Walking West Coast
8 Days 7 Nights
Immerse yourself in the natural beauty and history of the famous West Coast with 8 days of easy walking
Day 1 Christchurch to Flock Hill
You depart from Christchurch and travel along the Great Alpine Highway to Castle Hill where you walk amidst the distinctive limestone rock formations. You will continue your journey with an afternoon on Flock Hill. This working high country sheep station was part of the movie set for the climactic battle between Aslan’s forces and the powerful army of the White Witch in... The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
“Most remarkable was the battle scene filmed at Flock Hill Station which shows off New Zealand’s uninhibited beauty...” – Reuters.
*(During lambing season walkers will instead walk in the Craigieburn Forest Park)
Click to enlarge
Day 2 Flock Hill to Greymouth
A short walk before breakfast takes you to a spectacular view of Lake Pearson which is situated at the base of the foothills of the Southern Alps. After breakfast you will begin your walk along the Bealey Track in Arthur’s Pass where you will be guided up the Bealey River to the base of Mt Rolleston. The group will stop to enjoy the scenery and a picnic lunch together.
The Dobson Nature Walk is the next experience along the trail. You will pass through colourful alpine vegetation, tussock, and wetlands while enjoying the view of mountains and valleys towering in the distance.
You will then explore some of the old goldmining relics on the Goldsborough Track near Kumara. This historic walk takes you through a wonderful array of West Coast ferns, with some of the best remaining examples of hill country rimu and miro. You can try your hand at gold panning.
You are then guided along the Tunnel Loop Walk where you will see an outstanding display of hand dug goldminers’ tunnels.
Tonight, enjoy the best of West Coast hospitality, with a relaxing evening at your Lodge accommodation.
Day 3 Greymouth to Punakaiki
Your day begins by exploring the ‘Jewel of the West Coast’, the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blowholes. You will walk around these spectacular limestone formations that were created over 30 million years ago. The timing of this walk will coincide with high tide so that you can see the huge water spouts that blast from the crevices in the rocks, a truly spectacular and breathtaking sight.
The Truman Track is the next stop on the trail. You will be guided through lush coastal rainforest and capture fantastic views of the coastline.
From there you walk along the Cave Creek Track , in the fascinating heart of the Paparoa National Park.
You will stay in high quality West Coast lodge accommodation amongst the nikau palms, with magnificent coast scenery, and enjoy an entertaining evening meal.
Day 4 Punakaiki to Hokitika
Your adventure continues this morning, after breakfast, with the Pororari River Walk, where you will experience spectacular West Coast native rainforest and broad limestone canyons, while walking alongside the lovely Pororari River. The track passes through dense sub-tropical forest of coastal broadleaf, tree ferns and towering rata. Once this walk is finished we head to the Hokitka Gorge to experience one of the most spectacular places on the West Coast.
Tonight we stay in Hokitika
Day 5 Hokitika to Franz Josef
We depart from Hokitika on a short scenic drive to Ross.
Ross is a small West Coast town where New Zealand’s largest gold nugget, “The Honourable Roddy” was found. Your guide will take you on an expedition along the Water Race Walkway, which is an historic gold trail that winds its way up the hill behind the township.
Stride through the regenerating bush and pass a network of water races that supplied water to the sluicing operations of the Ross Goldfields. There will be an opportunity to pan for gold here. Enjoy a picnic lunch before starting the Hari Hari Coastal Walk. Following the old packhorse tracks alongside the Wanganui River you will experience a mixture of bush and beach walking.
Tonight you will enjoy an evening meal in the interesting alpine village of Franz Josef, nestled at the foot of the Southern Alps.
Day 6 Franz Josef to Okarito to Franz Josef
This morning’s walk will start in Okarito, a small coastal settlement surrounded by the panorama of ocean, tidal estuary, sea cliffs, lush forest and unsurpassed views of the Southern Alps.
Indulge in amazing panoramic views of the Westland National Park coastline before your guide leads you along the inland route, and then over the Kohuamarua Bluff. This is a great spot to meander through towering rimu, rata and silver pine forest, before dropping down to a quiet sheltered lagoon.
After lunch you can take a peek inside the hut on the old jetty at Okarito. Here you can view old photos of the area and there is a storyboard illustrating the history of Okarito. We then go on an exclusive boat tour on the lagoon and hear about and see the abundant flora and fauna of the area
Enjoy another night in Franz Josef village and a great meal with your group.
Todays itinerary maty be reversed as the walk is tide dependant.
Day 7 Franz Josef to Fox Glacier
This morning depart on foot from the centre of Franz Josef township, your guide will lead the group along the Te Ara a Waiau Walkway. The track heads into the forest on the left-hand side of the road for a short time, before re-emerging from the forest and crossing the glacier valley access road. From this point you begin the Franz Josef Glacier Walk, following a rocky path over the riverbed and along the track that will take you close to the ice. (Dependant on conditions) From here it is back to the carpark and all aboard for Fox Glacier
This afternoon you will view the dramatic ice on the Fox Glacier Walk. After inspecting ice in the river and enjoying the boulder hopping, you view the striking terminal ice face, which is a spectacular experience.
With a very unique and diverse day of walking under your belt you overnight in the town of Fox Glacier and enjoy restaurant dining with fantastic views of the area.
Day 8 Fox Glacier to Hokitika
Today is the final day of your walking tour, before breakfast, you will take in truly stunning vistas on the Lake Matheson Walk. Your group will stroll along a very pleasant track with plenty of viewing platforms for capturing the famous mirror images of Mount Cook, Tasman and La Perous from different angles.
The lake is nestled in ancient forest in the Te Wahipounamu South-West New Zealand World Heritage Area, which includes the Westland Tai Pountini National Park. The lake was formed over 14,000 years ago when the Fox Glacier retreated from its last major advance towards the sea and left a depression which later filled with water.
After your walk around Lake Matheson you will enjoy a hearty and much deserved breakfast before setting off back to Hokitika. Your tour, finishes in Hokitika.
Return to Christchurch by:
The TranzAlpine Railway - rated ‘one of the top 6 train rides in the world’ and highly recommended by Tuatara Tours. From your carriage you will enjoy stunning views of farmland, gorges, river valleys, lush beech forests and the Southern Alps. (4 hours) (addtional cost) or
Tuatara Tours Coach (4 hours)(no additional cost)
Ask our team for details.
If you wish to continue your stay in the West Coast region or explore another area of the South Island there are hire car facilities in nearby Greymouth.