West Coaster Discovery Tour

Small Group 8 Day
Nature & Wilderness Expedition 

Christchurch - Arthur's Pass - Lake Brunner - Cape Foulwind - Hokitika - Glacier Country - 
Haast - Queenstown (WCDT01-8D7N)

Untouched, untamed, unforgettable.
The ultimate West Coast exploration safari

Wildsouth Discovery offer their small group tour - the West Coaster Discovery Tour.
With a maximum group size of just ten guests, you will explore the varied landscapes that the West Coast as well as the variety of bird life and flora. The Wildsouth Discovery guides and hosts personally lead their tours and they are absolutely passionate about New Zealand.

Come along and allow them to show you the remarkable landscapes and picturesque locations, the soothing sounds and the tantalizing tastes of South island. This tour is fully escorted with guided walks, first class service and comfortable, restful accommodations.

  • A safari experience with delightful picnic morning and afternoon teas!
  • 8 days of scenic splendour
  • Spectacular landscapes
  • Experience the diverse ecologies
  • A photographer’s dream!

"Explore the wonder of the West Coast of New Zealand's magnificent South Island. Your local guides will show you the natural wonders and heritage of Te Tai Poutini / South Island’s West Coast. Walk through primeval forests, along deserted beaches and view glaciers pushing into rainforests, all on a Pacific Island! Your journey will include Arthur's Pass National Park, historic gold and coal mining areas, the South West New Zealand World Heritage Area with Glacier Country, the rugged peaks of the Southern Alps and the diverse landscapes of the West Coast”

Day 1... Christchurch to Moana Kotuku (Lake Brunner)

“Greeting, train, plains & alps”

After being met by your guide and host, Brian and Paula, you will be driven to the Christchurch train station to board the famous TranzAlpine™ train. Your journey on the train will take you across the Canterbury Plains and through the Waimakariri River gorge and into Arthur’s Pass National Park. Here, you will rejoin your guides and explore the national park and its diversity of flora (and look for the Kea). From here, you travel down the Otira Gorge and then travel a back road to Moana, on beautiful Lake Brunner. A walk across the Arnold River and through the podocarp rainforest can be made before retiring to your accommodation.

Accommodation: Hotel Lake Brunner
Included meals: MT, L, AT, D

Day 2... Moana to Westport

"Podocarps, gold, rivers and sea"

Depart Moana and travel a back road to the old gold mining area of Nelson Creek. A beautiful walk through the old gold workings and regenerating rainforest is made, to see the tenacity of the miners of that time. From Nelson Creek, head north along the Grey River valley to Reefton, once a mighty gold mining town and the first town in the New Zealand to have a public display of electricity in 1888! Walks can be made to experience the flora and lookout for the native birds. From Reefton, travel north to Inangahua and then follow the mighty Buller River to the West Coast. A walk along the remote beach area just south of Westport can be made to view the beautiful beach and cliff vistas and look for native waders. It is then a short drive to your Westport accommodation.

Accommodation: Omau Settlers Lodge Motel
Included meals: B, MT, L, AT

Day 3... Cape Foulwind and Charleston

"Glow worms, forest train, seals and coast"

This morning, join Underworld Adventures for their Charleston Glow Worm Cave Tour. A short drive will take you to The Nile River Canyon to board the ‘Nile River Rainforest Train’. This is the start of your journey into the lush Rainforest, surrounded by uniquely nature carved rock formation and impressive limestone cliffs. On your short walk to the cave you will enjoy the tranquil beauty of the lush native bush in this ‘Untamed Natural Wilderness’ environment. Leaving daylight behind you will explore the enormous Nile River Caves System, seeing, feeling and getting close to an ancient wonderland sculptured by water and decorated with fragile calcite formations. This is a simply stunning Eco-tour in a very special place. After lunch, explore Constant Bay and Joyce Bay, once a major gold mining port, and then walk the Cape Foulwind walkway and view NZ Furseals in the breeding colony.

Accommodation: Omau Settlers Lodge Motel
Included meals: B, MT, L, AT

Day 4... Westport to Hokitika

"Great Ocean Road, pancakes and gold"

Depart Westport and travel south to Kumara, once thought to be the “Melbourne” of New Zealand due to its vast gold mining activity. The Great Ocean Road is spectacular with its views of the Tasman Sea and native rainforest. A stop will be made at Punakaiki to view the Pancake Rocks, before heading further south to Greymouth. Here, a back country road is taken to Woods Creek, a site of past gold mining and now regenerating rainforest, and birds. From here, another back country road to the old gold mining area of Goldsboro, a good place to see native Weka and walk through old gold mining tunnels. It is then time to retire to your accommodation.

