TOP 10 Things to do on the West Coast of NZ

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TOP 10 Things to do on the West Coast of NZ

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An epic road trip through rainforests, mountain peaks, glaciers and wild rugged coastlines needs to be on your bucket list when visiting the West Coast of the South Island in New Zealand. We’ve listed the TOP 10 things to do when exploring the West Coast, and the best accommodation options. Whether you’re after motels, cabins, units or sites, we’ve got you covered at TOP 10 Holiday Parks.

1. Fox Glacier

Group tour Fox Glacier New Zealand - Tourism New Zealand image

Image Credit: Tourism New Zealand

In the foothills of the Southern Alps, you’ll find Fox Glacier, which sums up the Glacier and the small town below. It’s an adventurers paradise, but also the ideal location for someone that is excited by stunning sights. At the top, you’re in glacier country with all the action of glacier hikes, scenic helicopter rides, heli-hiking adventures and ice climbing. Down below, there are the temperate rainforests with plenty of scenic walks to experience. Stay in the centre of the action at Fox Glacier TOP 10 Holiday Park

2. Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier guides walks

Image Credit: Miles Holden with Tourism New Zealand

Located just 30 minutes north of Fox Glacier is its twin, Franz Josef Glacier. Like its twin, it boasts a friendly town with a glacier and is surrounded by mountains, waterfalls and lakes. Just a 5 km walk (1.5 hours) from the town you’ll find yourself 750m away from the Franz Josef Glacier terminal face. Take a scenic helicopter ride or plane ride over the top of the glaciers, Westland National Parks or even further afield like Mt Cook. If you’re more about the water, visit the peaceful village of Okarito, just 25 minutes from Franz Josef Glacier. Explore the waterways with Okarito Kayaks with a self-guided tour or a guided 2 - 3 hour trip. Stay in this World Heritage area with Franz Josef TOP 10 Holiday Park.

3. West Coast Wildlife Centre

West Coast Wildlife Centre - West Coast in Franz Josef

Image Credit: Development West Coast

For the perfect all-weather activity in Franz Josef, visit the West Coast Wildlife Centre. See Okarito brown kiwi/rowi up close at the largest kiwi captive rearing facility in the South Island. Their conservation work through ‘Operation Nest Egg’ is increasing the number of the endangered rowi and working to bring the tokoeka kiwi back from extinction. You can take your time with the backstage self-guided tours, whether you want a quick 30-minute tour or an in-depth 2-3 hour exploration.

4. Hokitika Gorge

Stunning scenery at Hokitika Gorge-West Coast of New Zealand

Image Credit: Fraser Clements with Tourism New Zealand

The Hokitika Gorge is picturesque. Imagine, the dreamy turquoise waters rolling against the rocky terrain, and lush green forests hanging over the top. It’s an easy site to visit, with a viewing platform just a 4-minute walk through the forest from the car park. You can venture further from the platform to the suspension bridge that travels between the rocky gorge walls and watch the waters below. Just a 45 minute drive away, you can stay at Ross Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park which is a unique, quirky boutique holiday park.


5. On Yer Bike Adventures

On Yer Bike Tours - West Coast NZ - Greymouth

Image Credit: Development West Coast - On Yer Bike Adventures

Up for some off-road excitement and adventures on the West Coast of the South Island in New Zealand? When you’re visiting Greymouth, jump onboard a Quad or buggy with On Yer Bike Adventures. Zoom through enchanted scenery with native trees, ferns, moss, rocky creeks, mud puddles and even a waterfall. Easily located just 10 minutes from Greymouth Seaside TOP 10 Holiday Park or under one hours drive from the Ross Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park.

6. Monteith’s Brewery

Monteiths Brewery-West Coast

Image Credit: Fraser Clements with Tourism New Zealand

Monteith’s Brewery in Greymouth is the original home of craft brewing in New Zealand and offers beer and cider tasting. Join a 45-minute experience to learn the art behind brewing beer along with plenty of entertaining stories. The award-winning brewery also serves up locally inspired food to ensure a mouth-watering experience. Staying at Greymouth Seaside TOP 10 Holiday park means it’s only a 5-minute drive there or a half-an-hour walk.

7. Shantytown Heritage Park in Greymouth

Shantytown on the West Coast of New Zealand

Image Credit: Shantytown Heritage Park for West Coast Development

Step back in time to the Shantytown Heritage Park, just a 10-minute drive from Greymouth Seaside TOP 10 Holiday Park. Ride the steam train, pan for your own gold, visit the museum or dress up and get an old-time black and white photo. If you’ve worked up an appetite, there is King Dick’s Cafe with coffee, treats and some delicious hot food.

8. Lake Brunner

Couple canoeing on Lake Brunner-West Coast

Image Credit: Fraser Clements with Tourism New Zealand

With a backdrop of mountains and ancient forests, Lake Brunner, the largest lake on the west coast of the South Island, is perfect for a day on the water. Located next to the small town of Moana and a 45-minute drive from Greymouth Seaside TOP 10 Holiday Park, it’s a year-round adventure haven. Enjoy trout-fishing, jet boating, yachting, kayaking, paddleboarding, and in summer it’s perfect for a dip.

9. Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes

Pancake Rocks Punakaiki on the West Coast of New Zealand

Image Credit: Fraser Clements with Tourism New Zealand

Just under an hour's drive to Carters Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park or 40 minutes to Greymouth Seaside TOP 10 Holiday Park, you’ll find the fascinating Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. After years of the ocean melding the limestone, the landscape is full of pancake-shaped rock formations, blowholes and surge pools. With a short paved path, suitable for all-weather, this is a great option for families and wheelchairs (with assistance), with the exception of an optional short walk with stairs. Take in the spectacular views, geological oddities, coastal forest, rich birdlife and marine mammals. If you’re lucky enough to visit at high tide, keep an eye out for the explosion as the ocean pushes water up through the blow holes in the pancaked holes.

10. Glowworms

Explore beyond the rainforests and mountains and venture deep below to the subterranean level in Paparoa National Park, just a 20-minute drive from Carters Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park. Join local guides, UnderWorld Adventures to see what usually only skilled adventurers see. Meander through ancient underwater cave systems, set your eyes on unique calcite crystal formations before gently floating under the light of thousands of glowworms.

If you’re up for an adventure on the rugged west coast of the South Island of New Zealand, there is plenty to see and do. Your jaw will be dropping along the way and your memories will be full of stunning scenery and fun times. So, why not do a road trip and stay at all or some of our TOP 10 Holiday Parks along the way.