Walking & Hiking on West Coast

The best way to experience the West Coast of the Southern Alps, New Zealand is to simply get out there amongst it. There are so many hikes and trails to choose from that time is your only limiting factor. From full on multi-day tramps to a ten-minute amble to a picturesque spot, you will find a West Coast walk to suit your ability and time frame.

Here are some of our favourite West Coast hikes and walks. It is not a complete list so it is worth talking to the local iSite or DoC visitor centre to get up to date information on the available tracks and their conditions. The list of West Coast walking tracks below starts at the northern end of the West Coast and goes south.

Kohaihai / Karamea Walks

Heaphy Track

5 days between Karamea and Golden Bay
New Zealand Great Walk | Easy tramping
Traverses varied and diverse landscapes through coastline, rainforest and alpine grasslands. The longest of the Great Walks, it traverses through Kahurangi National Park.

Nikau Walk

50 minutes | easy
Across the Kohaihai River suspension bridge this walk leaves the Heaphy Track to loop through an impressive stand of nikau and northern rata forest.

Scotts Beach Walk

1 hour | easy
Beautiful short forest walk along some of the Heaphy Track’s coastline.

Oparara Valley Walks

Oparara Arch

25 minutes | easy
A well-formed track takes you to the southern hemisphere’s biggest limestone arch. Look out for Blue Duck (Whio) on the Oparara River.

Moira Gate Arch Walk

45 minutes | easy
A gentle walk that takes you from the main Oparara Valley car park to the picturesque Moria Gate Arch.

Ngakawau Walks

Charming Creek Walkway

6 hours one way | easy
The first 30 minutes of this walks from the Ngakawau end provides a delightful walk along a siding used to shunt timber and coal to Ngakawau Railway.
35 km north-east of Westport.

Blacks Point

Waitahu Valley, Reefton
27km | 3-6 hours | Grade 3+ (moderate/advanced)
Ride through stunning beech forest and mining remains.

Lyell Walks


10 minutes | easy
This walk starts at the Lyell picnic/camping area and passes through beech forest to a picturesque goldfield cemetery.

Waimangaroa / Denniston Plateau Walks

Denniston Bridle Path Walk

3 hrs up, 2 hrs down | Moderate
Sign posted from Conns Creek Road between Waimangaroa, this historic bridal track used by coalminers makes a pleasant, if steep, bush walk.

Denniston Town Walk

40 minutes | easy
From Friends of the Hill Museum on the Denniston Plateau this walk takes you via the old historic sites of Denniston Township.

Westport Walks

Seal Colony and Cape Foulwind Walkway

10 minutes or 1 hr 30 minutes | easy
An easy walk from the Tauranga Bay car park leads to viewing platforms overlooking the seal colony. The track continues above the coastline to the historic Cape Foulwind lighthouse.

Charleston Walks

Constant and Joyce Bays

15 mins | easy
Coastal rock formations and sea views.

Tiropahi Walk

2 hours | easy
Old bush tramway via milling site, river and limestone bluffs. One river crossing.

Fox River Walks

Fox River Cave Walk and Ballroom Overhang

1 hr 15 mins | moderate
Limestone gorge to caves. A torch is a necessity. Caution - some sections of the track require river bed travel and depending on weather conditions may involve river crossings. Further up the river from the caves is the impressive Ballroom Overhang.

Punakaiki Walks

Truman Track

15 mins | easy
This walk emerges from the sub tropical rainforest to a spectacular coastline with cliffs and sea caves.

Pororari River Walk

1 hour | moderate
The first 15 minutes of this walk takes you to a seat overlooking a spectacular view of the river gorge and limestone cliffs - 1km north of the Visitor Centre on SH6.

Pancake Rocks / Dolomite Point Walkway

20-minutes | easy
Blowholes and spectacular rock formations, ocean views, SH 6, midway between Westport and Greymouth.

Waiuta Walks

Ghost Town

Accessible by car
The most famous West Coast ghost town located 17 km off SH 7, midway between Reefton and Greymouth.

Reefton Walks

Bottled Lightening Powerhouse

40-minutes | easy
NZ’s first power generation site. Walk from the Reefton Visitor Centre

Prohibition Mine and Ball Mine

1 hr | easy
From the old Waiuta town site winds up to the top of the country’s deepest mineshaft.

Lewis Pass Walks

Alpine Nature Walk

20 minutes | easy
Start at St James Walkway car park, located 400m east of Lewis Pass, a great place to do a short walk through alpine wetland enjoying views of Mt Gloriana and Spenser Mountains.

Lake Brunner Walks

Velenski Walk

20 minutes | easy
A 600-metre loop walk starts from Ahau Street just past the motor camp at the western end of Moana township.

Rakaitane Walk

30 minutes | easy
Starts from the lakeside carpark beyond the motor camp at the western end of Moana township.

