Six must see spots on the West Coast
The West Coast of New Zealand truly is an Untamed Natural Wilderness. The landscape is diverse and changes from town to town. From glaciers to rainforest, to turquoise blue river gorges, to pancake shaped rocks, no two places are the same in this region.
There are six absolute must sees though when visiting the West Coast:
1. The Oparara Arches
Wander in the footprints of Moas within the Oparara Arches, found just outside of Karamea. Experience Limestone arches, caves, whiskey coloured river, lake and rainforest all within the Kahurangi National Park on the West Coast.
The Honeycomb Hill Caves are home to the largest and most vaired collection of subfossil bird bones ever found in New Zealand. These caves can only be access on a guided tour.
2. Pancake Rocks & Blowholes
The most visited natural attraction on the West Coast, these ancient formations are a true wonder of nature. The 30 million year old dolomite formations really do look like pancakes!
At high tide watch with marvel as the water rushes through the blowholes.
Part of the Paparoa National Park, the Pancake Rocks are accessed by the easy Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk right in the centre of Punakaiki.
3. Lake Brunner
The world famous TranzAlpine train stops at the lakeside town of Moana, perched above Lake Brunner.
The largest lake on the West Coast, this lake is known as trout mecca. Grab your fishing rod, bring the family along and enjoy lazy summer days on the lakefront.
Or if you need a bit of excitement, rent a kayak or jet ski!
4. Hokitika Gorge
The Hokitika Gorge is 33kms from Hokitika and its vivid turquoise water is well worth a visit.
Take just a short walk to several viewing platforms and cross the swingbridge to dip your toes into the water.
5. Glacier Country
The West Coast glacier's are one of only two places in the world where you can view glaciers descending into temperate rainforest. They also happen to be the most accessible glaciers in the world.
Make the 1.5 hour walk along the valley to the face of Franz Josef Glacier, or explore it and Fox Glacier by air. Even better, take a Heli Hike tour for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk on the glaciers themselves!
If you're on the hunt for the real Middle Earth, look no further, it's in Haast.
An UNESCO World Heritage Area, Haast boasts spectacular beaches, dunes, lake and westlands set against the backdrop of the Southern Alps.
This is an outdoor person's ultimate playground with plenty of opportunity for Helicopter flights, jet boating, tramping and hunting.