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West Coast, New ZealandWest Coast Activity Highlights

West Coast | Regional Information | Activity Highlights| Scenic Highlights | History

Summer is the perfect time of year to explore the five national parks that can be accessed from the West Coast. In winter visit one of the three ski fields.

West Coast Activity Highlights Overview

The West Coast is a paradise for people who love the outdoors. Extreme adventure seekers can try caving, rafting, canoeing, kayaking and surfing. Easier adventures include jet boating, glacier walks, scenic flights, mountain biking, horse treks, fishing and gold panning. And wherever you go, there are walks—long, medium and short.

» West Coast Activities Directory

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Nature at the North End

At the northern end of the West Coast you can revel in the wild perfection of the landscape.

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Blowholes at Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, West Coast, New Zealand
Blowholes Punakaiki Pancake Rocks
West Coast
Photographer: Fay Looney
(www.faylooney.com)
  • Discover the Oparara limestone arches and Honeycomb Caves (complete with preserved Moa Bones), at Karamea
  • Relax at Maruia Springs Thermal Resort, on the Lewis Pass Road (State Highway 7) to Christchurch
  • View the seal colony at Cape Foulwind near Westport
  • Follow the Coal Mining Heritage trail to historic coal mining sites at Denniston and Stockton
  • Visit Coal Town Museum, Westport, for great historical exhibitions and photographic displays
  • See the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blowholes. The blowholes operate at high tide and are best on a blustery day
  • Adventure tour operators in this area offer white water rafting, underground cave rafting, jet boating, horse trekking, mountain biking, unimog tours, land yachting, kayaking, surfing, caving and a range of other outdoor activities
  • Reefton is a town with rich history from its Gold Mining hay day that saw it as the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to have electric street lighting

Greymouth

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Kayaking the Haast River, West Coast, New Zealand
Kayaking Haast River, West Coast
Photographer: Rob Suisted
(www.naturespic.com)

Get to know Central West Coast in and around Greymouth.

  • Shantytown is a replica pioneering town with historical train rides, a working gold claim (where you can successfully pan for gold) and 30 historic buildings
  • The Jade Boulder Gallery lets you see the different types of pounamu (greenstone or jade) in its natural state. View carvers at work
  • Lake Brunner is known for its trout fishing and beautiful views
  • The Left Bank Art Gallery showcases talent from around the region
  • Blackball is a mining town where the New Zealand Labour Party was founded. Visit the colourful 'Formerly the Blackball Hilton' hotel
  • Adventure and activity options include rafting, dolphin-watching, 4WD (four-wheel drive) bikes, underground cave rafting and scenic flights

The Interesting World of Hokitika

There's lots to see and do in Hokitika, so make sure you allow enough time.

  • At the National Kiwi Centre you can see kiwi birds in a nocturnal display
  • Westland's WaterWorld features the indigenous Kokopu, a prehistoric fish, and freshwater eels
  • A range of local craft galleries exhibit everything from hand blown glass and gold nugget jewelery to wood craft and New Zealand jade (pounamu)
  • Visit the gold mining town of Ross, one of the deepest mining operations in the Southern Hemisphere

Glacier Country and the Southern West Coast

Amazing beauty and the powerful presence of glaciers - you'll use a lot of film here.

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Fox Glacier, West Coast, New Zealand
Fox Glacier, West Coast
Photographer: Mick Wheeler
(mick_wheeler@hotmail.com)
  • The White Heron sanctuary of Whataroa is the only nesting colony of the white heron or kotuku in New Zealand
  • Take a guided walk onto the Franz Josef Glacier or Fox Glacier. The glaciers are unique in the fact that they extend from New Zealand's highest peaks to valley floors surrounded by temperate rainforests
  • Wow yourself with a scenic flight over Westland National Park and the glaciers
  • On a still day, Lake Matheson provides a perfect reflection of New Zealand's highest peaks
  • Visit Haast and Jackson's Bay and take advantage of local guides to explore flora, fauna and marine life on an eco-tour
  • Walk the Haast Pass in the Mount Aspiring National Park

» West Coast Glaciers Information

Useful West Coast Links

To help plan your West Coast holiday choose from the main categories below:

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West Coast Region Information

West Coast Tourism Operators

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Featured

 
Mainstay New Zealand Hotels

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Large collection of independent hotels.

Choice Hotels

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Holiday packages for any occasion.

Distinction Hotels

Distinction Hotels

Great hotels in great NZ wide locations.