Greymouth Walks

Point Elizabeth Walkway

1 hour 45 minutes | easy
Access via North Beach Road, Cobden or Seven Mile Road, Rapahoe. A well formed walk through coastal bush with stunning cliff top views.

Woods Creek Walk

45 minute loop | easy
Walk through bush to explore fascinating tunnels once used by goldminers. Great for children – allow time for exploring and be sure to take a torch. Access past Shantytown.

Kumara Walks

Londonderry Rock Walk

10 minutes | easy
Turn off SH 73, 1km east of Kumara, a short walking track through old gold workings to view a huge boulder too large for the miners to move or break.

Arthurs Pass Walks

Devils Punchbowl Walk

30 minutes | easy
Track starts west of the village and climbs up to the base of a spectacular 131m waterfall.

Bridel Veil Walk

45 minutes | easy
Look out over village 20 mins into track. Through subalpine mountain beech forest to a small clearing with a picnic table, good views of the falls.

Goldsborough Walks

Tunnel Terrace Walk

20 minute loop | easy
Starts on the road between Stafford and Goldsborough (15km north of Hokitika). Track meanders through old gold works and tail race tunnels.

German Gully Pack Track

30 minutes | easy
Track climbs out of the valley and emerges on the Scandinavian Hill Road passing several old gold workings.

Hokitika Walks

Hokitika Gorge

15 minutes | easy
An awesome viewing platform is just four minutes from the car park and this part of the track is accessible for wheelchairs. Carry on further to an impressive swingbridge and the granite rocks of the gorge's walls.

Mahinapua Walkway

15 minutes or 2 hours 30 minutes one way | easy
The first 15 minutes from the western start of the walkway brings you to Mahinapua Creek or choose to walk further along the old tram line. Also open to mountain bikers.

Lake Kaniere Walkway

4 hours | moderate
Starts or ends at Sunny Bight picnic area. Passes along the western shores of the lake. Also open to mountain bikers.

Kaniere Water Race Walkway

3 hours 30 mins to 4 hrs | moderate
Follows the twists and turns of an historic power station water race as it passes along the edge of the scenic reserve. Also open to mountain bikers as part of the West Coast Wilderness Trail.

Ross Walks

Ross Historic Goldfields Walk

10 minutes – 1 hour walks | easy
A range of interesting historic goldfields walks starting from the Ross Information Centre.

Okarito Walks

Westland Walk

20 minutes | easy
From the car park by the Okarito School House this track winds though bush before crossing the estuary on a curving boardwalk.

Three Mile Pack Track – Okarito Coastal Walk

3 hour 30 minutes | easy
Only suitable within 2 hours either side of low tide. Follows coastal forest to climb over Kohuamarua Bluff to Three Mile Lagoon.

Okarito Trig Walk

1 hour 30 minutes | easy
Winds gently uphill on well-graded track to a survey trig for amazing views.

Franz Josef Glacier Walks

Glacier Valley Walk

45 minutes | moderate
From the glacier car park it’s a 45-minute walk to the public glacier viewing point.

Te Ara A Waiau Walkway

1 hour | easy
Track goes from village to glacier carpark via bush track.

Peters Pool Walk

25 minutes | easy
Enjoy reflective views of the glacier and mountain peaks from the smaller kettle lake

Fox Glacier Walks

Glacier Valley Walk

30 minutes | moderate
From the car park it’s a 30-minute easy walk to the public glacier viewing point.

Te Weheka Walkway

1 hour 10 minutes | easy
Track goes from village to glacier carpark via bush track.

Lake Matheson Walk

20 minutes or 45 minutes | easy
From the car park it’s a 20-minute walk to the jetty where on still days the lake forms a mirror. A walk around the lake will take 1 hour 30 minutes.

Haast Walks

Monro Beach Walk

40 minutes | easy
Easy walk through luxuriant coastal forest to Monro Beach.

Ship Creek - option of two walks

30 minutes | easy
There are two walks that leave from the picnic area. Experience an ancient kahikatea forest walk or head through wind-shorn coastal forest to a dune lake.

Jackson Bay Walks

Smoothwater Bay Walk

1 hr 30 minutes – 2 hours / moderate
Follows old pioneer’s track and then riverbed back to stunning beach coastline.

Wharekai - Te Kou Walk

20 minutes | easy
Walk from sheltered Jackson Bay to the rocky shore at Ocean Beach.

Haast Highway Walks

Thunder Creek Falls

5 minutes | easy
This easy walk is located adjacent to the Haast Highway and follows a sealed track to the spectacular 28m high Thunder Creek Falls.

Blue Pools Walk

30 minutes | easy
At the crest of Haast Pass, surrounded by forest, enjoy this gentle walk to a swing bridge and pristine river pools.

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