The West Coast of New Zealand is an untamed natural wilderness. With scenery so stunning it takes your breath away. It takes a while to get around the largest region in New Zealand, but the journey is the best bit.
From the highest of mountains and stunning coastal scenery to copious rainforests and absolutely everything in between – you’re just spoilt for choice all of the way.
We have crafted a truly unforgettable 8 day adventure of the West Coast, come join on us this wild and rugged tour!
Depart Whanganui Racecourse at 9am and make our way south to Wellington to catch our early afternoon flight to Queenstown. We will have a quick morning tea stop in Levin before continuing our way to the Wellington airport. You will have time to get yourself some lunch before we board the flight.
Once landed your tour leader will help you collect your luggage and load up the coach. We then make our way into Queenstown and check in to our excellent lakeside accommodation. You will have some free time to explore the lakeside town or the nearby botanical gardens before meeting back for a delicious group meal.
Accommodation: Novotel Lakeside
We have a leisurely start to the day and after breakfast we start heading west towards the coast. During the mornings amazing scenic drive, we will be stopping along the way to take in the special spots with great photo opportunities of Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka, before arriving at Makarora on the eastern side of the Haast Pass.
We will be treated to a scrumptious lunch upon arrival then spend some time in this small wilderness hub at the northern tip of Lake Wanaka, to allow you to take in this spectacular area.
To make the most of it you have the option of taking a scenic flight over Mt Aspiring, Mt Cook or the magnificent Milford Sound. Please note this is an extra optional activity which will be at your own expense.
If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, then you have the chance to take one of the best short walks in the region to the tranquil Blue Pools. You will need to be confident in your ability to walk 3km in around an hours’ time frame. The other more relaxing option is to visit the DOC office and view the interesting displays and information on the Mt Aspiring National Park, or simply sit back and ‘take it easy’ in the cozy café enjoying the views.
We then hit the road to tackle the Hasst Pass and after we pass through the Gates of Haast we stop to view Thunder Creek Falls before continuing following the Hasst River to the coast.
When we arrive in Haast we visit the great DOC office to view the informative displays on the Te Wāhipounamu World Heritage Area. We arrive at our hotel with plenty of time to unwind and settle in for our first night on the coast enjoying another lovely group dinner.
Accommodation: Heartland hotel
Another relaxing start to the day before we take a short drive south to the Waiatoto River. Here we gear up and board NZ’s top-rated Jet Boat tour taking a river safari up a remote back country river into UNESCO World Heritage area (suitable for all ages). We learn about the pioneering spirit of days gone by, early Maori history and later, the harshness of the wilderness that faced the European settlers. There is an optional walk through ancient beech forest untouched by man for thousands of years before we sit down to enjoy a true West Coast style BBQ lunch.
After this exciting morning we slow the pace and carry on south to the end of the road to the fishing village of Jackson Bay. This bay is splendidly isolated - there are more resident seals and penguins than people. We take in the scenery while we wander the village before making our way back to our accommodation.
Accommodation: Heartland hotel
This morning we head north for a short drive to our first stop, Ship Creek. Here you have the choice of a short swamp forest or windswept sand dune board walk that will give you a real taste of the wild West Coast. If you prefer you can relax and enjoy the beach and search for your own Pounamu.
Continuing north we stop at Knights point lookout for the amazing coastal views then head through to South Westland Salmon farm for our morning tea. Back on the bus we will have a brief stop at Bruce Bay before arriving at Fox Glacier. Here we head down to Lake Matheson where we have a great lunch with Mt Cook as our backdrop.
After lunch you are given the chance to get a great view of Fox Glacier itself with an optional Helicopter flight (at your own expense). Or you can also walk some or all of the 2.6km loop track around the majestic Lake Matheson. For those keen on more of a relaxing afternoon there is the highly rated Reflection NZ Gifts and Gallery which showcases a carefully selected, contemporary range of wares with a New Zealand flavor.
When we are all back together, we head over the ranges to Franz Josef which is where we spend the night. You will have some time to enjoy the great surrounding of our accommodation, wander the town or visit the fabulous West Coast Wildlife Centre.
After a great group dinner, you also have the chance to soak in the Glacier Hot Pools which are nestled in lush rainforest and are a haven of natural tranquility, a great way to finish the day.
Accommodation: Rainforest Retreat
nother short drive north to start the day as we head to Whataroa to join the truly unique experience of the White Heron Sanctuary tour. This morning you will go on the only tour to New Zealand’s one and only White Heron (Kotuku) nesting site. The location of the nesting site deep within the Waitangiroto Nature Reserve and we get there by an informative minibus ride through private farmland and a short walk to the viewing hide.
After enjoying our lunch, we are back on the road taking in the magnificent scenery to another great West Coast attraction, the West Coast Treetop Walkway. A great treetop adventure among temperate rainforest giants. Experience life with the birds, high in the ancient Rimu and Kamahi tree canopy. Easy access for all to enjoy along a steel platform 20 metres high and over 450 metres long.
