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West Coast NZ_Hotel_Lake_BrunnerThe West Coast of the South Island is a stunning but lesser-known destination for visitors to Aotearoa New Zealand. Thanks to a memorable famil to the region, six of TravelManagers’ personal travel managers (PTMs) now understand why more travellers should be wild about the West.

The famil was one of several available to PTMs at the completion of TravelManagers’ annual National Conference in Ōtautahi Christchurch, and was hosted by West Coast Regional Tourism, Scenic Hotels, Christchurch Airport and Tourism New Zealand. The group spent four idyllic days experiencing some of the West Coast’s most incredible scenery, from the thrilling Punakaiki Blowholes to the tranquil perfection of Lake Matheson.

PTM Anne-Maree Selmo, who is based in Edithvale, VIC, says she is already counting the days until she is able to return to the West Coast, which she describes as an incredible hidden gem.

“Even the journey from Christchurch was a world-class experience – the TranzAlpine is considered one of the world’s great rail journeys and it definitely lived up to the hype,” she reports. “From the lush green farm country of the Canterbury Plains to the snow-clad peaks of the Southern Alps, and eventually the rugged coastline of the West Coast itself, the entire journey was a ‘forever memory’ for me.”

Selmo, along with fellow PTMs Alma Araullo, Anita Coombs, Maree Evans, Allison McDonald and Lisa King were accompanied by Melissa Randazzo from TravelManagers’ National Partnership Office (NPO). From quad-biking through dense Jurassic-like forest and ancient glacier riverbeds to soaring over the icy expanse of Franz Josef Glacier, panning for gold and even an up-close encounter with New Zealand’s rarest species of Kiwi, every moment was designed to showcase the ‘Untamed Natural Wilderness’ that makes the West Coast region New Zealand’s best-kept secret.

Image captions:

West Coast NZ_1af2dcec5aca.JPG – Ready to embark on one of the world’s greatest rail journeys: (L-R) Briar (Christchurch Airport), Lara (West Coast Development), Ali (Scenic Hotels), with TravelManagers’ Anita Coombs, Melissa Randazzo, Lisa King, Julianne Gazal-Rizk, Alison McDonald, Anne-Maree Selmo, Maree Evans, Ingrid Berthelson (Great Journeys  New Zealand) and Alma Araullo

West Coast NZ_Panning_for_Gold_Anne_Maree_Selmo.JPG – PTM Anne Maree Selmo seeking her fortune at the heritage village known as Shantytown.

West Coast NZ_Lake_Matheson.jpeg – Experiencing the untamed wilderness of the South Island’s West Coast (L-R): back row TravelManagers’ Lisa King, Anne Maree Selmo, Allison McDonald, Ali Smith (Scenic Hotel Group), Briar Nash (Christchurch International Airport), Maree Evans, Lara Thomas (West Coast NZ Untamed Wilderness); front row: Julianne Gazal-Rizk, Anita Coombs, Alma Araullo and Melissa Randazzo

West Coast NZ_Hotel_Lake_Brunner.jpeg – Soaking up the spectacular views at Hotel Lake Brunner (L-R): Briar Nash (Christchurch International Airport), Ali Smith (Scenic Hotel Group), with TravelManagers’ Allison McDonald, Anne Maree Selmo, Maree Evans, Lisa King, Lara Thomas (West Coast NZ), Ingrid Berthelson (Great Journeys New Zealand), PTM Alma Araullo, Peter Rawley (Evolution Travel Collective), Melissa Randazzo (NPO), PTMs Julianne Gazal-Rizk and Anita Coombs

West Coast NZ_Quadbiking.jpeg – Franz Josef – Franz Josef Glacier provided an epic backdrop to the group’s quadbiking adventure (L-R): Melissa Randazzo, Briar Nash (Christchurch International Airport), Lara Thomas (West Coast NZ Untamed Wilderness), Alma Araullo, Ali Smith (Scenic Hotel Group), Anne Maree Selmo, Julianne Gazal-Rizk & Allison McDonald