West Coast, South Island
National Parks

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Our most recommended West Coast, South Island National Parks

Hokitika: West Coast Treetop Walkway Entrance Ticket

1. Hokitika: West Coast Treetop Walkway Entrance Ticket

Experience an exhilarating treetop adventure among temperate rainforest giants at the Hokitika West Coast Treetop Walkway. Begin the adventure when you arrive at the Treetops Cafe. Embark on a 5-minute walk through the beautiful Rainforest that will lead you to the start of the treetop walk (a shuttle is available for people with impaired mobility). There is easy access for all to enjoy along a steel platform that is 20 meters high and over 450 meters long. Then, enjoy a 45-minute and 1-hour stroll through the amazing West Coast Rainforest Tree Tops, listening to the birds and taking in incredible views. For the more adventurous travelers, opt to climb up to the top of the Hokitika Tower that will take you 40 meters above the forest floor. Be inspired by the sensational views over majestic snow-capped mountains, ancient rainforest and the Tasman Sea. Finish your experience back at Treetops cafe where they have a variety of delicious refreshments for purchase.

Queenstown: Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike

2. Queenstown: Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike

Fly over the Southern Alps, home to over 3000 small glaciers. Visit Franz Josef Glacier on the western face of Aoraki/ Mt Cook or the Tasman Glacier on the east side. Enjoy the flexibility of seeing either glacier in case of poor weather conditions on your tour of choice. Check in on arrival at either the Franz Josef Glacier tour or Tasman Glacier tour and get to your helicopter. Have a safety briefing as your equipment is handed out. Go out to a deep part of the glacier via a scenic helicopter flight. Pass over the deep crevasses of the icefalls and waterfalls to land at the upper Franz Josef Icefall. Alternatively, take a scenic helicopter flight over the Tasman Terminal Lake to the Tasman Glacier. Be fitted with crampons for your trek out onto the glacier, exploring ices caves, and seeing the natural, ever-changing wonders of the South Island’s glaciers.

Franz Josef Glacier: 2-Hour Scenic Lake Mapourika Cruise

3. 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.

Charleston: Fully Guided Glow Worm Cave Eco-Tour

4. 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: Full-Day Best Of The West Tour

5. Greymouth: Full-Day Best Of The West Tour

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.

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.

Franz Josef: Franz Josef Glacier Lookout Guided Walk

7. 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: 3-Hour Kayak Tour on Lake Mapourika

8. Franz Josef: 3-Hour Kayak Tour on Lake Mapourika

Gear up for an incredible, three-hour guided kayaking experience. Begin your adventure by meeting your experienced team at the local partner's office in Franz Josef. Join them and your small group on a complimentary transfer out to Lake Mapourika. Glide effortlessly across the water, taking in panoramic views of the Southern Alps, glaciers, and untouched Jurassic rainforest reflected on the glassy waters of Lake Mapourika. Paddle into the heart of the Okarito Kiwi Bird Sanctuary, exploring the protected area with your knowledgeable guide. Tours depart at various times throughout the day. Mornings are often the calmest time of the day on the lake, a perfect choice for photographers looking to capture the beauty of the area. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and an experience not to be missed during your visit to Franz Josef.

Franz Josef: Glacier Helicopter Ride with Snow Landing

9. Franz Josef: Glacier Helicopter Ride with Snow Landing

Board the helicopter at the local partner’s base in Franz Josef, then ascend into the New Zealand's highest mountain range known as the Southern Alps, where panoramic views await. Soar across the sky, passing over the spectacular ice pinnacles and crevasses of Franz Josef Glacier on the way to the snow landing site. Throughout the tour, soak up once-in-a-lifetime views of snow-capped mountains, ancient glacier as well as some of New Zealand’s highest peaks. Arrive at the landing site and take your first steps onto the snowy landscape. Be amazed by the sheer beauty of your surroundings as you are dwarfed by the size of this mountainous West Coast region. Enjoy enough time to take photos and soak up this magical location, then board the helicopter for the return journey to the base. Another view of this amazing and unique glacier formation as you descend back down across temperate rainforest and safe landing back at base.

Greymouth: Franz Josef Glacier & Wildlife Centre Guided Tour

10. 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.

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What people are saying about West Coast, South Island

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 2 reviews

Really accessible for older not quite so mobile people. No steps if you don't choose to go up the tower. The buggy cart dropped us off at the start to avoid the slightly uphill walk to the start where we walked straight onto the walkway. No steps. For the return we walked back but you can choose to have the buggy pick you up. Awesome staff. Fantastic feeling being up there in the treetops. Take as long or as little time as you want. Can really recommend the experience. Enjoyed a nice relaxing coffee at the cafe afterwards.

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.

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

Good value for ticket price, great guides and an awesome experience