Immerse yourself in the natural beauty and history of the famous West Coast with 8 days of easy walking
Walking West Coast is a walking adventure that departs from Christchurch and takes you on a discovery of the alpine pass area through to the Wild West Coast of New Zealand
With eight days of unique West Coast walks, you experience a diverse range of rugged and dramatic landscapes including tussock lands, alpine bush, Franz Josef and Fox glaciers, historical gold trails, wondrous coastal beaches, captivating lakes and luxuriant West Coast rainforests.
Some of the short walks are in the spectacular Te Wahipounamu South West New Zealand World Heritage Area.
7-12 Day Tour
8 days / 7 nights
An average level of fitness. Walk 7kms, Bike 25kms. Well formed tracks and roads with very little incline.
We can build a tour especially for your group, please enquire for dates available.
Christchurch to Arthurs Pass
3.5 hours approximately
You depart from Christchurch and travel along the Great Alpine Highway to Castle Hill where you walk amidst the distinctive limestone rock formations.
From here you travel to Arthurs Pass where we visit the Department of Conservation Visitor Centre and learn all about the history of this fascinating area before you undertake a local walk which will be decided on the day by the guide.
Tonight you stay in comfortable motels in Arthurs Pass.
Arthurs Pass to Greymouth
5 hours approximately
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 gold mining 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 gold miners’ tunnels.
Tonight, enjoy the best of West Coast hospitality, with a relaxing evening at your Lodge accommodation.
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.
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 Hokitika Gorge to experience one of the most spectacular places on the West Coast.
Tonight we stay in Hokitika. Your evening meal is not included tonight so you can relax in the hotel this evening or enjoy your choice from local options in Hokitika (the local fish and chips are very good!)
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.
Franz Josef to Okarito
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 may be reversed as the walk is tide dependant.
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.
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.
Double or twin share. If single room accommodation is requested, an additional fee per person is payable to cover this requirement for the duration of the tour.
You will enjoy great local cuisine; continental breakfasts and hearty packed lunches during the day, and either restaurant meals or wholesome home-cooked fare prepared by your host/hostess in the evenings.If you have any dietary issues or food allergies, we are happy to cater for these, please advise the office of details when you make your booking. All meals are included in your tour cost except your evening meal on Night Four in Hokitika. Wine and other beverages are available to be purchased during dinners.
Tuatara Tours transports all your luggage for the duration of the tour.
All you carry is a small day pack with your personal gear, drink and lunch. We do the rest
To ensure you get the very best out of your journey with the least of fuss, we provide you with a kit bag full of useful goodies.
This will be given to you at the start of your tour.
Our guides are very experienced, friendly walkers and bikers who love to share their knowledge of New Zealand’s flora and fauna and local history. They all hold current first aid certificates, passenger driving licences and are the very best people to ensure your experience will be one to remember.
To ensure maximum safety for all, our guides are certified first aiders and fully qualified drivers. Tuatara Tours operate under a Safety and Risk Management Plan which is regularly audited and approved by a qualified and independent auditor.