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Destination: West Coast Region

The West Coast is naturally isolated from the world by towering alpine ranges and tumuneous ocean seas. The remote South Island, West Coast invokes a sense of curiosity about a place not many venture to. West Coasters are a distinct culture within New Zealand with rugged independence a key attribute. 

The extractive industries of pounamu (jade) timber, coal and gold are industrial legacies. The trudge over uncharted mountains, following the footsteps of hardy souls who had source pounamu and sheer determination to finish the journey is the story of the Coast. The story of extraction is the narrative of the coast. The West Coast is the birthplace of the modern labour party born out of the mining industry working conditions. The evocative Brunner Mine Site – Best Bits is a harsh reminder of the price miners paid for poor working conditions.

Travel Guides

What to do
Great West Coast road trip, route 6

Route 66, USA eat your heart out, here’s a route with attitude. State Highway 6, rugged, hidden corners and a journey through the soul of scenic Aotearoa New Zealand. Country blues, folk ...

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Great Coast Road, West Coast road trip Westport to Greymouth

HIghway robbery, desperate mining strikes for better working conditions and abandoned mines will be part of the journey’s story. You will look for towns that have melted into the landscape with ...

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Greymouth to Hokitika

Departing Greymouth you travel down the spine of the coast hugging the road between the Tasman Ocean and the lush native forested hillsides. The West Coast is known for its high rainfall. ...

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West Coast, South Island day trip Westport to Denniston Plateau

Follow in the footsteps of prospectors, a heritage gold and coal mining trail. Today you will be on the trail of a nineteenth century gold miner. You will be travelling north viewing Denniston ...

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Best places to visit

Villages, towns spring up to as quickly disappear and melt into the regenerating bush. Remnants of buildings and graveyards are the trail heritage buffs will follow today. Industrial history fans will relish time spent on the Denniston Plateau, Westport what to see and do.


Raw untamed natural wilderness is found in the five National Parks, two wilderness areas, two kiwi sanctuaries and southern landscape defined as a UNESCO world heritage area. Glaciers and alpine ranges contrast with temperate forest of nikau palms. Surging white water rivers gleam the cobalt blue of glacial flour as they roar their way to the coast. Take a trip to the ice age, unmissable things to do in Glacier Country and find the white heron and mirrored lakes reflecting the southern alps in their glassy depths.

Stand by Lake Brunner what to see and do with its inky reflective water and swamp Kahikatea dominating the watery landscape. It is otherworldly and beautiful in its remote glory.

Whip out the phone and snap a photo, get the camera battery ready for scenery found nowhere else in the world. Wildlife, the cheeky kea parrot and the tui greet visitors as they walk through lush forests. Charleston Things To Do – Best Bits offers visitors a chance to explore this wilderness and view the iconic pancake rocks, folded rock layers spectacularly spouting metres of sea water as the tide surges through blowholes.


Take the holiday of a lifetime, the road trip where State Highway 6 is a roll call for threading your way from the top of the South Island to the bottom. The road trip with empty roads skirting river gorges, past remote settlements, heritage gold mining settlements and the mysterious magical West Coast with the special treat of Alpine country as you pass through the Haast Pass into Otago and Queenstown. This is not a detour or byway, rather a major aerial route into the beautiful remote West Coast of the South Island.

Check out West Coast kiwi towns of:



From December to mid-February. The Coast is beautiful in its remoteness and the sandflies, the summer humidity and high rain add to the charm. The West Coast is the wettest place in New Zealand making summer the best time to visit. Just make sure you have stocked up on insect repellent.

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