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Lake Matheson

Best of the West – NZ

Best of the West - NZ


Visit Queenstown, Lake Mahinapua, Hokitika Gorge, Punakaiki, Reefton




9 Days

Why choose this trip to the West Coast region?

Our Best of the West trip gives you an overview of the stunning scenery in the West of New Zealand. Enjoy such things as wine tasting in Queenstown, Waiatoto Jetboat Safari, Franz Joseph Glacier walk, Hokitika Gorge, the pancake rocks at Punakaiki, historical tour of Reefton,  scenic walks, plus much more.

What’s the Best of the West Activity level?

This is quite a laid back and relaxed itinerary on most days. The day walks are mostly scenic and are an easy to moderate walk, which require a moderate fitness level.

What’s the transport and accommodation like?

We will be travelling in a private 12 seater minivan for the majority of the trip, plus a boat trip on Waiatoto River and Lake Mahinapua, 4WD Safari and Rainforest train in Charleston. Our accommodation is a 3 star standard hotel and motels, with comfortable rooms and ensuite facilities.

*All our tours are non-smoking/vaping


Duration: 9 days from Queenstown to Christchurch
Trip focus: A moderately active sightseeing, nature and walking tour
Accommodation: 8 nights in local hotels and motels with en suite facilities.
Transport: Private 12 seater minivan, boats, train and 4WD.
Group size: Maximum 10 + tour leader
Single supplement: from NZ$894


  • Accommodation in hotels and motels.
  • All transport throughout the tour
  • Welcome dinner at the Skyline Gondola Restaurant
  • Waiatoto River jetboat safari
  • Kotuku White Heron colony guided tour
  • West Coast Scenic Waterways guided tour to Lake Mahinapua
  • Visit to Hokitika Gorge
  • Johnny’s Journey full day guided trip with sausage sizzle
  • Guided historical tour of Reefton – Town of Light
  • Independent walks along the Haast Highway and West Coast
  • Meals as per itinerary 
  • Tour leader/driver so you get the best out of your trip
  • 15% GST


  • Transport to Queenstown / from Christchurch
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not listed
  • Pre and post trip accommodation


We ask that you arrive in Queenstown in the morning and make your way to the hotel to meet your fellow travellers.

This afternoon we’ve planned a visit to a local winery for a wine tasting.

This evening enjoy a welcome drink and briefing, to find out more about the exciting days ahead. Then we’ll head up the Skyline Gondola for dinner with a magnificent view of Lake Wakatipu If you would like more time to discover Queenstown, we are more than happy to book extra nights for you. 

Meals Included: Dinner


On the way to Haast we’ll head over the stunning Crown Range and take time to explore Wanaka. We may be able to stop at the Lavender Farm for our morning coffee break.

As we travel towards the Haast Pass and into the rain forest of the magical West Coast, there are many short walks along the way. We’ll stop at the stunning Blue Pools, then the Fantail and Thunder Creek Falls. There’s so much to see on the way!

When we arrive at Haast township, we may be in time to stop in at the Haast Visitors Centre. They have a fabulous 20 min movie on the surrounding area. Our accommodation tonight will be at Haast Beach, on the way to Jackson Bay.

Meals included: Breakfast


Today we include a scenic Jetboat Safari on the Waiatoto River and into the Haast UNESCO World Heritage area. This 2 hour safari with Wayne and Ruth will leave you in awe of the incredible scenery, whatever the weather.

Then for a delicious lunch, we head to Jacksons Bay and visit the sisters Dayna and Nicole at the Cray Pot Cafe. If they are not too busy serving customers, they may be able to tell you about their story of life in this remote part of South Westland.

We then head off to enjoy the beautiful Ship Creek river and dune walks which are a “must do” as we head towards Fox Glacier.

Meals included: Breakfast


Our journey up the wild West Coast continues with a full day of sights. We will start the day with a walk around Lake Matheson for spectacular views of Mount Cook (weather dependant).

We then head off to Franz Joseph, where we will do a walk towards the Glacier if the weather allows. This is a better walk than the one at Fox Glacier and takes less time.

February Tour only – A highlight of the trip today is the White Heron Colony in Whataroa for a guided tour departing at 3pm. A worthwhile tour, whatever the weather.

Then we head on for our last leg for the day to Hokitika staying at West Coast Scenic Waterways, near beautiful Lake Mahinapua.

Meals included: Breakfast and Dinner


After breakfast we’ll head out on a morning cruise with West Coast Scenic waterways, onto the lake and back. Our next stop will be the bright blue Hokitika Gorge. Enjoy easy walks along the trails and boardwalks of this scenic, off the beaten track area.

After our walk through the Gorge, we’ll head to Greymouth and enjoy lunch at a local icon, the Monteiths brewery. Your tastebuds will thank you for stopping here!

Our next two nights will be spent at the relaxing Punakaiki Resort, overlooking the ocean and only 200m from the Pancake Rocks. We may like to take some sundowners to the Rocks as we watch the sunset in the Tasman Sea.

Meals included: Breakfast and Dinner


Full day trip, Johnny’s Journey.

Today we’ll visit local icon Johnny Currie who has lived off the grid in the bush for many years. We travel out by Unimog and will meet Johnny and hear stories as he recounts his amazing life!

This trip will delight and captivate all. You will be able to observe the wild red deer, pancake rock formations, see the ancient Maori cave and much more. Enjoy a billie tea and sausage sizzle for lunch.

Then we’ll head back to Punakaiki for another relaxing evening at the Resort.

Meals included: Breakfast and Sausage sizzle lunch


On our way to Reefton today, we’ll enjoy a morning ride on the Nile River Rainforest train out of Charleston. Take in the magnificent limestone cliffs of the Nile River Canyon, while enjoying the interpretation of the knowledgeable local guides.

On arrival in Reefton we’ll enjoy a unique historical tour of Reefton with Paul Thomas, local personality and instigator of restoring Reefton to its former historical glory. There will be a chance to meet the Bearded Miners over a billie tea and enjoy a one person performance to find out about Reefton’s journey to being the first New Zealand town with a public supply of electricity. There are also many short walks to do here and interesting sights to explore.

Meals included: Breakfast


Today we travel to Christchurch via Lewis Pass, stopping for a couple of scenic short walks to stretch our legs. The scenery will change dramatically as we travel from rainforest to the dry north Canterbury region.

We’ll do our best to make a late winery lunch in Waipara. Then in the evening we’ll celebrate the end of a fabulous tour with a farewell dinner near our hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast and Farewell Dinner


Today is departure day, you can leave anytime, or after breakfast. Or you may like to stay longer and explore Christchurch. Please ask us for options.

Meals included: Breakfast
HikingSightseeingWildlife WatchingCultural ExperiencesFood and CookingPlaneBoatNature


  • Waiatoto River Jetboat safari
  • West Coast Scenic Waterways guided tour to Lake Mahinapua
  • Visit to Hokitika Gorge
  • Johnny’s Journey full day guided trip with sausage sizzle
  • Guided historical tour of Reefton – Town of Light
  • Independent walks along the Haast Highway and West Coast
  • Your fabulous local guide and driver


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