West Coast

West Coast is a region untouched by the perils of big city living. The region offers visitors a glimpse of unspoiled natural beauty with historic forests, spectacular mountains and icy glaciers.

Be astounded by the native animals in their natural habitat, captivated by the caves and formations scattering the coastline and thrilled by the number of activities you can enjoy when visiting the region.

Franz Josef Glacier

West Coast, home to just over 30 000 people, is the longest region in New Zealand. With so few people and such a diverse landscape the region is an idyllic and intriguing destination for travellers. With towering mountains, age old forests, fascinating coastal formations and icy glaciers the West Coast region has an untamed, unspoiled feel about it.

The West Coast is located between the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea. Bordered by glaciers, forests and the sparking ocean the West Coast is almost like a whole other world there to explore. The locals are known as 'Coasters' and are known for their hospitality and friendly nature. Due to the remote location, the population has developed a culture of their own.

The Maori people discovered the region centuries ago when searching for Pounamu (Jade stone). Like many South Island regions the 1800's brought an influx of gold miners, many of whom stayed after the gold rush and established farms and businesses in the area.

The region is home to 5 of the country's 14 National Parks and the South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. Amongst these protected areas you will find some of nature's most beautiful attributes from lush rainforests to glaciers, wild beaches to caves. You will be surprised to see so many animals in their natural habitats including kiwis, penguins, dolphins, fur seals and more. There a number of bush walks and hikes in the West Coast region varying in length and level of difficulty.

Franz Josef Glacier

The West Coast offers travellers an adventure playground with activities including jet boating, glacier walks, surfing, rafting and much much more. Take a scenic flight over the glaciers, join a tour through limestone caves or even go panning for gold. The dramatic landscape has also brought world class artists and craftspeople to the region. Visit the number of galleries, museums and craft shops as you are passing through the region. Fishing is another popular activity on the West Coast with the number of rivers and lakes in the area.

There are a wide range of restaurants (licensed and unlicensed), bars and cafes in the West Coast region. An area known for it's hospitality you are bound to enjoy dining on the West Coast.

You can get to the West Coast by car, plane, bus or train. Buses travel to the West Coast from Queenstown, Picton, Nelson, Wanaka and Christchurch. There are daily flights from Hokitika to Christchurch and from Westport to Wellington. There is also a service on Monday, Wednesday and Friday that goes via Westport to Wellington. The train arrives daily from Christchurch at 12:45pm and departs again at 1:45pm.

The West Coast offers a range of accommodation to suit everyone including lodges, B&Bs, hotels, backpackers, motels, camping grounds and more.

Main Towns in the West Coast Region

Oher Towns in the West Coast Region