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New Zealand West Coast Adventure

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New Zealand West Coast Adventure

Was From $ 2,565 AUD
Now From $ 2,308 AUD
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Description

Explore the narrow strip of South Island land sandwiched between the mountains and the Tasman Sea that’s home to some of the country’s most beautiful places. Millions of years of natural history are right in front of you in wild limestone rock formations, powerful glaciers, rushing rivers and surf pounded coast, while the much more recent stories of the gold and coal rush can be found in the heritage settlements and in the resolute spirit of the coasters. Take in highlights from Reefton to Franz Josef, Pancake Rocks to botanical gins, gold panning to spa soaking. This is a coastal road trip to rival any other.

Trip Name
New Zealand West Coast Adventure
Last Updated
2021-04-15
Days
7
Capacity
12
Highlights
  • Get out and see a different side to the South Island, making the most of the wide-open spaces of the rugged and largely unexplored West Coast.
  • Go deeper into the history of the area with stories of gold miners, panning for gold, and hiking in the Denniston mining area.
  • Help support remote communities with visits (and of course tastings) at local bakeries and distilleries.
  • Take in the magic of the spectacular Franz Josef Glacier region during dips in hot pools weaving through rainforests and a walk around the shimmering Lake Matheson.
  • Witness the stunning, millions of years old scenery at the dramatic Pancake Rocks and the Hokitika Gorge, and spot fur seals of the Tauranga Bay Colony.

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Day 1 - Greymouth to Reefton
Welcome to your Intrepid exploration of the South Island! Your local guide will be waiting at the Greymouth Train Station at 1.30pm – for anyone coming in from Christchurch, the TranzAlpine to Greymouth is considered one of the world’s most beautiful train journeys and is highly recommended. After meeting your leader and fellow travellers, it’s time to hit the road and head to Reefton, a tiny town that punches above its size. Dotted with historic buildings and nods to its gold-mining days, Reefton retains much of its old-school atmosphere. Swing by the Reefton Distillery Co. to learn the story behind their local botanical gins, fruit liqueurs, vodka and whisky, then try some of the locally crafted products yourself at their tasting bar. Round off the day with a group dinner at a local restaurant where your guide will brief you on what lies ahead on the rest of your adventure.
Day 2 - Karamea
Start your day with breakfast at the local bakery – part of the town’s history since 1874 – then hear more of the area’s story from the locals that know it best. Head to a rebuilt miner’s hut and get the tale of how prospectors made their way here after the discovery of a rich vein of gold in the 1860s. Hear what life was like for the miners with these natural storytellers while a blacksmith works the forge in the background. Maybe try your hand at panning your own gold, then farewell Reefton and continue up the coast, with a stop at the wild Cape Foulwind. The headland is home to a fur seal breeding colony so keep your eyes peeled, they can easily blend in with the rocks! Continue on up the coast to Karamea, the largest northern settlement on this side of the island.
Day 3 - Punakaiki
Get your boots on because today’s a walking day. Head down the coast and start with a walk to discover the mining relics along the Charming Creek Walkway. It’s a river walk along an old logging tramway from the 19th century through lower Ngakawau Gorge, taking in a suspension bridge and tumbling Mangatini Falls. Then take in views and history with a walk along the Denniston Plateau, where mining history and viewpoints scatter what was once one of the richest coal seams in Aotearoa. Continue on down to Punakaiki, a town with less than 100 residents, but famed for its so-called Pancake Rocks. These layers of fossilised animals and plants, formed over 30 million years ago, were thrust above the surface by the moving earth and sculpted by wind and water. At high tide the sea is forced through blowholes in the limestone to burst metres into the air – it’s a memorable sight.
Day 4 - Fox Glacier
After breakfast this morning, head out to a place that helped shaped the West Coast – Brunner Mine. Explore the mining relics that tell the story of New Zealand’s most tragic workplace disaster. Then you’ll take a scenic drive down the coast into glacier territory, arriving in the charming Franz Josef township. Fringed by tranquil rainforest, the hot pools here offer an experience like no other, so take a dip this afternoon and let your worries wash away. Carry on to the township of Fox Glacier, set against a truly jaw-dropping backdrop of the Southern Alps, where the group will spend the evening.
Day 5 - Fox Glacier
Kick off the day with a gentle walk around the glittering Lake Matheson, dubbed the ‘mirror lake’ for its dark waters which perfectly reflect the towering Southern Alps – if you take one picture of your West Coast adventure, this should be it! The afternoon is yours to make the most of what this amazing slice of the country has to offer. You may like to book a helicopter ride up to the glaciers, with the potential to add on a hike through the spectacular landscape. There’s also no shortage of interesting walks and cosy pubs if you fancy a more lowkey afternoon – have a chat to your guide about your options for the day.
Day 6 - Hokitika
Travel north to the Okarito Lagoon, alive with the calls of over 70 unique species of birds. Enjoy a wonderful walk around the lagoon with your guide as the snow-capped alps look on, or you may prefer to take an optional guided kayak trip across its still waters. Then you’ll hit the road and carry on to Hokitika – this little town has big personality and is the pounamu (greenstone) centre of New Zealand. On arrival, take a walk through the town as your leader regales you with stories of Hokitika’s notorious goldrush past. The afternoon is free for your own explorations – you may like to check out the workshops of local pounamu artists, visit the National Kiwi Centre or stop by the shipwreck at the Hokitika river mouth. As darkness falls, regroup for an out of this world experience. Take a short walk to the Hokitika Glow Worm Dell, where you can admire these ethereal creatures lighting up a canopy above you.
Day 7 - Greymouth
When dreaming of the West Coast’s beauty, it’s the Hokitika Gorge that springs to most locals’ minds. Shimmering turquoise waters wreathed with lush native bush make a sight to remember, which you’ll soak in during a looped walk of the area. From here you can be dropped off back at Hokitika, for those heading to the airport, or return to Greymouth Train Station, where you’ll have the option to catch the magnificent TranzAlpine train back to Christchurch.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
17-10-202123-10-2021AUD $ 2,308-
14-11-202120-11-2021AUD $ 2,308-
26-12-202101-01-2022AUD $ 2,308-
09-01-202215-01-2022AUD $ 2,308-
06-02-202212-02-2022AUD $ 2,308-
06-03-202212-03-2022AUD $ 2,308-
17-04-202223-04-2022AUD $ 2,308-

Accommodation

Hotel (6 nights)

Transport

Private Vehicle

Map