Bounded by the wild waters of the Tasman Sea to the West and the dizzying heights of the Southern Alps to the East, the West Coast of New Zealand has natural beauty, geological marvels and a rich recent history like nowhere else. This is a place where verdant, lush rainforest creeps all the way down to wild and desolate pebble beaches. The coastal road that winds its way through this dramatic landscape was recently voted as one of the top 10 drives in the world by the Lonely Planet. The scenery certainly is breath-taking.

This is a sparsely populated area and the locals (‘Coasters’) are hardy sorts; fiercely proud of their heritage and the wild beauty of their homeland. This is where you are likely to encounter some of the finest hospitality of your trip.

Popular tourist attractions are the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki and the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers. But there are also plenty of less well-known locations such as the Oparara Basin and the Okarito Lagoon that offer up just as many rich experiences.