Westland: land of ice dragons

Some locals say that people who move to Westland are either running away or in search of something.


A helicopter is dwarfed by the vast landscapes of Fox Glacier. © Tourism West Coast

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Lake Matheson: the perfect mirror

If you find yourself on the West Coast in a reflective mood, you’ll also find you’re in good company. Read the story . . . 

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Walking

Te Ara a Waiau Walkway/Cycleway

Walk or cycle through bush from Franz Josef township to the Franz Josef Glacier car park.  Read the story . . . 

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Waiau Glacier Coast Marine Reserve

Fed by two lagoons and the Waiho River, the Waiau Glacier Coast Marine Reserve forms a protective buffer for waterways and wetlands.   Read the story . . . 

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Activities

The Grand Traverse: a spectacular flight of fancy

The Grand Traverse is a stunning scenic flight that explores the Aoraki Mt Cook and Westland Tai Poutini national park, covering about 200km of unforgettable scenery. Read the story . . . 

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The Blue Pools of Haast Pass

Māori knew about the glacial defile between the coastal flats of South Westland and the high tussock-land surrounding the southern lakes from their expeditions in search of pounamu.  Read the story . . . 

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Westland Tai Poutini National Park: ancient ice

Westland Tai Poutini is an area of majestic primeval vistas: snow-capped mountains, glistening glaciers, forests, lakes, rivers and wetlands. Read the story . . . 

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Westland: land of ice dragons

Like an unfurling, white dragon, the Franz Josef Glacier flexes and curves between steep-walled valleys. Māori named it Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere – tears of the Avalanche Girl. Read the story . . . 

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South Westland: a wonder of the world

The bottom left-hand corner of our little country, South Westland, is a world-renowned UNESCO World Heritage area. Read the story . . . 

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Loved by the locals: Central West Coast

Find great walking tracks, picturesque lakes, historic townships and a dramatic coastline around the South Island's Central West Coast. Read the story . . . 

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Activities

Hanmer Springs: alpine adventures and indulgence

There’s not much better than lounging in hot mineral water when the ground around you is covered with snow and there’s a biting southerly blowing down from the tops. Read the story . . . 

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Ōpārara Basin: limestone caves with cathedral-like passages and magnificent arches

Discover pristine rainforest, limestone caves with cathedral-like passages and magnificent, magical arches at the Ōpārara Basin in Kahurangi National Park. Read the story . . . 

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Road trips

Great Coast Road: roadtripping at its best

Drive the length of the South Island, skirting the West Coast and traversing through the Southern Alps, and experience bountiful roadtripping at its very best. Read the story . . . 

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Free things to do

Denniston: a real ghost-town experience

Take a detour back in time to Denniston, a near-deserted mining town on a bleak, windswept 600-metre plateau, home to the infamous 45-degree Denniston Incline. Read the story . . . 

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Ōkārito Lagoon: wonderful wetland wilderness

Explore the lagoon and river channels by kayak and journey through this divine wetland wilderness into the heart of the rainforest. Read the story . . . 

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The Lake Matheson walk: a photographer's dream

Lake Matheson is a photographer’s dream, where the waters reflect a near-perfect image of snow-capped Aoraki Mount Cook. Read the story . . . 

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