The West Coast is the perfect getaway for couples to relax, unwind and explore.
1 hr 29 min, 122 km
After a day exploring the Waipara wine region in Canterbury, meander through the breath-taking Lewis Pass to Maruia Hot Springs, your stay for the night. A combination of mineral-rich hot pools, relaxing day spa and cosy accommodation, this award-winning wellness destination is ideal for switching off and spending some quality time together.
Soak in hot pools under the tranquil tree-clad mountains of the Lewis Pass National Reserve, enjoy a couples’ massage, or explore the many short walks nearby. Stay a night, or two, to really unwind.
1 hr 48 min, 139 km
First stop, Reefton. A pretty little former gold rush town, with an array of heritage buildings now housing quirky shops, charming hotels and places to eat and drink. Visit Reefton Distilling Co. for a tour and sip of their tasty gin, made with locally foraged botanicals and West Coast rain water. The local visitor centre has a little replica mine and plenty of helpful tips for exploring the vast Victoria Conservation Park surrounding Reefton on foot or by mountain bike.
Near Westport, walk the Cape Foulwind Walkway to New Zealand’s largest fur seal colony. Adventurous couples will enjoy the magical experience of floating through caves lit up by thousands of glow-worms at Underworld Adventures.
1 hr 58 min, 140 km
Head south on the Great Coast Road, voted one of the world's most scenic coastal drives by Lonely Planet.
Experience nature at work at the most visited attraction on the West Coast, the Pancake Rocks & Blowholes. Here surreal stacks of limestone tower out of the Tasman Sea, which blasts and thumps through blowholes at high tide.
If you’re searching for solitude, there’s plenty to be found in the surrounding Paparoa National Park, with its many long and short walks. Hide away at one of Punakaiki’s boutique accommodations, including the impossibly romantic cliff-top Woodpecker Hut (wood-fired hot tub included).
Stop for a bite and a stroll around the shops and art galleries in Greymouth. In arty Hokitika, treat each other to a locally carved pounamu piece, or take a sunset stroll along the long sandy beach. Venture inland to the iconic Hokitika Gorge, where the fast flowing river is turned turquoise by ground-up glacial sediments.
1 hr 45 min, 134 km
Bring a bottle of wine aboard a sunset cruise of lovely Lake Mahinapua with West Coast Scenic Waterways. Ancient native trees, flourishing bird life and snow-capped mountains provide a backdrop to this peaceful potter through the waterways. Stay the night and take a ride on the West Coast Wilderness Trail in the morning.
There’s more water to explore en route to Franz Josef, stop in at Ōkārito for a gentle paddle or cruise through New Zealand’s largest unmodified wetland. Framed by lush forest and snow-capped peaks, the lagoon is home to many rare bird species including the elegant kōtuku / white heron.
Franz Josef township is a great base from which to explore the glaciers. Take a hike on ice or scenic flight, then retreat to a luxury tree house at Rainforest Retreat. Soak in your own private spa pool under the stars, or book a tub at the wood-fired Waiho Hot Tubs.