Relish the exquisiteness of a world lost in nature. Encounter the West Coast’s exceptional flora and fauna, in its natural environment. Savour the attractions and sounds of the beautiful, feral West Coast. The West Coast Region of the South Island of New Zealand is truly a piece of paradise. The intense Tasman Sea pounds its shoreline sheltered in pleasant coastal woods, from the red flowered Ratas to the innate yellow Kowhai.
So here is why you shouldn’t let pass an opportunity to visit West Coast or ‘The Coast’, as the locals call it, of South Island of New Zealand.
Lush wildlife and rainforest
This 600km-long West Coast region engulfs westward from the astounding Southern Alps, through lush rainforests right up to the coastline. The subtropical and temperate rainforests provide endless recreational opportunities. The National Parks are the true charms of this land, preserving the natural heritage- the flora and fauna and the landscapes, close to and in certain cases, exactly as it was before human started residing here. World Heritage Area of Haast, Okarito lagoon- a perfect bird watcher’s delight, The Waitangi Roto Nature Reserve- a sanctuary to most of the bird life especially White Heron, are some of the most popular national parks of the Coast. Haast also extends a rare insight into the fur seals and penguin colonies. Walking through the Jackson Bay, you can also stop by pools supporting all kinds of aquatic life. Also towards the northern end of the West Coast is Hokitika where you can catch sight of Kiwi in their nocturnal dwelling in The National Kiwi Centre.
See also: Must See Sights In New Zealand
The West Coast is treasured for its vast mountain peaks, massive glaciers, eccentric limestone landscapes, enigmatic lakes and wild rivers and a grand coastline. Tourists of average health can simply stroll around most tracks in the Franz Josef Glacier; options such as heli-hikes, snow landings and other attractive flight alternatives are also available. The Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are giant chunks of ice which are fortunately easily accessible. Punakaiki- another small colony bordered by Paparoa National Park- is one the main tourist attractions because of its Pancake Rocks and the remarkable blowholes. A walk along this limestone stretch is the most relaxing in autumn season when you can spot high tides bursting into these blowholes. Apart from the walking on and around these places, there is a list of activities one can take pleasure in- kayaking and white water rafting in Karamea River, mountain biking- quad biking, off-road buggies, tandem and free-fall sky diving etc.
Heritage and History
Wild Food Festival held annually in Hokitika is a favourite with visitors. Hokitika is home for various art galleries and greenstone souvenirs. Another hub of art galleries is Greymouth and Karamea. While Greymouth is famous for its jade hunting and gold mining, Karamea provides you an opportunity to explore the Oparara Basin’s limestone archway and caves or the gold-mining heritage of the Fenian. When planning to visit West Coast, make sure you take the opportunity to actually experience the natural wonders of this alluring place.
See also: The Best Sea Food In New Zealand
Jessica is a blogger for Glenfern Villas