Let nature inspire your weekend escape with spectacular wild landscapes, fresh air activities and the freshest local cuisine. The West Coast has the perfect menu for a get-away-from-it-all short motorhome or campervan break.
No matter whether you arrive over Arthur’s Pass from Christchurch, down through the Haast UNESCO World Heritage Area from Wanaka or via the Buller Gorge from Nelson, there’s an outstanding scenic road trip to start the adventure.
Follow roads less travelled into dramatic and awe-inspiring landscapes, take time out in remote beauty spots to explore the trails and scenic highlights, and park up for the night in a beachside holiday spot or in a DOC-managed scenic gem well away from the crowds.
A hanging lake in a hidden valley of the remote, pristine UNESCO World Heritage Area of Te Wahipounamu South West New Zealand.
When it comes to unspoiled landscapes, it’s hard to go past Haast — and you shouldn’t. Stop off here to discover this precious UNESCO World Heritage Area, Te Wahipounamu South Westland — gateway to wild beaches, wide blue rivers fringed by dense virgin rainforest, amazing wildlife. Watch out for tawaki crested penguins at the beach, alpine kea, forest birds, tiny Hector’s dolphins in the surf – and take care not to disturb them.
Haast River Motels & Holiday Park — motels, powered & non-powered sites
Lake Paringa DOC campsite — non-powered sites, boating, fishing, swimming
Wilderness hiking — Haast walks
Trout and salmon fishing — Lake Paringa, Lake Moeraki, Bruce Bay
Scenic flights — Haast
Fox and Franz Glaciers offer the most accessible glacier hiking experiences in the world.
No question, these twin glaciers are a truly unique phenomenon — the only place in the world where ice rivers penetrate into rain forest and culminate just a few kilometres from the coast. If you want to explore this icy landscape, it’s a short, scenic helicopter ride up onto the ice for the heli hike experience of a lifetime. But there are also plenty of other natural highlights, walks and hikes to pull over and discover in glacier country.
Fox Glacier TOP 10 Holiday Park — motels, cabins, powered sites
Franz Josef TOP 10 Holiday Park — motels, cabins, powered sites
Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef — motels, cottages, powered sites
Monsoon Bar & Restaurant at Franz Josef
Betsey Jane Bar & Eatery at Fox Glacier
Lake Matheson Cafe, Fox Glacier
Walk, kayak or cruise — Franz Josef Wilderness Tours
Scenic walks and hikes — Franz Josef, Fox Glaciers
Conservation — National Kiwi Centre, Franz Josef
Relax — Waiho Hot Tubs, Franz Josef
Kayaking across Ōkārito Lagoon — a tranquil wetland haven for rare birdlife with a stunning mountain backdrop.
New Zealand’s largest unmodified wetland, Ōkārito Lagoon is a tranquil haven for a huge variety of birdlife including the elusive kotuku white heron and rare rowi kiwi. While the best way to experience the lagoon is in a kayak, there are also some lovely walks leading to stunning coastal and alpine scenery. Further north, the Harihari Coastal Trail is an easy walk in a spectacular landscape or follow the tracks through the old Ross Goldfields.
Ross Beach Top 10 Holiday Park, Ross — beachfront container pods, cabins, powered sites
Otto MacDonalds DOC Campsite, Lake Mapourika — lakeside beauty, non-powered sites
Ōkārito Campground — rustic and friendly, non-powered sites
Cafe at the Red Sheds, Ōkārito (great coffee and baking)
Kayaking & Boating — Okarito Kayaks
Biking — West Coast Wilderness Trail starts at Ross
Gold panning — Ross Goldfields
Standing out from the crowd! The historic Hokitika Firestation is a boutique accommodation with five stylish apartments in the centre of town.
Culture, art, literature, heritage, and a landscape to inspire your own creative juices, the ‘cool little town’ of Hokitika has all the ingredients for a satisfying arty, foodie escape. Start at the beach, a wild rugged beauty spot and home to the annual Driftwood and Sand Festival — along with the iconic Hokitika sign, you may find other fanciful driftwood artworks still on display, then check out the pounamu artist workshops, glassblowing studio and a tasty selection of eateries and bars in town.
Hokitika Holiday Park — cabins, motels, powered sites
Hokitika Kiwi Holiday Park — motels, cabins, powered sites
Goldsborough DOC Campsite — non-powered sites
Fat Pipi Pizza, Hokitika for whitebait pizza
Gatherer Wholefoods, Hokitika for plant-based cuisine
Hokitika Sandwich Company for the best sandwiches
Pounamu / greenstone carvers — Waewae Pounamu
Artist studio — Hokitika Glass Studio
Walking — Hokitika Gorge
Conservation — West Coast Treetops Walkway
Biking — West Coast Wilderness Trail
Wildfoods Festival — next edition March 2024
Beautiful on any day and in any season, Lake Matheson is renowned for its picture-postcard alpine reflections.
Tranquil, mirror lakes are an outstanding feature of the West Coast’s mountains to sea landscape. Beyond Lake Matheson with its famed picture postcard mirror images, there are other lesser known gems that also come with breathtaking alpine reflections, beautiful wilderness trails and lovely lakeside camping spots — DOC’s 11 West Coast wilderness campsites include five perfect lakeside locations. Within easy reach of Greymouth and Hokitika, Lakes Brunner/Moana, Kaniere and Mahinapua offer fishing (trout), boating, easy to moderate walking and biking trails, and glorious night sky viewing.
Lake Brunner Motor Camp — cabins, powered & non-powered sites
Lake Brunner Country Motel & Holiday Park — cabins, cottages, powered & non-powered sites
Hans Bay - Lake Kaniere DOC Campsite — non-powered sites
Lake Mahinapua campsite — non-powered sites
Greymouth Kiwi Holiday Park & Motels — motels, cabins, powered & unpowered sites
Greymouth Seaside TOP 10 Holiday Park — motels, cabins, powered & unpowered sites
Monteith’s Brewery and Cafe, Greymouth
Formerly the Blackball Hilton, Blackball
Theatre Royal Hotel, Kumara
Mitchell’s Restaurant & Bar, Inchbonnie, Lake Brunner