Westport

Rain

17°C

Greymouth

Cloudy

14°C

Hokitika

Cloudy

14°C

Four Reasons to Love the West Coast

1
Great Coast Road blackwater tubing

ADVENTURE - Looking for thrilling, exciting action?  Look no further.  The West Coast offers heart racing adrenalin pumping fun for all ages.  A wealth of breathtaking activities ensures your trip to the West Coast is truly memorable.

2
Franz Josef - on the glacier

GLACIERS - Experience the twin glaciers, Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier .  Unique &  majestic - Rivers of ice plunging down through rainforest to almost sea level - true wonders of nature.  Experience the unforgettable with a glacial encounter....

3
History and Heritage - 4 reasons to love

HISTORY & HERITAGE - Come visit us and you will be amazed at how our rich history of pioneering, gold, pounamu and coal have shaped the West Coast. Immerse yourself in our coastal culture, and be spirited back in time to the days of the Wild West.

4
Great Coast Road - highway shot

THE GREAT COAST ROAD  - Unsurpassed views await those that embark on the fabulous Coast Road drive, with spectacular mountain vistas, panoramic ocean seascapes and lush rainforest.  The  Punakaiki Pancake Rocks are an amazing feature.

 


 WOW - THE WEST COAST DOES IT AGAIN
The West Coast of the Southern Alps has been awarded TWO out of the five green flags bestowed to New Zealand in the recent international awards.   It is recognised as a mark of Tourism Excellence identifying the award winning places as Top Destinations.   LAKE MATHESON at  Fox Glacier and SHIP CREEK WALKWAY in Haast are both well deserved of this accolade.  Go and see them for yourself - you wont be disappointed.

THE NORTHERN WEST COAST

WESTPORT

West Coast ingenuity: while mining the most rugged terrain imaginable Coasters developed an engineering project on the Denniston Incline that was dubbed the 8th wonder of the world.  We think it possibly led to the creation of the roller coaster?

You can still visit the remnants of this piece of great Kiwi inventiveness. As you walk around the lonely landscape on the Denniston Plateau you can almost hear the clang of the old coal bins. This is the
place to see if you have what it takes to be a miner. The Denniston Mining Experience takes you underground where you are allocated a job and put to work – the state-of-the-art audio and visual effects really do simulate the harsh life of a Denniston miner.  Talking of being underground – the limestone arches and caves of Oparara near Karamea are like another world. The most northern part of the West Coast is one of those hidden gems. Picture a place of long empty beaches, river estuaries,
native birds, beautiful sunsets, walks through warm rainforests and incredible granite and limestone formations. Westport is the largest town. While keeping its small town feel the still thriving mining
industry means Westport offers excellent restaurants, cafes and amenities. It is only a short drive from here to excellent mountain biking, walks and one of the most accessible seal colonies in the country at
Tauranga Bay/Cape Foulwind.


 
 


 Westport/Karamea, Great Coast Road, Reefton Gold, Greymouth & Grey Valley, Lakes District, Jade Country, Glacier Country, Gates of Haast
West Coast of the Southern Alps

Westport/Karamea, Great Coast Road, Reefton Gold, Greymouth & Grey Valley, Lakes District, Jade Country, Glacier Country, Gates of Haast

30 August 2013
Its about the journey, not just the destination!

Having said that, the West Coast of the Southern Alps is a truly unique destination...

Welcome to the place where you will see New Zealand just how it was created eons ago. With spectacular West Coast scenery and real Kiwi characters you will experience the kind of holiday that will leave you wanting more.
Take a few moments to enjoy the many highlights and spectacular scenery of the West Coast of the Southern Alps right now!
 


 
Stretching 600km from sub tropical rainforest in the north to glaciers and majestic landscapes in the south so awe inspiring UNESCO named it a world heritage area; the West Coast offers something for everyone. Only 70km at its widest point there are beach and forest walks to suit all ages and abilities, eco tourism experiences, caving, rafting, canoeing and kayaking, surfing, jet boating, jet skiing, glacier walks, scenic flights, mountain biking, horse treks, river and sea fishing, gold panning and exploring the old gold and coal mines and ghost towns. Need we say more? You need to spend a while to truly discover the West Coast.

There are 8 unique areas - each with their own character...

