Below are the main places of interest on the West Coast. As long time locals we can show you our favourite places on this unique stretch of NZ coastline. Get in touch with us first to ensure you have the best time possible.
The West Coast Region is over 600kms long from Karamea to Haast. It comprises of lush rainforests, rugged coastlines and towering mountains!
Our starting point is Karamea in the north of the West Coast region, with its warm climate, tropical surroundings and limestone Oparara Arches along with one of NZ’s Great Walks – The Heaphy Track.
Karamea is a remote peaceful place to visit. It’s neighbour Westport also has a historical mining background, with interesting sites to visit such as Denniston Mine and tours to Stockton Mine. You can also pop out to the seal colony and lighthouse on the coastline where the surf is great if you are a keen surfer!
Continuing down the coast you will follow one of the top 10 coastal scenic drives in the world, travelling through Charleston, where you can take part in an amazing underground caving tour with glow worms, before reaching the famous Pancake Rocks and Blow Holes at Punakaiki, a “must do” on any visit to the West Coast.
Punakaiki also has gorgeous day walks set amongst limestone cliffs, with views of the ocean and access to the beach, Punakaiki is a perfect place to spend a day or two.
Continuing on your drive South you follow the coastline and reach the central heart of the West Coast, Greymouth – Mawhera, the destination of the famous TranzAlpine Train, providing easy access to tourist services and amenities. Greymouth’s proximity to key West Coast attractions makes it a great place to base your stay on the West Coast.
Greymouth – Mawhera has a background in mining and is a strong fishing port. It is the start of the West Coast Wilderness Trail and has great surfing beaches, waterfall walks and famous West Coast sunsets!
Situated in the district is Lake Brunner, the largest lake on the West Coast. It is famous for it’s brown trout all year round and it’s warm waters, a great place for a freshwater swim. The famous TranzAlpine Train travels through the township of Moana, Lake Brunner daily.
Hokitika “the cool little town” is known as the greenstone capital of New Zealand. With one of the West Coast’s key attractions, Hokitika Gorge nearby it is well worth a stop off on your journey. This easy walk through lush native bush to a rocky gorge with calm turquoise blue water is the perfect photo spot. The Hokitika township also boasts a range of tourist shops selling greenstone and gold.
Further South you will reach the Glacier townships of Franz Josef and Fox Glacier. Many travellers over night in the Glaciers and take the opportunity to visit the ice tunnels while accessing the glaciers via helicopter flight or via foot with the valley floor to the base of the Glacier. Heli Hike Tours are available on both the Franz Josef or Fox Glacier along with other activities such as Skydiving and the relaxing Glacier Hot Pools.
South Westland is one of the great natural areas of the world and recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site. From mountain to sea, it has landscapes that are classed as true wilderness. Offering fresh whitebait, scenic flights and jet boat tours the rugged South Westland is the true West Coast! Take time to stop off and experience pure wilderness. There are several short walks which take you to waterfalls and forests.
Contact Us at Explore West Coast, email@example.com or phone 03-7687080 or free call in NZ on 0800GREYMOUTH