New Zealand – Westland (Westport, Hokitika, Franz Josef, Fox Glacier, Lake Matheson, Oparara Basin)

After crossing Arthur’s Pass, we entered the Westland region. Quaint Hokitika welcomed us with its scenic gorge, glow worms and driftwood beach. From there, we hit Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers and got up close and personal with the glaciers on a couple of scenic hikes. After camping at remote Gillespies beach, we were up early for a hike around picturesque Lake Matheson, famous for its beautiful reflections. We drove out of Westland to explore Southland, Otago and Canterbury before swinging back to check out the rugged west coast. Highlights from our second foray into Westland include the Punakaiki pancake rocks and blowholes, Westport’s seal colony at Tauranga Bay, and the remote but stunning Oparara Basin’s arches (Oparara Arch and Moria Arch). Westland may be small but it sure does pack a punch! Our last region of the South Island will be Tasman and Nelson-Marlborough so stay tuned.

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