Westland Tai Poutini National Park

Westland Tai Poutini National Park (established 1960) extends from the highest peaks of the Southern Alps/Kā Tiritiri o te Moana, to the rugged and remote beaches of the wild West Coast. It is an area of magnificent primeval vistas – snow-capped mountains, glaciers, forests, tussock grasslands, lakes, rivers, wetlands and beaches. Westland Tai Poutini National Park (131,600 hectares) is situated about half way down the South Island on its West Coast.

This world-class scenic landscape forms part of Te Wāhipounamu South-West New Zealand World Heritage Area and is a treasure trove of amazing geology, rare flora and fauna and wonderful history. Included in the park are glaciers, scenic lakes and dense temperate rainforest, as well as remains of old gold mining towns along the coast. Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier are two popular tourist attractions located within Westland Tai Poutini National Park. The park offers hunting opportunities for Red Deer, Chamois and Tahr and helicopter access allows hunters access to the rugged mountain areas. The popular Copland Track runs upstream from the Karangarua River bridge. Along with the mountain scenery visible from the track, there are hot springs at Welcome Flat Hut. This part of New Zealand sees a lot of precipitation, because the winds pick up moisture coming over the Tasman see, and then hit the high peaks of the Southern Alps, quickly rising to more than 3000m. One of the results it that the catchment areas of the glaciers get a lot of snow, and the main tourist attraction of the park are two of these that descend far below the tree line: Franz Jozef Glacier and Fox Glacier.If you go there, be prepared for rain in way or another.