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Nature & Wildlife

Top attractions, 11 best things to do on the West Coast

  • 3 minutes

Upack, unwind and unforgettable

Remote, off the beaten track from New Zealand’s well known visitor destinations the West Coast offers adventure, a slice of history and a photographer’s bucket list of unmissable locations. Unpack and unwind as you discover your unforgettable holiday destination.

Whataroa River, New Zealand @Packraft New Zealand
Whataroa River rafting @Packraft New Zealand
  1. RAFT THE WEST COAST RIVERS

Raft the surging white water depths of the BULLER GORGE or WHATAROA RIVERS and explore rivers seldom visited. Capture the sense of being the first to venture into the pristine wilderness of the West Coast. The breathtaking scenery is a bonus.

  1. UNDERWORLD CAVES, GLOW WORMS

Explore underworld caves and go canyoning / rafting in Charleston with family and friends. Take in the sight of an enormous cave system festooned with stalactites and stalagmites, and delve deeper to float through incredible Glow-worm lit grottoes

New Zealand glowworms in Hokitika
New Zealand glowworms in Hokitika
Oparara cave, Dramatic Limestone Arch, Karamea, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand
Oparara cave
  1. OPARARA CAVES

Absorb stunning rock formations at Punakaiki pancake rocks and extraordinary limestone OPARARA CAVES, in Karamea.

  1. PAPAROA NATIONAL PARK WALKS &  PUNAKAIKI ROCKS AND LIMESTONE CLIFFS

Walk through sub-tropical emerald green forests in Paparoa National Park and rest awhile as you slowly stroll Cave Creek Memorial track surrounded by mossy rocks and overhanging trees in verdant wilderness

Cave Creek – Paparoa National Park, New Zealand @Steve Reekie
Cave Creek – Paparoa National Park @Steve Reekie
Franz Josef, New Zealand. A group of tourists hiking on Franz Josef Glacier
Franz Josef
  1. FOX GLACIER WALKS

Tramp / hike to a glacier. An easily walking track for all fitness levels brings you to the moraine fields of a retreating glacier. The Franz Josef Glacier walk even passes several small waterfalls

  1. CAPE FOULWIND FUR SEALS & LIGHTHOUSE

Find a colony of breeding fur seals at Tauranga Bay, a lighthouse on the short easy walking tracks of Cape Foulwind.

Cape Foulwind seal colony, Westport, New Zealand
Cape Foulwind seal colony
Matheson Lake New Zealand on a still morning with mist rising and Mount Cook in the background
Matheson Lake
  1. LAKE MATHESON MIRRORED PERFECTION

Unearth raw beauty with mirrored lakes reflecting mountain ranges in their inky depths. Lake Brunner and Matheson offer visitors short easy walks where the dawn is witness to the rising mists and quiet water.

  1. ELEGANT VISUALLY STUNNING HERONS, OKARITO LAGOON

Become fascinated with the elegance of the heron, kotuku at Okarito Lagoon and the timeless landscape of an unmodified wetland as you kayak among the numerous wading birds.

Okarito Board Walk, New Zealand
Okarito Board Walk
Denniston Plateau plaques, New Zealand
Denniston Plateau plaques
  1. DENNISTON PLATEAU – UNPACK A SLICE OF AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND HISTORY

Denniston Plateau is moody, misting, bleak and unmissable in its lonely splendour. The coal mining relics, the sheer tenacity of the miners as they toiled in the unforgiving harsh environment is unforgettable. Finish off this real life experience with a brush up at the Westport Coal Museum.

  1. TRY YOUR LUCK GOLD PANNING

Grab a chance to strike it rich, Go gold panning at designated river locations. Pack a picnic and get the family into the act looking for gold. Check out the artifacts and memorabilia in Reefton, Hokitika and Ross where the 19th century miners often or not were left destitute

Econiomic decline, Gold mining relics being reclaimed by nature, New Zealand
Econiomic decline, Gold mining relics being reclaimed by nature
Blackwater goldmine in Waiuta, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand
Blackwater goldmine in Waiuta
  1. MINING DISASTERS & GHOSTS

Find a moment of quiet contemplation at Brunner Mine Site with its tragic coal mine disaster or Waiuta gold mine plunged 879 metres below the earth’s surface. Discover ghosts and stories about quirky personalities.

Inspired and need more information from getting around to where to go, check out West Coast Regional Guide  for tips and ideas planning your next adventure.

 

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