West Coast, South Island
Bus & Minivan Tours

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Our most recommended West Coast, South Island Bus & Minivan Tours

Fox Glacier: 3-Hour Hike with Scenic Helicopter Transfer

1. Fox Glacier: 3-Hour Hike with Scenic Helicopter Transfer

Enjoy a thrilling heli-hiking experience on the Fox Glacier. Marvel at dramatic landscapes from above, including spectacular ice caves, icefalls and Victoria Falls, which is the melted river from the hidden Victoria glacier. Your landing site on the ice is a remote and exceptionally beautiful part of the glacier. At this stage, your guide outfits you with crampons, specially designed for ice conditions and you follow the ice steps cut by your guide as you explore the amazing formations and ice caves which are only seen here. Each departure is a truly unique experience as there are so many changing features, even the guides always find something new. Depending on the weather you will spend up to 3 hours on the ice before boarding your helicopter to return to the helicopter base.

Franz Josef Glacier: 2-Hour Scenic Lake Mapourika Cruise

2. Franz Josef Glacier: 2-Hour Scenic Lake Mapourika Cruise

Soak up panoramic views of the Southern Alps and glaciers reflecting on the mirror-like waters of Lake Mapourika on this 2-hour scenic cruise. The lake was created by the Franz Josef Glacier as it retreated 14,000 years ago and now sits calm and reflective between the Southern Alps and the sea. Meet your experienced skipper and small group at the office in Franz Josef and take a complimentary transfer out to Lake Mapourika. Board the boat, then sit back and relax onboard the Hanna-k in the comfortable enclosed cabin or on the covered back deck. Your skipper will take you through to the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary on the far shorelines of the lake and will help you spot New Zealand's native birds. Enjoy informative commentary and fascinating stories as you cruise past untouched Jurassic rainforest and 900-year-old Kahikatea trees. Sip on a cup of complimentary tea or coffee as you unwind in beautiful Glacier Country, a picture perfect way to escape the crowds and enjoy the West Coast’s scenery.

Greymouth: Full-Day West Coast Tour with Hokitika Gorge

3. Greymouth: Full-Day West Coast Tour with Hokitika Gorge

Start the tour with pickup from your accommodation in Greymouth. Set off along the famous Coast Road, rated one of the top 10 coastal drives in the world. First, stop at the Pancake Rocks, where the sea, winds, and massive geological change have shaped the landscape creating fascinating stacked limestone rocks and blowholes. This area is rated a must-do attraction when visiting the West Coast. Then, continue on to the Tree Top Walkway which offers the experience of walking amongst the treetops. This exhilarating adventure among temperate rain forest giants, high above ancient Rimu's and Kamahi trees offers a 20-meter high platform with a 450-meter-long walkway to explore and enjoy the views. Climb the 47-meter tower for a better view if you dare, and enjoy a refreshment at the local cafe. Admire beautiful views of majestic Lake Mahinapua while listening to the bird song. Finally, explore the famous Hokitika Gorge, a popular tourist spot that is known for its vibrant blue water and tranquil rain forest setting. This natural attractions is another must-do on the West Coast and is a great place to have a picnic or a swim to cool off in summer. At the end of your tour, return to Greymouth where your trip ends.

From Greymouth: Punakaiki Blowholes & Pancake Rocks Tour

4. From Greymouth: Punakaiki Blowholes & Pancake Rocks Tour

Travel the Coast Road, a scenic drive passing beaches and bays with native West Coast bush background. Stop for photos along the way before reaching Punakaiki where you will be guided through the pancake rocks and blowholes. Enjoy a nature walk with access to interpretation panels to learn about your surroundings.  After spending time at the blow holes you have time to grab a refreshment at the local cafe before travelling on to the Truman Track. Take a short walk to an ocean viewing platform and sandy bay. At low tide you can access the bay and walk along to the rock pools.  Head back via the famous Coast Road and if time allows the tour guide can stop off at some bays along the way and allow time for more photos. Your tour ends back in Greymouth at your accommodation or at the visitor centre.

Charleston: Fully Guided Glow Worm Cave Eco-Tour

5. Charleston: Fully Guided Glow Worm Cave Eco-Tour

Your adventure starts at the Charleston Base, where you will be equipped with a caving helmet and meet your cave guide. A short drive will take you into the tranquil rainforest covered limestone valley to board the Nile River Rainforest Train. Here, start your journey into the Paparoa National Park exploring one of its highly protected and unique features – ancient cave systems, fragile cave formations, twinkling glow worms – hidden below lush rainforest. On your short walk to the cave, enjoy the tranquil beauty of the native bush and leave the river bed to gain amazing views of the river below. Leaving daylight behind you, explore the enormous Nile River Caves System, seeing, feeling, and getting close to an ancient wonderland sculpted by water and decorated with fragile calcite formations. Underground, visit the Hall of Refugees and its breathtaking calcite formations before emerging back into daylight to the awe-inspiring Ananui entrance series. Exploring the lower level of the cave system, you will find a glow-in-the-dark night sky made of amazing galaxies of glow worms. Your guides will enrich your journey with captivating illustrations, explanations, and stories connecting you with this special place. After emerging back to the daylight, a short stroll leads you back to the train.

