West Coast, South Island
Outdoor Activities

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Our most recommended West Coast, South Island Outdoor Activities

Greymouth: Full-Day West Coast Tour with Hokitika Gorge

1. 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

2. 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

3. 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.

Franz Josef: 3-Hour Kayak Tour on Lake Mapourika

4. 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: Kayak & Walking Tour to Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary

5. Franz Josef: Kayak & Walking Tour to Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary

Enjoy a scenic kayaking tour across Lake Mapourika and onto the ancient soils of the protected Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary. 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. Head out onto the water and take 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. Discover a prehistoric rainforest, abundant birdlife, and the home of the rarest Kiwi on the planet. Throughout your tour, enjoy complimentary tea and coffee. Enjoy multiple fantastic photo opportunities, and have your guide take complimentary photos of you as you paddle and hike to the sanctuary.

Greymouth: Franz Josef Glacier & Wildlife Centre Guided Tour

6. 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

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 Glacier: 2.5-Hour Lake Mapourika Cruise and Walk

8. 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

The cruise was nice and perfectly relaxing. Looking back the alpine background as you paddle towards the peninsula gives a unique tranquility base. The guide is very knowlegeable about the wildlife and the environment. I would not have appreciated a lot of local knowledge and fieldcraft survival if she did not show us. The guide looked after not only our comfort and safety but also in making sure the whole trip was recorded in digital photo without a charge. It very unique experience worth the time and the price.

Tour guide David was fantastic. Very knowledgeable and took us to locations off the main track for some amazing sights.

The best kayaking I've done, the weather was amazing, our guide was very informative

Awesome day and a knowledgable, relaxed host - thanks David.

A wonderful morning with a great guide - well worthwhile!