Exploring the ice at Fox Glacier.
West Coast
Fox Glacier, West Coast

By Alistair Guthrie

White water rafting in the Buller Gorge
West Coast
Buller Gorge, West Coast

By GlacierCountry

Hiking on Fox Glacier.
West Coast
Fox Glacier., West Coast

By Fox Glacier Guiding

The blowholes at Punakaiki's 'Pancake Rocks' are a blast. Stand back and watch the performance.
West Coast
Pancake Rocks, West Coast

By Rob Suisted

Beautiful Lake Mapourika in Westland, just north of Franz Josef.
West Coast
Lake Mapourika , West Coast

By Julian Apse

South of Hokitika, on the Lake Mahinapua walkway, you might meet some curious feathered locals.
West Coast
Lake Mahinapua walkway, West Coast

By Julian Apse

With your camera or your fly rod, see what you can catch at Lake Kaniere.
West Coast
Lake Kaniere, West Coast

By Nathan Secker

West Coast

The West Coast, or 'the Coast' as locals call it, is a wild place of rivers and rainforests, glaciers and geological treasures.

Never more than 50 kilometres wide, the whole stretch down the West Coast of the South Island - of which Greymouth is the largest town - is home to only 31,000 people.

It’s good if you’ve got your own transport because this is a long region and there’s a lot to see. In fact, the Great Coast Road stretching from Westport to Greymouth was recently voted one of the top 10 coastal drives in the world by Lonely Planet.

Visit the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers. These giant rivers of ice have squeezed down the valleys to just 250 metres above sea level.

The pancake rocks and blowholes at Punakaiki are among the West Coast’s most famouss sights and a definite 'must-see' in this region. Only 45 minutes' drive from Punakaiki is the Denniston Experience, where you'll journey by train deep into a historic coal mine for a fascinating insight into West Coast mining history.

Take in the views from the new Westcoast Treetop Walk among ancient rimu, marvel at the limestone cliffs of Paparoa National Park and the vivid turquoise water in the Hokitika Gorge.

The West Coast is New Zealand’s only source of greenstone (pounamu) with the boulders found in the West Coast rivers. In Hokitika and Greymouth you can take a tour and watch the greenstone carvers at work.

Meet the ‘coasters’ as the locals are known and you’ll find a bunch of independent, self-reliant but hugely friendly and hospitable people. Sit down and have a beer with them and they’ll regale you with west coast stories. Accommodation can be a cosy B&B, luxury lodge or character hotel; all of it excellent value.

Content courtesy of Tourism NZ

Main centres