The South Island’s West Coast is one of those NZ must-visit destinations. It perfectly blends scenic coastal driving with lush, native forests, a wealth of history and more tourist attractions than you can jingle your car keys at.
Make sure you try these 10 things to do around its largest town: Greymouth.
1. Take the Train
KiwiRail Scenic’s TranzAlpine adventure is the ultimate way to get here or depart for a ride on the rails. You’ll pass through spectacular locations such as Arthur’s Pass and Moana, with the Southern Alps as a dramatic backdrop.
If you’re arriving by train at Greymouth, Ace Rental Cars can come and pick you up to take you to your West Coast rental car.
2. Shanty Town
Step back through time just south of Greymouth with a visit to the historic Shantytown Heritage Park. Here you can ride a charming steam train, pan for gold, explore the village and more!
3. West Coast Wilderness Trail
Cyclists will love the West Coast Wilderness Trail. Along this excellent track, you’ll see natural beauty like nothing else, and maybe a few native birds. If you don’t want to do the whole thing, simply drive to where you’d like to start instead.
4. Nile River Caving
Just north, in Charleston, join in the fun of caving, rafting and exploring NZ’s underworld. Companies such as Underworld Adventures offers blackwater rafting, glow worm tours and adventure caving here.
5. Denniston Plateau
At the Denniston Experience, you will be taken on a guided tour through an original 1880s coal mine, where you can get hands-on and see what life was like for the miners of yesteryear.
6. Hokitika Gorge Scenic Reserve
Not too far south of Greymouth is the Hokitika Gorge Scenic Reserve. Here you can walk along a rimu and podocarp-lined track to see gorgeous turquoise water, or drive in a loop past Lake Kaniere and back to the Hokitika itself.
7. Franz Josef/Fox Glaciers
Keep going south and you can visit the famous Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. These blue and white colossi are spectacular to view from a distance, and tours are available to let you explore them in more detail.
8. Lake Brunner, Moana
Lake Brunner is the largest lake in the northwest South Island, and has a bounty of walking tracks, not to mention no less than a few great fishing spots.
9. Quad biking
Quad bike adventures are popular here, with the company On Yer Bike! a two-time Certificate of Excellence winner on TripAdvisor. Here you can try quad biking, four-wheel driving, go-kart racing, eight-wheel driving and riding in a Hagglund.
10. Greymouth-Westport driving
One of AA Travel’s ‘101 Must-Dos for Kiwis’ is the Greymouth-Westport driving route. It takes you past world-famous natural sights such as the Pancake Rocks, Paparoa National Park and, of course, pristine coastal views.