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Destinations - West Coast Region
This 600km long region plunges westward from majestic Southern Alps, through luxuriant rainforest to breathtaking coast & is the largest area of protected land of any region in NZ (14 national parks). Victoria Conservation Park & SW NZ World Heritage Area, compares with Grand Canyon , Great Barrier Reef , Mt Everest.
Packed in between imposing peaks & wild Tasman Sea are bizarre landscapes of limestone, granite & glacial ice, tranquil lakes & rushing rivers, subtropical & temperate rainforests, rare birds & plants & endless recreational opportunities.
Pop (35,000) in region, are known as Coasters - a term synonymous with friendliness & hospitality.
You'll find museums & historic buildings, art & craft galleries, fine food & cuisine, a range of accommodation & first-class local guides who add to your experience.
Highways are fully sealed & easy to drive; minor roads offer exploration options in 4WD vehicles.
Links with Christchurch & Wellington are via 2 airports & TranzAlpine train. Light plane services available. The West Coast is one area of NZ you must not miss.
Buller River is largest of area's numerous rivers, winding through spectacular gorges to Westport & offers grades 2-4 rafting, jet boating, & trout & whitebait fishing.
Heaphy Track is an 82km 3-5-day walking track through tussock-covered downs, along golden beaches to subtropical nikau palms. 1 of NZ's better-known Great Walks.
16km S of Westport, a breeding colony of NZ fur seals; a 10-minute track (gentle walk) from which seals can be easily viewed.
55km S of Westport, magnificent limestone formations carved over millions of years to form intricate caverns & columns, called Pancake Rocks. Witness awesome blowholes at high tide.
100km N of Westport limestone arches & caves amidst pristine rainforest. An easy 20-min walk takes you to Oparara Arch.
Central West Coast is a walker's paradise. Enjoy tranquillity of Lake Brunner , Nelson Creek Goldfields, Blackball. 50 walks in the area from 30 mins to 2 days; there is something for everyone.
On the shores of Greymouth, a huge range of gemstones can be found polished & washed up from Tasman Sea.