6. Greymouth: Glacier, Heritage & Wildlife Centre Guided Tour
Departing from Greymouth, you will enjoy a scenic drive South, following the coastline with ocean views before heading inland to reach your destination of Franz Josef.
On the way you will stop at West Coast Tree Top Walkway, an exhilarating Treetop Adventure among temperate rain forest giants. Experience life with the birds, high in the ancient Rimu and Kamahi tree canopy. Easy access for all to enjoy along a steel platform 20 metres high and over 450 metres long. Climb the tower to reach great views for photography of the surrounding lake and mountain range.
Next stop is calling into Ross Goldfields Information & Heritage Centre, a one-stop spot for gold mining history and regional information. The centre boasts a small museum where a replica of NZ’s largest gold nugget The Hon Roddy resides. This was uncovered at Ross in 1909. Please note the information centre is not always open and accessible.
Reaching the township of Franz Josef, a popular tourist hot spot with thousands visiting the town to view the famous Franz Josef Glacier. Walk up to the glacier along a marked track called the Valley Walk, following the river bed. The trek will take approximately 30 to 45 minutes return. Allowing you to view the Glacier from a distance for safety.
On your return to Franz Josef, you will visit the Wildlife Centre. Home to two of New Zealand’s native birds, the Rowi Kiwi and the Tuatara, the centre also hosts an interactive exhibit on the glacier so you can learn more about the history of the area. There is also a souvenir gift shop and cafe onsite.
In Franz Josef there will be free time to buy lunch and look around the town before heading to Okarito, the gem of South Westland. Ōkārito is a small coastal settlement on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. It is built at the southern end of the Ōkārito Lagoon at the mouth of the Ōkārito River. Boosting native New Zealand bird life and strong history of gold and timber. Visit the information heritage centre on the wharf to take in the lagoon and learn more about the wild history of Okarito.
From here you will return back to Greymouth.