Westport - It’s a surf town, although I wasn’t there long enough to surf. Would have liked to if I had an extra day. Instead we had a bonfire on the beach.
Cape Foulwind - 40 minute stroll along the rugged coastline near Westport, great spot for seals!
Pancake Rocks - Craggly rocks on the coast (they look like pancake stacks) with waves crashing over them. Great 20 minute stroll.
Greymouth - A rare large town on the west coast, you can get the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch from there. I did that on a previous NZ trip. If done on the right day, that train is a great way to experience all four seasons in a 10-hour span.
Lake Mahinapua - I am proud of the fact that even though I was drunk by 3 or 4 in the afternoon, I held my own until I went to bed at 2 am. Therefore, my time there was somewhat blurred. It consisted of a swim in the lake (inland from the highway), watching the sunset and stargazing on the beach, and one big party.
Franz Josef Glacier Hike - Walk over a large rocky plateau to view the receding glacier.
Franz Josef Terrace Walk - 20 minute nighttime stroll through Franz Josef’s rainforest with glow worms everywhere.
Lake Matheson - Lake that reflects Mt. Cook. Allow time to circumnavigate the entire lake.
Thunder Creek Falls - Not too far from where Highway 6 juts inland; good picture opportunity.
Basil’s Hostel (Westport) - Artsy hostel owned by two professional surfers.
Lake Mahinapua Hotel (Lake Mahinapua/Hokitika) - Party hostel done right. Beautiful coastal beach, and the lake that reminds me of one in the midwestern US in the summer.
Rainforest Retreat (Franz Josef) - Beautiful hostel situated in the semi-tropical rainforests of Franz Josef.
Once again, not a whole lot down the west coast. Basil’s also had wood-fired pizzas, other than that it was the Countdown or Four Square markets.