The West Coast of the Southern Alps is a scenic and outdoor adventure wonderland with world class scenery, attractions and activities. The region is 600km from north to south so a minimum of 2 nights are recommended to experience the best of the Coast with its beach and forest walks to suit all abilities, eco tourism experiences, nature tours, gold panning, adventure activities, wonderful attractions and a complete range of accommodation types to suit all budgets. It is also the home of New Zealand Pounamu or greenstone more commonly known as Jade with many expert carvers in residence along with a number of excellent retail shops and manufacturing outlets.
Monteiths Brewery in Greymouth has a newly redeveloped brewery and restaurant visitor attraction due to open in May 2012 adding to the already famous brewery tours. A new Wildlife attraction in Franz Josef, the West Coast Wildlife Centre, and view live Kiwis as part of a conservation breeding programme. A new foundry as part of Shantytown Heritage Park the new Denniston Coal Mine Experience, Maori tours with Te Waipounamu Maori Heritage Centre.
REGIONAL VISITOR DESTINATION FEATURES
Discover Nikau palms and semi tropical fruit trees in the north to ice, snow and temperate rain forests in the south. In between are wild coastlines, deserted beaches, dense forests of giant trees, clean, clear rivers and streams with world class trout fishing plus the spectacular vista of the Southern Alps will make a visit to the West Coast very memorable. The Tranz Alpine Train journey is rated one of the best in the world. The principal towns of Westport, Greymouth and Hokitika provide all the essential services required for a visitor.
ICONIC EVENTS AND ATTRACTIONS
The famous Hokitika Wildfoods Festival (March), the spectacular pancake rocks & blowholes at Punakaiki ranked in the ‘top 10 coastal drives in the world’ (Lonely Planet), the Denniston Coal Mine Experience, Shantytown the best regional heritage attraction in New Zealand, exquisitely carved New Zealand jade Coastwide, the spectacular glaciers at Franz Josef and Fox, the amazing scenery in the Haast Pass area.
A tree top walkway through the amazing rain forests near Hokitika, the new cycle trail that will run from Greymouth to Ross , the West Coast Whitebait Festival events throughout the whitebait season
KEY FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
Enjoy the Kumara horse races in January, the Speights Coast to Coast multi sport event and Buller Marathon in February, the unique Hokitika Wildfoods Festival in March, Around Lake Brunner cycle race and Westport performing arts in April, Buller country music awards in May, the Reefton first light festival in August plus the Greymouth motorcycle street race in October .
Population 33,000 Visitor Numbers 801,604
By train Christchurch to Greymouth daily
By air Christchurch to Hokitika and Wellington to Westport with Air New Zealand. By car/campervan SH 7 via the Lewis Pass, SH 6 from Blenheim and Nelson, SH 73 via Arthur’s Pass.
By bus/coach ex Christchurch, Queenstown, Wanaka and Nelson.