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New Zealand Travel Diary: Road Trip Down the West Coast (of the South Island)

Back to our regularly scheduled New Zealand programming….

After we left the Abel Tasman area, we had about a 6-7 hr drive ahead of us, as our next stop was Franz Josef and Fox Glacier area (more on that soon!), so we decided to make a true road trip out of it and stop anywhere that looked interesting along the way. Let’s just say, a it turned into one of my favorite exploring parts of the trip!


The coastline is so beautiful there. It really reminded me of California or the west coast of Mexico (guess it’s a west coast thing all over the world?!), with the big rocks in the water and jagged cliffs. Breathtaking! 



One of our biggest detours (only about 20 minutes out of the way) was to the Cape Foulwind Seal Colony. We literally just saw the sign on the highway and decided to see what was at the end of the road! While it’s hard to see in these photos, there were cute little seals sunbathing and pulling themselves on the rocks. They were so fun to watch! Not to mention their little protected home was beautiful 🙂


Can’t hate that view…. 😉 You decide which one I’m talking about!



Our next stop was just too beautiful not to stop. I don’t know exactly what this beach is called, but from what I can see on the map (if you wanted to find it yourself), it’s in Woodpecker Bay right at the end of the Fox River. 


It had this beautiful rock that had been washed and weathered by the tides over the years. It was also covered in these amazing little baby clams (I believe). See above!




We were exploring the cave as the tide was coming back in. New Zealand has some of the most drastic tides I’ve ever seen in my life! 



We had to cross this little end of Fox River (this is where it ended!) to get over to the cave…. the water was actually a quite rapid and COLD! I was glad I was wearing shorts, the water was up to my knees! It was so worth crossing to explore this pretty little beach.


These next two below are just while we were DRIVING. We didn’t even stop the car to get these snaps, it was just that beautiful.


Now, the only planned stop we had along the way (road trips are fun like that 🙂


The Pancake Rocks! I read about this somewhere and it sounded like the perfect spot to take a break and have a picnic lunch.



You were able to walk out on these suspension bridges and go out to see the “pancakes” up close. It was the most humid/tropical area we visited in New Zealand, even though we were getting further south. The bugs and humidity reminded me of Florida.


Nobody is totally sure why the rocks in this particular area are stacked the way they are… there are of course tons of theories. It’s limestone, but that’s about the only solid fact they have! The big waves come in and at certain times of day create “blowholes” up into the center of the rocks that have been worn away over time. It was so cool to see!


While I didn’t get a photo of of this, there was also a great little picnic area to make our little sandwiches for lunch! Seriously, New Zealand, you make it easy to road trip.



LOVED our little road trip down the coast! Franz Josef and Fox Glacier are up next!

*All photos were taken by me or my husband on our Fuji x30, and haven’t been edited in any way… mostly because I’m lazy 🙂 NZ is just that beautiful*