In our ‘Complete Guide’ series, we’re going to be visiting some of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations and getting the inside track from our GO Explore followers on the best places to stay, eat, drink, sunbathe and more. Instead of just finding out what the guidebooks tell you, find out what the locals and the travellers think when it comes to the best place to get an ice cream, the best fish and chips and the best cocktail you’ll ever taste!

The next in our series of Complete Guides takes us to the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Home of some of New Zealand’s most stunning landscapes, the West Coast is a popular route for people traveling around the South Island. From the rugged beaches to the towering glaciers, the West Coast is a constant bombardment on the senses. When people think of the West Coast, they think about the glaciers and whilst they are super cool (see what we did there?!!), there is so much more to this awesome region. The lakes, gorges, mountains, beaches, rocks, railway and of course the glaciers all make this a must visit region on your next South Island adventure. Let’s find out more.

At the southern tip of the West Coast is Haast, a UNESCO World Heritage area. From Haast to Jackson Bay to the south, there are spectacular beaches, dunes, lakes and wetlands all set to the spectacular backdrop of the Southern Alps. Haast is a playground for those who love the outdoors and is the southern gateway to the West Coast.

Best accommodation on the West Coast

Once you have decided which town you are going to base yourself in, it’s time to choose some accommodation. Whether you are looking for five star luxury hotels or a remote campground, you’re well catered for on the West Coast. With so many options to choose from, we asked our GO Explore fans for some of their top tips and this is what they came back with:

Best places to eat out on the West Coast

The West Coast is obviously pretty big when it comes to providing top tips on places to eat so we are sorry if we have missed off your favourite! The West Coast is renowned as one of New Zealand’s best places to grab some fresh seafood. The annual Hokitika Wildfoods Festival is one of the biggest food festivals where as well as getting to sample some amazing local produce, you can also delve into some of the weird and wonderful food from around the world including huhu grubs, chicken feet and locusts. These aren’t on your average menu but they do love their food down here – let’s take a look at some of the best places to eat out on the West Coast:

Best places to visit on the West Coast

With such a vast area to cover, the West Coast delivers up some pretty awesome sights along the way. Here are some of our favourites from our GO Explorers:

Rent the perfect car for your adventure

Recommended vehicle for exploring the West Coast


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A great option for exploring the West Coast is the versatile Mitsubishi Outlander with up to 7 seats, keyless entry and a 5-Star ANCAP Safety Rating.

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5-7 Seats

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