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Trip List by SavyScot

The Northern West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

2 Dec 2007  The Beautiful West Coast
5.0 of 5 stars based on 4 votes

An adventure of discovery - with natural beauty, unique charm, great hospitality, relaxation, activities and heritage the Northern West Coast of the south island including Westport, Karamea, Reefton and Punakaiki and some of the bits in between. Don't pass by this well hidden gem in the rough - this area is the real New Zealand!

  • Category: Best of
  • 1. The Oparara Experience

    The beautiful Oparara near Karamea just over an hours drive from Westport see the webpage for the many tours they do into the Honeycomb cave system and kayak trips. Another near by heavenly spot is the Kowhahai camp ground with an awesome area right on the beach and is at one end of the awesome Heaphy Track which is about at least a 5 day trek from the Nelson side

  • 2. Pancake Rocks - Punakaiki

    The most amazing coastal drive from Westport to Punakaiki with breath taking scenery the most rugged coastline with Nikau Palms as far as the eye can see with the Paparoa National Park on one side and the sea on the other. The main attraction in Punakaiki being a visit to the Pancake rocks which have blow holes operating at high tide which are more active in stormy weather. However there many other delights such as short and long walks including the Truman Track beautiful bush to beach track, the Fox River and a caves to exlplore as well as dolphin tours, kayaking and horse riding - there's plenty to do and a host of different accommodation.

  • 3. Westport

    Westport and surrounds has plenty to keep you entertained for a minimum of 2/3 days if not a week. Steeped in heritage and with plenty of natural attractions and adventure activities. With horse trekking, Jet boating, quad biking, rafting, heli rafting, cave tours, underworld rafting, glow worms, a rainforest train to name but a few. You can take an awesome surfing lesson, kayak, hire a bike to explore. Not to mention the history surrounding Denniston coal mining days with the Coaltown museum and Unimog tours upto the local mines - some which are still in operation and some which have been developed to show the fasinating way of life in those days. Coaltown has much more on offer than just coal mining but tells of the Gold mining days and of the brewery both of which are still in operation there today. It's highly recommended visiting the brewery in Westport and sampling there delicious and refreshing range of West Coast Brews. There are also many great walking tracks and Westport is a great base to explore and have day trips to Reefton, Punakaiki and Karamea as these areas are extremley diverse. There is such a wide range of accomodation with luxury lodges tucked away for relaxation and peace, town centre locations, backpackers, holiday parks, holiday homes, B&Bs etc. There also plenty of arty things to see inlcuding pottery and local art, a variety of shops, restaurants and cafe also await to delight.

  • 4. Reefton

    Reefton is full of surprises with so much history of the gold mining days it's a great place to take a historic reefton tour and try to make your own fortune as many have done before. A few quaint cafes, restaurants and hotels a very unique atmosphere.

  • 5. The Seal Colony - Tauranga Bay - Westport

    There is a breeding seal colony 10 mins drive from Westport. It's only a short walk from the Car Park up to a great view down onto a sheltered rocky area with many seals and quite babies - some making plenty of noise and some snoozing or coming in and out of the sea. There are also great restaurants and accomodation with the beuatiful Tauranga bay and Steeples rocks which are a sight to behold.

  • 6. Dennistion

    Denniston Incline, though by many to be the 8th wonder of the world also see Coaltown museum Westport , Outwest Unimog mine tours & Friends of the hill museum (open by request by volunteers) see www.outwest.co.nz and www.denniston.co.nz or www.westport.org.nz

  • 7. The Great Outdoors

    There are so many walking/hiking and mountainbiking tracks in the Northern West Coast area. There has been a big development of mountain bike tracks up at Dennistion with routes and maps to find your way around. Other mountain bike tracks include Oparara and Nimrodel Roads Karamea, Charming Creek, Mokihinui River Track, Stockton Mining tracks to Mt Angustus, Fredrick and Williams, Mt Rochford, Denniston Rd, Nile River Forestry Track, Bullock Creek Rd, Tiropahi Rd. Parts of a few of these mountain bike tracks need permission from land owners as on private land. This area has some of the best tramping the world the Heaphy Track - Nelson to Karamea 5 days ish - or option to get an amazing lift with Karamea-heilcharter, Charming Creek Walkway, Tiropahi, Truman, Fox River Cave track, Tauranga bay - seal colony and lighthouse tracks, Wangepeka valley the list is enless. See the Department of Conservation website for more info - click on by region and West Coast.

  • 8. Buller Adventure Tours

    Want Adventure and Action look now further - Jet Boating, white water rafting through the earthquake slips, horse riding through native bush and on the river beach and Quad Biking on cool sporty quads all based on the Buller River. Very reasonably priced compared to the likes of Queenstown etc and not be missed. The horse riding caters for beginners and experienced riders without being a ploddy trek! Based 10 minutes out of Westport.

  • 9. Underworld Adventures

    Based 15 mintues out of Westport in Charleston this is a great spot for underworld rafting, Charleston GlowWorm cave tours and adventure caving. If you are looking to explore in a less exerting manor the Nile River Rainforest Train is a relaxing way to take in some beautiful scenery. This is a high quality Qualmark enorsed company and again is much more reasonably priced then the "adventure capitals" of NZ. This area has been used by various film crews and more recently the BBC to film backdrop for the scenery the Lost World about Dinosaurs! So explore the cave system either get wet and wild or stay dry option walking the caves experience the Stalctites and Stalagmites and the brilliant glowworms.


    Great off road vehicles Unimogs and 4wd vehicle take you from Westport upto the heights of Denniston, Stockton and other tours. Let local character Mickey tell you all about the area with only $10 pp for the Stockton tour who could resist very cool and unusual trip - weather permitting as if it's too foggy you cant see! See the web page or contact the very helpful ladies at the Westport I-Site

  • 11. The West Coast Brewery - Westport

    Sample a local drop with a great tour of the local brewery in Westport. They have beers such as Good Bastards, 4 varieties of West Coast brew and an award winning organic lager called Green fern - yummy! See the website for more info.

  • 12. West Coast Surfing

    I had the most amazing surf lesson with Mark and Leeann at Tauranga bay - 10 mins drive from Westport - it was hot, i learned about how to read the water, rips, parts of the board, how to stand, paddle etc. It was great to get to the water to cool off after practising on land. These guys cater for groups, singles, experienced and beginners and are heavily involved with coaching up and coming professionals and in the past have coached the NZ team. Awesome fun and great packages - not to be missed a highlight of the area. Also not an overly busy bay so felt very special. email wcsurf@xtra.co.nz or 0800 927873

  • 13. Try Whitebait

    If you are in the Northern West Coast at the right time August - November you maybe lucky enought to sample a local delicasey - whitbaite pattiies yummy. Whitebait are tiny fish which are in the rivers around this time before going out to sea and turning into big fish (Inunga ) locals make a fair bit of cash off this but you do have a set area that you are allowed to fish - your own stand. Westport and area is definelty the Whitbait Capital of New Zealand