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Explore the wild West Coast of New Zealand

22nd September 2014

Just across the ocean, New Zealand offers a whole host of travel experiences. The South Island's West Coast is one of the best destinations for those seeking an escape amongst the beauty of nature.

With windswept beaches, lush forest life and a charming, small-town feel, the West Coast is ideal for a tranquil getaway or a holiday brimming with adventurous pursuits.

Here's a bit more about how you can enjoy the delights of a holiday in New Zealand's West Coast.

Exploring the South Island's wondrous West Coast

The West Coast is a district that encompasses many spectacular destinations such as Westport, Punakaiki, Greymouth, Lake Brunner, Hokitika, the Franz Josef Glacier, Jacksons Bay and more.

This large region is sparsely populated, meaning you can enjoy getting back to nature in peace and quiet. What's more, the area is quite vast, so one of the best options for your visit will be hiring a car and exploring out on your own.

A drive along the Great Coast Road is one of the best things you can do visiting this region. Here you can visit Punakaiki, a village near the Paparoa National Park that is home to the famous Pancake Rocks, which are amazing ocean rock formations that also feature breathtaking blowholes, particularly wonderful to witness at high tide.

Be sure to take a stroll and soak in the vistas of soaring limestone cliffs and ruggedly beautiful beaches that you are likely to have all to yourself. For great views, take the 20-minute loop track up to Dolomite Point. You won't be disappointed by the sheer scale of the horizon from here.

Amongst Paparoa National Park, there are plenty of other amazing pursuits to discover. From simple bushwalks to tranquil kayaks and other forms of exploration, you can lose yourself in the natural wonder of this verdant region.

Greymouth is also a quintessential part of the West Coast, so it's not to be missed. It has a fascinating history, with Maori originally settling the area before European arrival. This saw the discovery of coal and gold in the town in the 1800s, triggering a mining boom in the region. You can gaze upon remnants of these days gone by with a visit to nearby Shantytown Heritage Park, which harks back to the mining days as a replica of the town in its 1800s heyday. Check out the working buildings, steam train and theatre and even have a go at panning for gold yourself.

When you work up an appetite, be sure to explore Greymouth's cafe and restaurant scene, which is constantly expanding and evolving with many delicious flavours and talented local chefs. Beer fans simply must visit the Monteiths Brewery where you can get a behind-the-scenes look at the production process and of course taste some drop for yourself.

Once you've had your fill, you can get back to exploring. For wonderful views, stroll along the Point Elizabeth Walkway and visit the floodwall, which features a monument to all those who have died in mining disasters in the area. It's also the start and end point of the wonderful West Coast Wilderness Trail, a four-day cycle track that follows old paths carved by gold miners - a challenge you might like to give a go yourself! In fact, cycling and mountain biking as a whole are popular in the region, so look out for trails and tracks, such as those at Mapolean HIll and Kumara Mud Plug.

If the sights, sounds, activities and attractions of the West Coast appeal to you, contact us and speak to a well travelled and experienced Travel Associates consultant to begin planning your next New Zealand adventure.