The West Coast of the South Island, also known as Westland Region, offers a unique landscape – wild, scenic, untamed, rugged and beautiful. With its beaches, dense rainforests, freezing glaciers, hot springs, ancient caves, “pancake” rocks and blowholes, Westland is a 600 km long wild, sparsely populated region. It has the Tasman Sea on its west and the Southern Alps on its east and is surrounded by 5 out of 13 National Parks of New Zealand. Made of three districts (Buller, Grey and Westland), West Coast has three principle towns- Westport, Greymouth and Hokitika.
Westland Region Experiences You Shouldn’t Miss:
- Pancake Rocks and Blowholes of Punakaiki - the fascinating “pancake” rocks, look like a stack of pancakes and have blowholes which blast sea water sky-high on high tide days and especially in rough weather.
- Oparara Basin - is famous for its huge limestone arches and land bridges, fossils and ancient caves.
- Shantytown Heritage Park - offers a unique experience of experiencing the pioneering era in modern times with its recreated gold rush towns and interactive displays. You can pan for gold or ride a steam train, just like the days of an era gone by.
- Reefton Gold Mines - learn more about miners and mining gold as you wear real mining suits to experience the complete gold mining process, from excavating to the processing plant.
- Great Coast Road - is one of the most beautiful coastal roads in world. You can also enjoy an exquisite view of Mount Cook on a clear day as you drive by.
- TranzAlpine Train journey - experience the various shades of New Zealand’s scenic beauty as this world class train departs from Christchurch, taking you across the Canterbury plains, the Waimakariri Gorge, the ascending Southern Alps, deep rainforests, besides the Lake Brunner and arriving at Greymouth.
- Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers - Take a guided walk on the glaciers or enjoy their beauty from the sky in a helicopter with optional landing.
- Barrytown Knifemaking - forge a knife for yourself.
- Barrytown Jade - carve a piece of Pounamu (greenstone).
- Unique delicacies - try mouth-watering white bait or a possum pie in Pukekara or even more exotic foods at the annual Wild Foods Festival in Hokitika.
Plan a trip to West Coast, South Island today!
Photo Credit: Great New Zealand team