Touring Routes

West Coast Eco Tour

Enjoy the West Coast with a sustainable, eco-friendly approach.




6 days


637 mi / 1026 km


All year round

Day One

2 hours 55 mins, 226 km

Day 1: Christchurch to Maruia

Drive through to Maruia via State Highway 7.

Once you arrive at Maruia Hot Springs, relax and unwind in one of their three natural mineral hot pools. Go for a short walk or hike in the area, enjoy the tranquility or opt in for one of their Wellness Retreats.

Around Westport and Karamea

Day Two

3 hours 49 mins, 260 km

Day 2: Maruia to Karamea

Escape the hustle and bustle by heading to Karamea via State Highway 67.

Make a stop along the way at Buller Gorge to take in its stunning views or go for a zip line adventure over its waters.

Explore Cape Foulwind Walkway and Denniston Plateau before calling it a night at either Gentle Annie or the Rough & Tumble Lodge

Around Westport and Karamea

Day Three

2 hours 14 mins, 152 km

Day 3: Oparara to Punakaiki

Start your morning with The Oparara Experience in Karamea. Take in the 40-million year old arches and the untouched Oparara Basin.

Head back towards Westport on State Highway 6 and stop in at Charleston for a Glow Worm tour

End the day in Punakaiki with a sunset view over Pancake Rocks & Blowholes.

Retire for the night at either Hydrangea Cottages (all made from locally sourced timber) or splurge on an eco suite at Punakaiki Resort

Around Westport and Karamea

Day Four

1 hour 27 mins, 110 km

Day 4: Punakaiki to Ross

Head south on State Highway 6 towards Hokitika. Carve your own jade necklace at Bonz N Stonz or experience a cultural tour with Arahura Greenstone Tours

If you choose to do a tour with Hokitika Scenic Tours, you can plant a native tree. Choose from Kahikatea, Manuka, Totara, NZ Flax (Harakeke), Wineberry.

All funds raised go towards purchasing Goodnature humane automated traps for placement in our Westland forests.

On completion a certificiate of appreciation will be presented. This is an optional extra experience.

Walk 20 metres high amongst the trees at Treetop Walk & Cafe, or sail the waters of Lake Mahinapua at sunset with West Coast Scenic Waterways.

Call in to Ross Beach Top 10 Holiday Park and stay in one of their upcycled shipping container pods. If you want to cover more ground, stay the night at the luxurious Paramata Lodge

Take one of their guided nature tours the following morning.

Around Hokitika

Day Five

2 hours 7 mins, 157 km

Day 5: Hokitika to Fox Glacier

Make your way south to Fox Glacier on State Highway 6. If it's the season for it, stop in at Whataroa for a White Heron Sanctuary Tour

This is is the only nesting site for White Heron (Kotuku) in New Zealand.

After that, go for a guided kayak tour with either Okarito Kayaks or Glacier Country Kayaks near Franz Josef.

Stop in at West Coast Wildlife Centre to find out more about their Kiwi Breeding Programme.

Venture onto the glacier valley walk at Franz Josef (or arrange a guided tour with Glacier Valley Eco Tours).

Jump out of a plane with Skydive Franz or Fox, New Zealand's first CarboNZero certified nationwide aviation tourism operator.

End off the day with a guided eco tour of Lake Matheson with Glacier Valley Eco Tours

Relax and unwind at Heartland Hotel Glacier Country

Around Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier

Day Six

1 hour 32 mins, 121 km

Day 6: Fox Glacier to Haast

From Mahitahi you can choose to spend another night on the West Coast at Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki

In Spring and Summer they are home to the Tawaki Penguin and offer guided penguin tours. There are also plenty of walks in the area as well as kayak options.

If you must make hast, make sure you stop along Haast Pass for their lovely short walks, waterfalls and blue pools on your way to Wanaka.

Around Haast

Itinerary Map

About the author

Submitted, Visitor

Submitted by a West Coast visitor