West Coast Holidays
South Island, New Zealand
New Zealand's West Coast region contains some of New Zealand's most dramatic landscapes, including the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers. It is similar to the Canadian Rockies, but with a glorious coastline and lush temperate rainforests thrown in for good measure. The spectacular Franz Josef and Fox glaciers flow down from the high Southern Alps to within 250 metres above sea level, making them accessible to visitors of all ages and abilities. If you plan to visit in the peak summer months of December to February, it is advisable to book tours and accommodation ahead of time, as the region is extremely popular.
West Coast Holidays Planner
From the Franz Josef township it is only a 20 minute walk to the breathtaking face of the glacier, with lookout points slightly further along. For the more adventurous there are a variety of ice hikes and heli-hikes available. Only a 30 minute drive away you'll find the Fox Glacier and its quaint township nestled into the rainforest. Close to town is the renowned Lake Matheson, boasting stunning reflections of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman. A drive further down the lush forested valley will find you in the historic gold mining settlement of Gillespie's beach on the shores of the Tasman Sea, where on clear days you can look back and see the Southern Alps.
North of Franz Joseph is the coastal settlement of Okarito, boasting glorious sea and southern alps views, and home to the White Heron Sanctuary lagoon, open from late October to February. Take a guided eco-tour through the Kahurangi National Park to see the amazing limestone arches and magnificent tree ferns of the Oparara rainforest.
The coast road from Westport to Greymouth is considered one of the world's top coastal drives and the TranzAlpine train journey from Christchurch to Greymouth is one of the world's great scenic railway journeys.
West Coast Accommodation Search
From coastal holiday parks to mountain hideaways, the West Coast has an incredible diversity of accommodation options, all of which offer the region's legendary friendly hospitality. Please select one of our recommended West Coast accommodations to find current availability and get the best room rates from over 100 booking sources: