West Coast ~ Hokitika

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With its historic buildings, local crafts and stunning views around this small town, Hokitika is likely the West Coast’s most attractive town ~ “the cool little town”. If we take bus or drive from Greymouth to Glacier Country, we will pass this town. We can visit the Hokitika Heritage Trail which includes 22 historic buildings and sights including Historic Carnegie Complex and Museum (credit to DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: New Zealand).

My friend and I only spent a few hours in this town in our winter holiday (we should have spent more time here). We took TransAlpine of KiwiRail Scenic Journeys from Chrischurch to Greymouth. Then we continued our trip from Greymouth to Hokitika and then to the Glacier Country with bus. One of my friends had a research around West Coast. He spent a few days in Hokitika so I asked him to send me his pictures as we can see his on this post. Flickr

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West Coast ~ Knights Point

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Knights Point Lookout is one of the points of interest on the way between Fox Glacier and Haast Pass. It has spectacular views of the coast north and south. The Haast region itself is one of UNESCO World Heritage areas. Haast region was situated on the western edge of Mount Aspiring National Park (credit to westcoast.co.nz). My friend and I went there in our winter holiday. It was still early winter so we had a lot of rain on our way from Fox Glacier to Wanaka. Flickr

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Queenstown ~ Bob’s Peak

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To reach the peak, we can hike up the Tiki Trail or step aboard the Skyline Gondola. I rode the gondola because I wanted to enjoy the beautiful view of Queenstown more comfortably. I rode the gondola twice both in winter but my second winter ride was an unforgettable experience. I enjoyed the beautiful snowfall while riding the gondola up to the Bob’s Peak. If you choose to hike, you should allocate around 45-60 minutes.

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Queenstown Hill

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The track starts from Belfast TCE. To reach the top, we need around 1 – 1½ hour and another 15 minutes to reach the summit (I spent 2½ hours to reach the top >_< – because it was summer and quite hot; I might only need 1½ hours if I do it in winter as long as the snow isn’t too thick). The view from the top and the summit is so beautiful.

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Christchurch

 

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The largest city in South Island, Christchurch is widely known for its many Gothic Revival and Edwardian buildings, beautiful gardens and parks, and landscaped river bank. Christchurch’s leading attraction including Christchurch Tram, Punting on The Avon, Christchurch Gondola and Caterpillar Botanic Garden Tour will bring us deeper into the city which is described as the most English of cities outside England (credit welcomeaboard.co.nz, Wikipedia and DK Eyewitness Travel New Zealand). The rebuilding programme after the devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 had progressed significantly when I visited this garden city during my summer, winter and spring holidays. If you stay in Christchurch, don’t forget to stay in The Jailhouse – the accommodation which was originally a jail.

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Glacier Country – Franz Josef & Fox Glaciers

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Most famous glacier places in New Zealand, home to the dramatic Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier, is located in the West Coast as part of Westland National Park. A glacier is formed from snow accumulating in high-altitude basins where it condenses to for bluish ice. This ice fields flows downhill and ends at a terminal where the ice melts. The 11km Franz Josef Glacier and 13km Fox Glacier becomes one of the most famous tourist attraction in New Zealand beside Milford Sound in The Fiordland National Park (credit to Franz Josef Glacier Guides, Fox Glacier Guiding and DK Eyewitness Travel New Zealand).

I had stayed 4 days in this Glacier Country in winter and had chance to enjoy the exquisite beauty of the glaciers, rainforest and lakes. You can book your tour to Franz Josef: here and Fox Glacier: here. These two are just a few of some operators available for your trip to Glacier Country and of course you can also book from other tour operators. Check my article “Useful Tips Before Exploring The Glacier” here.

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