Haast is a bird watcher’s paradise, with fantail, tui, bellbird, pigeon, silvereye, grey warbler, parakeet, falcon, kaka, kiwi and morepork all located in the abundant lowland forests. Other wildlife include the fur seal, blue penguin and the Fiordland crested penguin.
The Haast area has a range of activity and accommodation providers, friendly hotels, cafes & restaurants. The Haast Visitor Centre provides excellent interpretation and information about the area. Local services include a general store, and service station for motoring needs.
Haast is situated alongside Mount Aspiring National Park, in the heart of the Te Wāhipounamu South-West New Zealand World Heritage Area. A place declared by UNESCO to stand alongside the Grand Canyon, Great Barrier Reef, Mount Everest and other significant natural treasures around the world.
Lake Moerakiis located 25 minutes north of Haast in the heart of some of the West Coast’s untouched lowland and wetland rainforest. It is adjacent to remote beaches that are home to a variety of marine fauna, including seals and peguins.
Makarora is located on the Wanaka/Haast Highway (SH6) in one of New Zealand’s most idyllic mountain settings, on the edge of the Mount Aspiring National Park. Only 45 minutes drive from Wanaka and one hour from West Coast, its valley location offers countless opportunities for exploration.
Named after the German geologist Julius von Haast, the first European to explore the Franz Josef Glacier. Haast is made up of several small settlements spread over a 50 km radius and include Haast Junction, Haast Beach and Haast.
World Heritage Area
Haast is located in the heart of the Te Wāhipounamu South-West New Zealand World Heritage Area. This incredible scenic landscape takes in Westland Tai Poutini National Park, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park to the east, and Fiordland and Mt Aspiring National Parks further south.
The geology, flora and fauna of the area surrounding the Haast River, a glacial valley, is an interesting find. Take a river boat tour on the waterways to experience a lush part of the World Heritage area, complete with seasonal bonus opportunities to see penguins, dolphins and seals.
The Road to Jackson Bay
Jackson Bay is a small, remote fishing village, 50km south of Haast. The road to Jackson Bay is often rated as one of the West Coast’s ‘best kept secrets’ by visitors. If you don’t want to travel the full journey, try stopping off at Okuru Beach, a small coastal settlement located approximately 15 minutes south of Haast.