Some of the West Coast’s attractions are majestic mountains, sparse population, and beautiful, crystal clear lakes. West Coast is isolated from the rest of the South Island by the Southern Alps. It contains the largest area of protected land in whole New Zealand. New Zealand’s only source of jade is found on the west coast. Main towns of the West Coast are Greymouth, Westport and Hokitika. Each town has its own unique character and rich history. For the scenery, which is one of the most spectacular in New Zealand, head to the Westland Glacier Country and visit Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers.
I recommend taking a TranzAlpine train from Christchurch (on the East Coast) to Greymouth – this ride is just magical… I have no other words for it. Train goes through Arthur’s Pass National Park, which is in my opinion one of the most beautiful places on the South Island.
Short list of places on the West Coast that I recommend to visit:
- Lake Brunner
- West Coast beaches (especially at sunset)
- Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers
- Pancake Rocks and blowholes – world famous place
- Cape Foulwind Seal Colony - Photo
Of course there are much more to do on the West Coast of the South Island of NZ, here I picked my favorites. In my next post I’ll write about walking tracks on the West Coast.
West Coast Facts
- Average summer temperature is 19.5 degrees Celsius.
- Average winter temperature is 12.5 degrees Celsius.
- There is average of 1845 sunshine hours per year.
- Annual rainfall is 2575mm.