Located on the South Island of New Zealand, the West Coast is a popular region and narrow stretch of land between the Tasman Sea and Southern Alps. Comprised of the main towns of Buller, Grey and Westland, West Coast holidays allow visitors to experience the last frontier to be developed by colonists. This West Coast travel guide will help you to plan your visit to this incredible place where, just metres from the roadside you can experience some of the same wilderness that first explorers may have encountered.
The spectacular landscape is marked by strange limestone terrain, massive glaciers, dense rainforest, majestic lakes and rivers, mountain peaks and rugged coastline. The West Coast is also home to New Zealand's largest area of protected land and offers access to 5 out of the 13 of the country's national parks. The townships of Hokitika, Westport and Greymouth also offer an insight into the region's colourful past and is also the place to pick up jade also known as greenstone or pounamu.
A scenic stretch of coastline, West Coast accommodation is located in Greymouth, by Fox Glacier and at the outskirts of the Westland World Heritage Park and Franz Josef Glacier. Offering a variety of accommodation, West Coast accommodation ranges from modern hotels to home-style hideaways and offers an excellent range of onsite facilities including cosy open fireplaces, bars and restaurants and some spectacular views of the surrounding natural attractions.
West Coast holidays can be as busy or relaxing as you like thanks to the great range of holiday packages designed to suit all budgets and travellers. Combining the necessities like flights and accommodation, West Coast holiday packages also offer optional extras such as transfers, car hire, tours, travel insurance and more. Choose from a great range of existing packages or customise a package to suit your own personal needs
The West Coast its amazing natural attractions and activities including rafting through underground caves, hiking up a glacier, kayaking across spectacular lakes, panning for gold and sampling the traditional local delicacy of whitebait. Guided tours of the Franz Josef or Fox glaciers are also very popular and the reflected views of the mountains on Lake Matheson are particularly beautiful. The blowholes and 'pancake' rocks of Punakaiki are also a 'must-see' West Coast attraction. Read more about Things To Do on The West Coast.
Christchurch is the main international gateway to the West Coast and is located approximately 4 hours away. Getting to West Coast from Christchurch is easy, with 2 main routes available. The first is recommended for trailers and caravans and runs along State Highway 7 before continuing on to State Highway 1, travelling past Hanmer Springs and over Lewis Pass to Reefton before joining State Highway 6 past Greymouth. The second route is more direct travelling along State Highway 73 before climbing Porters Pass and Arthurs Pass then descending the Taramakau River and joining State Highway 6 between Hoktika and Greymouth. How to get to the West Coast.