West coast

Getting here

There are three main ways to get to the West Coast, depending on where you're coming from. Each offers a stunning blend of scenery to please even the most picky nature-lover.

Great Coast Road New Zealand

Travelling around the West Coast of the Southern Alps, New Zealand is an experience in itself.

The state highways and roads are well maintained, but are often winding and offer a wealth of scenic views, so take your time and take it in.

How to get to the West Coast of New Zealand

Distances and times to the West Coast

Wellington to Westport

  • Fly with Sounds Air 40 minutes.
  • Ferry Wellington to Picton 3.5 hours.
  • Drive Picton to Westport 3.55 hours.

Nelson to Westport

  • Drive 3.8 hours.
  • Bus 4 hours.

Christchurch to Greymouth

  • Drive 3.25 hours.
  • Train 4.5 hours.
  • Bus 4.15 hours.

Christchurch to Hokitika

  • Fly 45 min with Air New Zealand.
  • Bus 6.10 hours.
  • Train 4.5 hours + 34 min by car.
  • Drive 3.45 hours.

Queenstown to Franz Josef

  • Drive 4.4 hours.
  • Bus 8.5 hours.

West Coast State Highway and road conditions

For State Highway and Road closure information and road/weather warnings, visit the New Zealand Transport Authority's website for accurate, up to date information on all West Coast roads and to register for On The Move email alerts.

Highways and passes include:

  • State Highway 6.
  • Lewis Pass.
  • Arthur's Pass.
  • Haast Pass.

West Coast flights

  • Flights operate daily with Air New Zealand between Christchurch and Hokitika.
  • Flights operate daily with Sounds Air between Wellington and Westport.

The TranzAlpine train journey

  • The TranzAlpine runs return between Christchurch and Greymouth on a daily basis.

West Coast touring routes

There's something for everyone on the West Coast. Have a look at some of our great itineraries for some ideas:

Check out the top of the south

Mountains, forests and beaches, wildlife, art and wine meet to create magic at the Top of the South Island. Discover some of New Zealand’s most awe-inspiring scenery, encounter fascinating people, and enjoy exceptional food and wine.


An eco tour

Enjoy the West Coast with a sustainable, eco-friendly approach.


The ultimate West Coast trip

This touring route will take you through the entire West Coast of New Zealand, stopping by some of our famous iconic spots.


One for the history lovers

If you love to discover gems and tales of old, there's plenty of history and heritage to soak up on the West Coast. The region early Maori called Te Tai O Poutini was valued for its precious pounamu jade. Later, Europeans came in search of other rich resources such as gold, coal and timber.