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 West Coast
 
   
 
The West Coast is the narrow strip of land that lies to the west of the Southern Alps, with the Tasman Sea lapping along it's magnificent 600 km of coastline. The towns in this region include Karamea, Westport, Greymouth, Hokitika, Fox, Franz Josef and Haast Village.
 

General








  The West Coast is a sparsely populated region with some of the most dramatic scenery in New Zealand. It's a wild place known for soaring mountains, raging rivers and lush rainforests; impressive glaciers, tranquil lakes and geological treasures. Most of its natural environment is still intact and preserved in national parks designated as World Heritage Areas. The West Coast glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef are true natural wonders and while many glaciers worldwide have been retreating these glaciers still flow almost to sea level, making them unique relics of the last ice age.
The Coast's reputation for hospitality is legendary - "coasters" display a sincere friendliness and strength of character as unique as their surroundings.  
     
Main attractions &
activities











  The West Coast region offers a variety of short scenic walks and hiking opportunities, as well as exciting adventure activities for all ages and levels of competence. Anglers will find they are in paradise anywhere on the coast.
Try rafting a subterranean stream through a weird world of stalactites, stalagmites and glow-worms. Between Westport and Greymouth is a wild, ruggedly beautiful coastline that features the unique Pancake Rocks and blowholes at Punakaiki.
Near Whataroa, on the shores of the Okarito Lagoon, is New Zealand's only nesting colony of the white heron (kotuku). Boat trips on this primeval swamp reveal these elegant birds in their natural glory.
Graded glacier trips at both Fox and Franz Josef accommodate every level of fitness and experience, and there are scenic flights and helicopter excursions for those who wish to view the glaciers from the air.
The coast is also strewn with relics of the heady goldrush days of the 1860s, and tracks and walks explore many of the old workings. You can try your hand at gold panning at Shantytown, a replica goldfield town of last century, near Greymouth.
     
To get there



  Regular bus services connect the West Coast with Wanaka, Queenstown, Christchurch, Nelson and Picton. The Tranzalpine train also runs between Christchurch and Greymouth and this service takes 4 ½ hours. To drive from Christchurch to Franz Josef takes 7 hours and from Franz Josef to Queenstown takes 7 hours. Allow enough days to experience everything.  

     

 

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