For those not wishing to experience the area in the tree tops you can enjoy it with both feet on the ground and relax in the on-site café. After it is just a short drive into Hokitika where we will do a quick tour of the town and give you a chance to visit one of the Pounamu factories, before arriving at our great beach front hotel in time to watch the sun set on this great day.
Accommodation: Beach Front Hotel
Hokitika (October 15th)
Heading towards Greymouth our first stop is Shantytown Heritage Park. You will have plenty of time to explore this recreation of a nineteenth-century gold-mining town enjoying such activities riding a steam train, gold panning, Hologram Theatre Experience and much more!
From here we drive some of the most beautiful coastal roads in the country on our way to Punakaiki. Upon arrival you have the chance to view the famous Pancake Rocks which is an easy walk before we settle down in the café for a great lunch.
Our next stop is Charleston where we board the Nile River Rainforest Train for a short interpretative train ride in open carriages through primeval rain forest. This is a fantastic way to experience the spectacular wilderness landscapes of the Nile River Canyon in the South Island’s Paparoa National Park.
We then leave the main highway and head out to Cape Foulwind stopping first at Tauranga Bay. There is a short walk which leads to a viewpoint overlooking a New Zealand fur seal/kekeno breeding colony. We then head around to the northern end and give you the opportunity to walk to the lighthouse before making our way into Westport.
Accommodation: Westport Motor Hotel
A relaxed start to the morning while we wait to be collected for the truly unique Johnny’s Journey tour, where we get well off the beaten track. We travel with the only company with access to the privately-owned Awakari Valley, in specialized 4-wheel drive Unimog vehicles. We meet local legend Johnny Currie, the owner of the property, observe the wild red deer, the pancake rock formations, see the ancient Maori cave and much more. Make sure you have your camera! We have lunch in this relaxed setting with a cup of Billy tea before making our way back to Westport.
This afternoon we visit the must see Coaltown Museum. Coaltown is a newly configured Heritage Experience dedicated to the story of industry and development in this unique Northern West Coast environment and of those who came here in search of a better life.
Opened in 2013 the Museum will take you on a journey through gold rush days to the settling of the district and the early development of our mining industry, the lifestyle and living conditions of its people, the geology of coal, extraction and transport systems, to port and shipping developments serving our coal and cement industries.
Accommodation: Westport Motor Hotel
Today we leave the coast and start heading in land to the Tasman Region. We follow the beautiful Buller River to the rural town of Murchison where we stop for a spot of morning tea.
Continuing along SH6 we reach Nelson stopping at the Nelson Classic Car Museum. Here you can relive your own memories of your first car or your dream car, with 150 immaculate cars from more than 100 years of motoring. This is also where we will have lunch then we head out and enjoy a city highlights tour, covering locations as Tahunanui Beach, Queens Gardens, Centre of New Zealand and Christ Church Cathedral.
Accommodation: The Hotel Nelson
After the last scrumptious breakfast, we pack our bags and start heading home. If you are flying home, you will head out to Nelson airport to catch your flight. The rest will head over to Picton to catch our ferry to Wellington then make our way back to Whanganui.
*If you are travelling to other parts of the country all arrangements will be made for you.
Jimmy has a wealth of experience and uses this to ensure all trips with Take It Easy Tours are well organised, informative, diverse and a whole heap of fun.
After years in the broadcasting industry, Jase hung up his headphones to run Take It Easy Tours. This has meant he can still pick up the microphone to inform travellers and encourage friendly banter while on tour.
There is limited availability for this tour. Please contact us to find out more.
Yes, you can earn airpoints with Take It Easy Tours when we are using Air New Zealand flights. All you need to do is get in contact with us and let us know your airpoints number for each time you wish to earn points.
Yes, it would be our pleasure. We can arrange for you to be picked up and returned to your front door at the conclusion of any tour.
We strongly recommend taking out travel insurance as soon as you book your trip. It just puts your mind at ease. Remember to make sure you are covered for and loss of personal possessions, sickness, accidents or travel delays. Feel free to ask us for any tips to make this quick and easy for you.
We are called Take it Easy for a reason as we like to do just that. Do as much or as little as you like - after all it's your holiday! However, there is walking and various activities on each tour that require various levels of fitness. Please check with us if you are unsure about anything and relax knowing that there's always another option for you if you would rather miss out on any activity. We always have a back up plan.
Please just let us know in advance and we will sort everything for you. Chefs are used to all sorts now when it comes to diet so as long as we know - we’ll have you covered.
Cancellation charges do apply so again we recommend travel insurance. Our cancellation policy is clearly outlined for each tour so make sure you cast your eye over it and please feel free to ask any questions.
Having a good night's rest after a day out touring is very important so we personally choose all of our accommodation. Generally, four star accommodation when available - with all the comforts you need for a relaxed night.
Our buses are quality touring coaches that are very comfortable and fully air conditioned. They range in size from 19-28 seats ensuring that we can easily access all those secret spots off the beaten track. All vehicles are regularly serviced as your safety is our priority.
Coaches and luggage trailers are always locked and secure but we recommended you take any valuables with you when staying overnight.
Get in touch with our friendly staff