West Coast Region
West Coast Region
In New Zealand, the "West Coast" generally refers to the narrow strip of
land between the South Island's Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea.
At Fox Glacier - Mt Cook mirrored in Lake Matheson [ a very famous view ] - Credit- Peter Hunt
The rugged beauty of the West Coast is evident in its mountains, glaciers,
lakes and rivers. The bush on the Coast is always green as native evergreen
trees and shrubs cover the slopes except where the bush has been felled to
make way for pine plantations. The high rainfall also keeps the growth lush.
West Coast - Franz Joseph Glacier - Credit- Wayne Johnson
Bordering on Westland are five National Parks - Kahurangi in the north, and
moving south Paparoa, Westland Tai Poutini, Mount Aspiring and Fiordland
National Parks. The southern West Coast area has been designated as a UNESCO
World Heritage Site for its uniqueness.
The northern area of the Coast is known as Buller and has a warmer climate
than further south. From Westport you can tour to Carters Beach, Cape
Foulwind with its seal colony, and Denniston which is the site of the
famous Denniston Incline which carried out thierty million tons of coal from a high plateau for
some eighty eight years. Karamea in the far north is a fascinating place to
visit and the Heaphy Track begins not far from there.
The trip along the coast south is a beautiful scenic drive and the Pancake
Rocks at Punakaiki are not to be missed.
West Coast - Punakaiki - Pancake Rocks - Credit- Peter Hunt
Further south the road takes you through Greymouth and Hokitika, past Lake
Kaniere and other beautiful lakes aurrounded by bush, to the Franz Josef
and Fox Glaciers and Lake Matheson which mirrors Mount Cook, and on to
Haast, the centre for the World Heritage Centre, and the Haast Pass Road
which takes you away from the Coast to Lake Wanaka. There are stretches of
road through bush and amazing seascapes.
West Coast - Hokitika - Credit- Peter Hunt
The hospitality industry has great significance for the Coasters, as the
people of the West Coast are called. They provide a good range of
accommodation, good meals, festivals like the Hokitika Wild Foods Festival,
and an excellent guiding service.
Westport - the main town in Buller
Greymouth - the major West Coast town and terminus for the TranzAlpine train.
Hokitika - the other main centre, an old gold rush town
Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier - bases for trips on to the glaciers
Haast - the site of the World Heritage Centre.
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