Lake Matheson - Fox Glacier

Scenic Attractions

Lake Matheson, Fox Glacier


You’ll find nature all around on the West Coast, a dynamic visual feast of wildly varied, untamed scenic wonders and beauty.

From majestic mountain highs to vast underground caverns, via splendid mirror lakes, blue pools and turquoise gorges, ancient native forest and wetland havens to spectacular coastal landforms, it’s no wonder that photographers — and all who visit — love the West Coast!

Mountains & Glaciers

Two iconic glaciers — Franz Josef and Fox — twin rivers of ice terminating just above sea level are a bucket list activity for visitors to Glacier Country.

See New Zealand’s highest peaks, Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mt Tasman, from the other side, take a scenic flight over the mountains or land on a glacier for a thrilling heli-hike.

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Glacier flight

Mirror Lakes & Coastal Lagoons

Famous for stunning mountain reflections, Lake Matheson sets the gold standard for an entire series of wonderfully reflective West Coast lakes and waterways.

Those dark brooding waters and amazing mirror conditions are down to a unique natural combo of rain-washed nutrients flowing from a rich forest floor into the lake.

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Lake Matheson - Fox Glacier

Blue Pools & Turquoise Gorges

When it comes to water, nature paints unique pictures on the West Coast in the surreal turquoise waters framed by the white limestone rocks of the Hokitika and Callery gorges, the powerful, moody Buller / Kawatiri River and the wild aquamarine rivers of the Haast World Heritage Area.

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Tourism West Coast - Hokitika Gorge (5).jpg

Beaches & Coastal Scenery

Travel the Great Coast Road — one of the world’s greatest road trips acclaimed by Lonely Planet — and discover dramatic coastal landscapes, extraordinary limestone formations, craggy cliffs, palm-filled forest glades, sublime bays and uncrowded, sandy beaches.

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The Great Coast Road

Ancient Forests & Secret Caves

Take a walk in the woods through peaceful alpine beech forests, groves of rustling nīkau palms, soaring kahikatea swamp forests, ancient virgin UNESCO World Heritage wilderness and verdant rainforests hiding a prehistoric subterranean underworld.

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Franz Josef bush rainforest

National Parks

The West Coast is a jewel in New Zealand’s conservation crown.

Covering a quarter of New Zealand’s entire conservation estate, the West Coast encompasses or includes significant portions of five vast national parks, a major forest park, wetlands and multiple rare wildlife sanctuaries; it is also the western gateway to the great Te Wāhipounamu South West New Zealand World Heritage Area.

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