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New Zealand's West Coast is a beautiful part of the South Island.
The West Coast of New Zealand stretches 600 km down the Southern Alps from Karamea to Haast. The coastline is as wild as it
is beautiful. Surrounded by sensational scenery, there is so much to see and explore. The West Coast is a delight for tramping,
hiking, walking, horse riding, gold fossicking, wildlife viewing, fishing, hunting, caving and climbing, mountain biking, quad
biking, 4x4 off roading, arts and crafts, jade carving, scenic flights, helicopter flights, glacier landings, heli-rafting,
kayaking, rafting, canoeing, boating, swimming and many other outdoor activities.
At the north end of the West coast is Karamea, which hosts the end of the mighty Heaphy tramping track and is home to the Honey Comb Hill Cave and Kayak Tour and the Oparara Valley limestone arches and Mirror Tarn. Heading south, to the drumming sound of the Tasman Sea beating the coast, through seaside villages and heritage gold mining towns, you can stop and wander the many tracks, experience the local craft or explore the beaches with their vibrant stones and gnarly driftwood.
Moving down the coast; the Buller River is a wonderful place to experience white water rafting through the pink granite of the Buller Gorge down to the Westport. At 110m long, New Zealand's longest swingbridge spans this immense gorge.
The mild climate that Westport offers makes this a perfect outdoor destination for travellers of all ages - walk, tramp, cycle, raft, kayak or go caving. The accessible large fur seal colony at Cape Foulwind is a chance to safely watch the fur seals as they play in the waves, sunbathe on the rocks and feed their young. Pop into Derek's pub - the Star Tavern on your way or way back for a meal and a friendly welcome.
Westport has history in abundance. It was a gold mining town, then a coal mining town and the relics of these industries remain for you to explore. Enjoy the history at the coal mining museum in Westport (there's another interesting museum at Granity, only 29km away).
Carrying on down this spectacular highway you arrive at Punakaiki in the Paparoa National Park. The Punakaiki Pancake Rocks are a dramatic limestone natural wonder sitting in the swirling waters of the Tasman Sea. The West Coast's largest town and commercial centre is Greymouth.
Lake Brunner in Moana is an ideal Kiwi holiday destination. The magnificent rainforests and wetlands home abundant bird life. The area offers easy walks and safe swimming bays making it very family friendly. The lake and surrounding rivers offer some of New Zealand's best trout fishing.
The former gold mining town of Kumara is at the end of Arthur's Pass. Kumara is only an hour from three of Arthur's Pass National Park skifields. It offers tramping, fishing, hunting and gold panning. In January the Kumara horse racing course comes alive with the historic race day.
Midway down the coast Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers are penetrable from the lower rainforests of the West Coast, just 250 m above sea level. Guiding companies offer guided glacier walks and climbing experiences for all abilities and ages. Very popular are the heli-hikes, scenic flights and glacier landings. Here you also find Whataroa, the departure point for the river trip to NZ's only white heron breeding colony.
As you travel further South along the West Coast it becomes more sparsely populated by people but the bird life is abundant. The lowland forests of Haast are paradise for birdwatchers. There is also the chance to see blue penguins and the Fiordland crested penguin. Haast is at the heart of the Te Wahipounamu South-West New Zealand World Heritage Area.
You can always take a West Coast Tour by clicking on the banner below.