Westland National Park is located on the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It stretches from the majestic Southern Alps down to the rugged west coast and encompasses two stunning glaciers and a vast range of bird life.
There are over 60 glaciers within the park boundary including the famous Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, which are the only glaciers in the world to flow down to temperate rain forest. The park has been designated world heritage status. Rare and endangered bird species live in the park including the crested grebe (kotuku) at Lake Mapourika and the Okarito brown kiwi (rowi) in lowland forests. The park is 127,541 hectares in size.
There are many tramping opportunities within the park, the most popular probably being the short walks to the glacier faces, both being no more than one and half hours return. Longer tramps are possible into the backcountry including the famous Copland Track which leads to Welcome Flat hut. At the hut weary trampers can relax in the hot pools nearby after their seven hour walk in.
Mountaineering is also popular within the park with five huts available for climbers. However only the fit and experienced should attempt this activity.
For the not so energetic there are scenic flights over the two glaciers.
The towns of Fox Glacier and Franz Josef have a vast selection of accommodation. It can get very busy in these towns during peak season so it's best to book in advance.
Overnight tramp on the Copland Track with a soak in the hot pools by Welcome Flat hut.
A short but steep track to the Okarito Trig where there are breathtaking views of the National Park.
Classic short walk at Lake Matheson where on clear days there are beautiful mirror views of the Southern Alps including Mount Cook. Part of the track is suitable for wheelchairs.