The wildest side of New Zealand, the West Coast has the power to touch your soul with its landscape of brooding mountains, icy glaciers, primal forest and surreal coastal formations. Of all the glaciers in the Southern Alps, only the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers have crept as far as the rainforests. An up-close encounter with these giant tongues of ice by helicopter or foot is a must for all visitors to the West Coast.
Rated as one of the top six train journeys in the world the TranzAlpine (Christchurch to Greymouth) winds its way through spectacular gorges and river valleys before crossing the snow-capped Southern Alps. The full day train and coach journey from Christchurch to Franz Josef allows for a lunch stop in Greymouth and afternoon tea in Hokitika arriving at the Glaciers early evening. Travelling time by car is approximately 6 hours.