Unique World Heritage Area
Soaring upwards to New Zealand's highest peaks, Mount Cook (Aoraki) and Mount Tasman, the Southern Alps rise over 3,500 metres, awesomely close and imposing through the canopy of the rampant rainforests. Rivers race each other on their short and wild journey to the sea. Pounding ocean waves relentlessly sculpt the rugged coastline.
This is Westland National Park, an area of outstanding natural values and part of the South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. Here the lakes, rivers, forests and beaches of an untamed, yet accessible wilderness are as pure as you will find anywhere. South Westland is part of the broader UNESCO World Heritage Area that includes Westland, Mount Cook and Fiordland National Parks. This place is known as "Te Wahipounamu - South West New Zealand"
The Department of Conservation (DOC) has a Visitor Centre at Franz Josef Glacier and an office at Fox Glacier.
DOC also have extensive information on the stunning Okarito lagoon, which along with a few locals and seasonal whitebaiters is also the home of the Okarito Brown Kiwi. A visit to the Franz Josef Glacier DOC Visitor Centre is well worth your time. Here you will find information about the protection of New Zealand's natural and historic heritage, how and where you can enjoy our unique Glacier Region including walks and day tramps along with everything you may need to know to get up close and personal with our region.
Welcome to a unique place on earth where nature is preserved forever, where the overwhelming natural beauty will inspire feelings of awe, mystery and humility.