Accommodation: Theatre Royal Hotel, Kumara
Included meals: B, MT, L, AT

Day 5... Hokitika to Glacier Country

"Gorge, kettle lakes & ice, wilderness, pristine and remote"

From Hokitika, travel around the pristine Lake Kaniere and walk to the gorgeous Hokitika Gorge. It is then time to travel south to Glacier Country and along the way, a stop will be made to view the beautiful Lake Mahinapua. A stop can be made at Ross to walk the historic Ross walkway, another historic gold mining area but also a place to view native birds in the extensive rainforest. Upon arrival at Franz Josef, walks can be made to view the Franz Josef glacier, one of the few places on the planet to see ice pushing into rainforest - truly amazing!

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel - Douglas Wing
Included meals: B, MT, L, AT

Day 6... Glacier Country to Haast

"Ice, alps & World Heritage"

A highlight this morning will be a 2 hour nature cruise on the Okarito Lagoon. From the historic Okarito Wharf, the open air boat travels at a slow speed. At mid to low tide the Okarito lagoon provides feeding grounds for many native and migratory species of birds including the iconic Kotuku - Great White Heron, the Royal Spoonbills, leggy pied stilts, tenacious bar-tailed godwits that make their journey from Siberia and Alaska each year, white faced herons and many more can be seen here.

On a clear morning you can be treated to some of the most amazing views and reflections of the Southern Alps including Franz Josef Glacier, Mount Tasman and the tallest of them all, Mount Cook.

From Franz Josef, it is a short but windy drive over the Fox Hills to Fox Glacier. Here, walks can be made to view the Fox Glacier and a drive can be made to the wild, remote Gillespies Beach, on the Tasman Sea.

Then it is a drive south through the South Westland World Heritage Area to your accommodation at Haast.

Accommodation: Heartland World Heritage Hotel
Included meals: B, MT, L, AT

Day 7... Haast and South Westland

"Beaches, estuaries and rainforest - pristine"

This morning, a short drive north to Ship Creek to experience the lowland Kahikatea Swamp Forest Walk (an area of dense swamp forest where you can see stunning specimens of New Zealand’s tallest tree, the kahikatea - white pine), and the Dune Lake Walk (magnificent photo opportunities from platforms that overlook the dune lake and the sweep of the coastline south-west to Jackson Head, and a good place to view the rare Hector’s Dolphins). A little north of here, a walk can be made along an old gold miners trail to Munro Beach, a wild and remote beach on the West Coast. From here, a drive south of Haast to Hapuka Estuary where a walk can be made through the wetland area into the rainforest. Depending on time, a drive further south can be made to walk to Lake Ellery, a very remote and pristine lake.

Accommodation: Heartland World Heritage Hotel
Included meals: B, MT, L, AT, D

Day 8... Haast to Queenstown

"Pass, alps, beech trees and tussock"

Depart Haast and follow the Haast Highway towards Otago province. You can now observe how the landscape again changes dramatically as the road climbs over the Haast Pass from the dense rain forest of the West Coast to the drier tussock lands of the Otago province. On the way, there are short walks to see waterfalls and if there has been recent rainfall, the Haast River passing through the gorge known as the Gates of Haast can be truly spectacular. From Haast Pass the road eventually skirts first along the banks of Lake Wanaka and then making a slight turn and rising over a ridge, Lake Wanaka is left behind and Lake Hawea is before you.

The road follows the shoreline of this lake and then we reach the alpine village of Wanaka. This is a quiet mountain resort on the southern shores of Lake Wanaka. From Wanaka, pass the old gold mining village of Cardrona and head over the rugged and remote Crown Range, the site of gold diggings in the 1860's.

From the top of the Crown Range there are dramatic views of the Queenstown district. You will then descend to the valley floor and reach the quaint and historic village of Arrowtown.

It is then a short drive to your Queenstown accommodation, and where you will say farewell to your guides and hosts.

Included meals: B, MT, L, AT

Tour Highlights & Inclusions

  • Fully escorted exclusive “off the beaten track” small group tour
  • Personal, experienced and knowledgeable local guides and hosts
  • Travel by deluxe mini-coach
  • The incredible scenery of South Island’s West Coast
  • Guided walks and excursions each day to experience the diverse and varied landscapes - mountains, glaciers, forests, rivers, lakes and beaches
  • Arthur’s Pass, Paparoa and Westland National Parks, and the South Westland World Heritage area
  • TranzAlpine train from Christchurch to Arthur’s Pass
  • Nile River train and glow worm cave tour
  • 2 hour nature cruise on the Okarito Lagoon
  • Breakfasts on seven mornings
  • Delicious picnic morning and afternoon teas with NZ cookies 
  • Cafe lunches on seven days
  • Dinners on 2 nights (welcome and farewell dinners)
  • Seven nights’ accommodation
  • Courtesy city accommodation pickup and drop off
  • Depart Christchurch on Day 1 at 07.30 am and finish in Queenstown on Day 8 at approximately 5.30 pm.

Meal codes indicating meals which are included in your Wildsouth experience...
B - Breakfast; MT - Picnic morning tea; L - Lunch; AT - Picnic afternoon tea; D - Dinner

Download the West Coaster Discovery Tour 8 Day Expedition brochure.