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West Coast, walks and hikes places to go and things to do

  • 1 minute

Carew falls, West Coast


Leisurely dawdle on a flat boardwalk at Okarito Lagoon or embark on a multi-day tramp of the Heaphy. There is a walk for everyone on the West Coast.

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks in Paparoa National Park, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand
Punakaki Pancake Rocks in Paparoa National Park

Spectacular diverse scenery from folded pancake rocks at Punakaiki or lush emerald forests spilling over limestone cliffs in Paparoa National Park. Diverse landscapes range from coastal dunes, wild driftwood strewn iron sand beaches, seal colonies at Cape Foulwind and intense blue rivers in the Hokitika Gorge.

Time is the only limiting factor with a walk for all fitness levels. Rainy days offer misty atmospheric conditions ensuring the lush, rich foliage obtains its daily drink. Always pack a lightweight waterproof jacket and you’re good to go.

Unwind and relax at your pace on a self-guided walk with the excellent signage provided by the Department of Conservation or enjoy a touch of pampering on a guided walk with a local expertise. Before embarking on a bucket list destination remember to check Department of Conservation guidelines for the specific walk.


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Insect repellent is necessary as the swarms of black clouds of sandflies is known to cause acute discomfort to holiday makers. Repellent such as deet can be effective, but many people don’t like using it. There are numerous natural remedies available. Sandflies do not like wind, smoke and rain. Sandflies are most numerous during daybreak and dusk in humid, overcast conditions, just before it rains.

The West Coast of the South Island, particularly Fiordland, is notorious for New Zealand’s biting insects.

When do they bite?

Sandflies cannot see at night, so they seldom bite in the dark, and generally remain outdoors. Peaks in biting often occur when light intensity increases in the morning and decreases at dusk. The morning peak comes from young sandflies that have recently emerged from pupae, and the higher evening peak is often the result of sandflies taking blood after laying eggs earlier in the day.

Sandflies are most active in dull, overcast and humid conditions, when they may bite at a similar rate throughout the day.


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