From Westport and Karamea in the far north, to Reefton and the Great Coast Road as you head down the Coast, to Greymouth, Lakes District and Jade Country mid way down your epic encounter to Glacier Country and Haast in the far south - there are just so many areas to visit.
Discover Nikau palms and semi tropical fruit trees in the north to ice, snow and temperate rainforests in the south. In between are wild coastlines, deserted beaches, dense forests of giant trees, ferns and mosses, big rivers and little creeks, lakes to boat on and walk around, glaciers to explore and the lofty snow covered mountains that form the Southern Alps.
The West Coast is the birthplace of pounamu – the precious New Zealand greenstone or jade can be found throughout the region at galleries and shops where you can watch the carvers at work. The region is also famous for its world-class artists and craftspeople.

You can craft the experience you want from wild adventures to indulgent relaxation.

Best of all enjoy the people you meet along the way – for true Kiwi hospitality you can’t go past a "Coaster".  (Noun; A "Coast-ter" - to wit; a 'hard case', takes 'no bull', says it like it is. Dress sense errs towards the casual, if not outright rustic. Quite parochial about origins. Also fiesty about origins of the beer they drink. Prefers Monteiths. Fond of whitebait. Tends to call any rainfall, other than torrental downpour, a 'light shower'. Verb; to 'Coast' - means to take it easy...).

It takes a while to do the West Coast justice but take your time - the journey is definitely the best bit.

 


 Highly recommended

THE DENNISTON

EXPERIENCE

 

For a  truly unique experience - Take a journey inward to a place all but forgotten.......

Take a train ride along the old coal transport road high above the dramatic Waimangaroa Gorge and 170 metres into the first of the historic 1880's Denniston coal mines.

State-of-the-art audio and visual effects simulate the harsh life of a Denniston miner.
Here you will perform your allocated miners job; putting up pit props, shovelling coal....Plunge deep......into the darkness of one of New Zealand's oldest sources of energy and industrial innovation.

 A truly unique and interactive mine experience .

it is official

THE WEST COAST OF NEW ZEALAND HAS BEEN RANKED ONE OF THE TOP TEN PLACES TO VISIT IN THE WORLD BY LEADING TRAVEL GUIDE LONELY PLANET

  

READ WHY THE WEST COAST WAS VOTED # 8 BY LONELY PLANET

HERE



OFFICIALLY   NOW   OPEN

EASY CYCLING ON THE WILD SIDE

The cycle trail can be ridden either in part as a day ride or in its entirety over 4 days.   It is graded EASY. 

This fabulous cycling adventure guarantees an outstanding landscape ride through dense rainforest, past glacial rivers and lakes and through wetlands, all the way from the snow-capped mountains of the Southern Alps to the ocean.

For official information go to

Westcoast Wilderness Trail


2013 MAN BOOKER WON BY NOVEL SET ON THE WEST COAST

 The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton

New Zealand author 28 year old Eleanor Catton has won the prestigious Man Booker Prize 2013 with her second novel The Luminaries, a murder mystery set in 19th Century Hokitika.

She is the youngest author to ever win the award, literature's most sought after prize. The win is expected to catapault Catton (and Hokitika) into the limelight.

Set in 1866 gold-rush Hokitika, the novel's structure and narrative is propelled by 12 men aligned to 12 signs of the zodiac. At 832 pages, it is the longest book ever to win. The Man Booker judges described the novel as "a New Zealand Twin Peaks".

She is the third New Zealander to be shortlisted for the Booker, after Keri Hulme, who won in 1985, for The Bone People and Lloyd Jones, who was shortlisted for Mr Pip in 2007.


THE COALTOWN MUSEUM

 

An exciting and modern museum with both audio/visual and photographic displays complementing the history of the industrial development of the Buller region.

The displays include coalmining in which we have a true-to-life coal mine, one of the 20 ton brake drums used to control the Q wagons used on the Denniston incline, along with one of the Q wagons suspended at the amazing 45 degree angle in which the incline operated at. A movie on coal mining through out the region over the years, which is second to none.

Other displays include:

Saw milling, Transport, Maritime, Mineral, Brewery,

Coaltown Museum covers a large range of interests on different subjects for old and young and is designed to be more “hands on” than most museums, this experience should not be missed.