West Coast, South Island
Outdoor Sports

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Our most recommended West Coast, South Island Outdoor Sports

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: 2.5-Hour Hike with Helicopter Transfer

2. Franz Josef Glacier: 2.5-Hour Hike with Helicopter Transfer

Your journey starts at the glacier base in Franz Josef Town, where the friendly team will check you in. Get kitted out with the essential gear and listen to a safety briefing. Once you are ready, your guide will take you an on a short walk through native forest to the helipad to board the helicopter. After a thrilling scenic flight high above rugged terrain, land on Franz Josef Glacier and set off on 2.25-hour guided hike. With an eye for the most spectacular ice formations, your guide will lead you through some of the most awe-inspiring glacier scenery New Zealand has to offer. Each trip is tailored to the ability of your group, as well as the conditions on the day of your tour. During the hike, your guide will tell you stories about the local area and share their knowledge of the glacier and surrounding terrain. The glacier's features are constantly changing, so you might find yourself sliding through a narrow crevasse or between towering walls of ice, crawling through blue ice tunnels, hanging out in ice caves, or witnessing the glacier calving. You can be sure that you're seeing the glacier in a unique state and no two tours are ever quite the same.

Queenstown: Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike

3. 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.

Hokitika: West Coast Treetop Walkway Entrance Ticket

4. 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.

Greymouth: Full-Day West Coast Tour with Hokitika Gorge

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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: Off-Road Adventure in the 'Enchanted Rainforest'

8. Greymouth: Off-Road Adventure in the 'Enchanted Rainforest'

Set off on a 1-hour Enchanted Forest tour and be taken across the farmlands before entering the breathtakingly beautiful natural rainforest. As your professional guide navigates winding trails to the heart of the forest, become immersed in tranquility as rays of light penetrate through the trees and expose vibrant colors. On your off-road adventure, admire the native greenery in an area that captures and showcases the essence of what makes the West Coast region so unique to New Zealand. These tours have been in operation since 1998 and are situated on 250 acres of land that's been family-owned since 1917. The legendary lead guide Mike is the 3rd generation on the land and has extensive knowledge of the rich cultural history that still remains. Enjoy a flexible adventure catering for any level of experience so that everyone from ages 3 to 103 can have an amazing time.

Greymouth: Franz Josef Glacier & Wildlife Centre Guided Tour

9. 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

10. 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.

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What people are saying about West Coast, South Island

It was a beautiful scenic walk that truly captured the canopies. i would recommend that if you are after adventure amongst the treetops without all the scratches and callus' that this is just right. Its a short trip and the 360-degree views really capture what is not often seen. This is an experience to remember

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!

Very professionally run - everyone was super friendly and our guide Andrew was top notch. Knowledgeable, friendly with a great sense of humour. He made sure we had the best experience possible

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

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