Paparoa Track

    • Stunning nature views
    • Ancient rainforest
    • Limestone landscapes

    Best time: late Oct to late April

    • 2-3 DAYS
    • 56 km
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  2. Ship Creek Walks

    • Ancient forest
    • Tall kahikatea
    • Overlook Lake Mataketake


    • 30 mins (return)
    • 1 Km
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    West Coast

  3. Fox Glacier Te Moeka o Tuawe Valley Walk

    • Moraines and ancient glaciers

    The access to this track is currently closed.

    • 1 hr
    • 2.6 km (return)
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  4. Blue Pools Track

    • Swing bridge
    • Native beech forests
    • Azure blue pools


    • 1 hour
    • 1.5 km(return)
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Discover great places for hiking on the West Coast

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