Greymouth: Hokitika Gorge and Tree Top Walkway Half-Day Tour

6. Greymouth: Hokitika Gorge and Tree Top Walkway Half-Day Tour

Enjoy a scenic one-hour drive to Hokitika Gorge and follow the coastline before heading inland through farmland and native bush.  Walk across the swing bridge and spend time enjoying this magical place. Take in its vivid turquoise waters surrounded by lush native bush and see for yourself why it is a key photo stop on the West Coast must-do list.  Explore Tree Top Walkway and experience life with the birds high up in the ancient Rimu and Kamahi tree canopy. Gain easy access to the steel platform, which is 20 meters high and over 450 meters long.  Gently sway in harmony with the forest on the Mahinapua Springboard. View the exquisite Lake Mahinapua through the richly diverse forest foliage.  If you’re a thrill-seeker, feel your heart pump as you climb to the top of Hokitika Tower, which is about 40 meters above the forest floor. Be inspired by a sensational vista of the majestic snow-capped Southern Alps, Lake Mahinapua, and the Tasman Sea.  If time allows, make a short stop in the township of Hokitika for a visit to the Greenstone (Jade) Gallery before departing back to your starting point.

Charleston: 4-Hour Nile River Cave and Tubing Adventure

7. Charleston: 4-Hour Nile River Cave and Tubing Adventure

Set off on a superb 4-hour adventure in the enormous Nile River Cave System deep in the untamed natural wilderness of the Paparoa National Park. Discover a hidden, special place on an award-winning adventure at its best. Meet your guide at the local partner’s adventure center in Charleston and get equipped with wet suits, wet suit socks, boots, gloves, and helmets. Dressed ready for your adventure, take a short ride on the Nile River Rainforest Train into the stunning West Coast rainforest. Marvel at the towering limestone cliffs that create a magical backdrop for your adventure. A short walk leads you to the cave entrances high above the Nile River. Leave the daylight behind and enter a hidden subterranean world to explore a calcite paradise of stalactites and stalagmites. Cross huge chambers, follow a maze of passages, and wander through the heart of an ancient multi-levelled cave system. Enriched with illustrations, explanations, and stories you will connect to the fragile, precious world as you descend to the bottom level of the cave where the water guides you to a magical galaxy of glowworms. Astounded by this underground night sky, slowly float on an underground river to emerge back into daylight using only the natural light of the awe-inspiring display of glowworms as navigation. Leave this special place floating in your tube down the fun, gentle rapids of the Nile River surrounded by the lush rainforest and beautiful limestone cliffs. Finally, returning on the Rainforest Train back to Charleston.

Greymouth: Franz Josef Glacier & Wildlife Centre Guided Tour

8. Greymouth: Franz Josef Glacier & Wildlife Centre Guided Tour

Departing from Greymouth, you will enjoy a scenic drive South, following the coastline with ocean views before heading inland to reach your destination of Franz Josef. The township of Franz Josef is a popular tourist hot spot with thousands visiting the town to view the famous Franz Josef Glacier. Walk up to the glacier along a marked track called the Valley Walk, following the river bed. The trek will take approximately 1.5 hours. On your return to Franz Josef, you will visit the Wildlife Centre. Home to two of New Zealand’s native birds, the Rowi Kiwi and the Tuatara, the centre also hosts an interactive exhibit on the glacier. There is also a souvenir gift shop and cafe onsite. In Franz Josef there will be free time to buy lunch and look around the town, before returning back to Greymouth.

Franz Josef: Franz Josef Glacier Lookout Guided Walk

9. Franz Josef: Franz Josef Glacier Lookout Guided Walk

Enjoy a relaxing small-group walking tour in the glacier valley to view the Franz Josef Glacier with an experienced local guide where you will learn about glaciers and the local nature, history, local stories & Maori legends. Get picked up from your accommodation and drive to the glacier carpark to begin your guided tour. Stroll through the tepid rainforest full of creeks, beautiful flora, fauna, and native trees. Discover hidden gems such as native snails, mushrooms, orchids, and birds, waterfalls & glowworms. During the walk, enjoy a cup of tea with a view, listen to the songs of the forest birds & chat with your guide.

Franz Josef Glacier: 2.5-Hour Lake Mapourika Cruise and Walk

10. Franz Josef Glacier: 2.5-Hour Lake Mapourika Cruise and Walk

Begin your adventure at the meeting point in Franz Josef to join your small group and transfer out to Lake Mapourika with your guide. Cruise across the lake in the comfort of the boat and enjoy a stunning vista of Southern Alps and glaciers. On a clear day enjoy views as far as Mount Cook.   Sit back as you arrive into the calm estuary of the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary. Your local knowledgeable skipper will provide you with exclusive access and will guide you through a private rainforest trail.   Follow your skipper through the Jurassic rainforest track and get local insight on the region. Spot native birds as you find your way to the scenic lookout, the perfect spot for a cup or tea or coffee made on the spot.

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What people are saying about West Coast, South Island

Overall rating

5.0 / 5

based on 4 reviews

Outstanding! On a perfect day we enjoyed the cruise and beauty of Lake Mapourika while learning of its history and natural surroundings. Magnificent views of the mountains and glaciers were mirrored in the serene waters. Jake was interesting and informative. Just do it! A photo album of wonderful memories.

We had an absolute blast! Stretch was a fantastic guide and had us exploring so many cool areas of the glacier. He was great with our kids (big and small). This was a true bucket list adventure. Highly recommend it!

Photos and videos do no justice to this experience, it was truely breathtaking and worth every dollar!!

Our tour guide was helpful, knowledgeable & friendly. Both places were well worth visiting.

Great value, incredible experience, up there in the top 10 around NZ