Must do's on West Coast

With scenery so stunning it just takes your breath away, it won't take long before you pack away that cellphone (unless it has camera function). West Coast is a truly unique destination. It takes a while to do the West Coast justice so take the time to enjoy the people and the scenery.

If time is limited, these items should be on your "Must Do" list. They offer a good insight into what makes the West Coast so special.

They are listed from North to South to help you find them.

  • Walk a section of the Heaphy Track near Karamea, one of the New Zealand Great Walks. Lush, coastal beauty.
  • Visit the Oparara Valley in Karamea - home to Australasia’s largest limestone arches.
  • Take a walk around Tauranga Bay and Cape Foulwind to the resident Seal Colony.
  • Drive the Great Coast Road - Westport to Greymouth (or vice versa) - voted one of the ‘top 10 coastal drives in the world’ by Lonely Planet.
  • Explore the Denniston Plateau - enjoy the spectacular views and mining history high up on the Plateau before venturing underground for a true coal mining experience.
  • Visit the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki - see the blowholes at high tide and marvel at the ancient limestone rocks that really do look like pancakes.
  • Visit the Bearded Miners in Reefton - unique locals with long beards, tall stories and billy tea.
  • Travel on the TranzAlpine Train between Greymouth and Christchurch - one of the 'top 6 train journeys in the world'.
  • Visit yester year as it was on the West Coast at the unique Shantytown and ride an original steam train.
  • Cycle a section of the West Coast Wilderness Trail, an easy 4 day cycle between Greymouth and Ross via Kumara and Hokitika.
  • Go brown trout fishing at Lake Brunner, the West Coast's largest lake and where the trout die of old age.
  • Carve your own piece of Pounamu in Hokitika, home to New Zealand’s finest pounamu or NZ jade.
  • Experience the West Coast Treetop Walkway at Lake Mahinapua, Hokitika - walk amongst the forest giants at the Coast’s newest tourist attraction.
  • Visit the Hokitika Gorge to see unbelievably turquoise water in a silver granite gorge.
  • Head to the Ross Goldfields Heritage and Information Centre, grab a pan and try Gold Panning, just like our ancestors use to do!
  • Take a White Heron Sanctuary Tour - available all year round - for a truly memorable and unique experience.
  • Enjoy a glacier encounter at either Franz Josef or Fox Glacier – two of the most accessible Glaciers in the world.
  • "The View of Views" - Visit Lake Matheson near Fox Glacier for reflections of New Zealand's highest mountains including Mt Cook.
  • View kiwis at one of our West Coast Kiwi Centres or kiwis in the wild- Franz Josef, Okarito or Hokitika.
  • Taste some West Coast whitebait. Haast is a great place to try it and whitebait is on most cafe menus along the West Coast.
  • Stop at the Gates of Haast for one of the best photo stops on the West Coast.
  • Get close up and on one of our fabulous rivers in the Haast region with Waiatoto River Safaris or Haast River Safaris.

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