West Coast



Westcoast is a name used in New Zealand to refer to the Westcoast of South Island. This slim strip of coastal land runs from just north of Karamea to the Haast Pass. The West Coast is hilly and mountainous, covered in bush with numerous rivers running out into the Tasman Sea.

A typical West Coast barn
There are a number of tracks and bush walks on the West Coast ranging from the sedate and leisurely to the more difficult and challenging, only to be tackled by the experienced or with a guide. There are also the walks upon the Glaciers at Fox and Franz Josef which are led by a guide.
Hills on the West Coast at Mokihinui
The coast line on the West Coast is rugged with cliffs dropping away into the surf with numerous rocks jutting out of the sea. Very picturesque for the artist but an absolute danger for the Mariner. The West Coast is doted with countless bays. One in particular is Bruce Bay where there are large lumps of opaque quartz on the beach.
Coast line off Knights Point
Travelling down the West coast is relatively easy. From Karamea to the Haast Pass and over to Wanaka you can travel by bus. This is the easiest way to get from the top to the far south.
Part of the Rugged West Coast of South island
The West Coast rises very dramatically from the coast upto the Southern Alps . All along the coast there are views with mountain back drops .
As well as the mountains there are numerous lakes that are ideal for camping by either over night or for several days . The main towns on the West Coast are Westport , Greymouth , Hokitica , Franz Josef and Fox .There are smaller towns such as Ross , Okarito and Karamea .
After Fox there is little habitation . If you intend walking along the road south beyond Fox ensure you have enough provisions .There are a number of restaurants and cafes but you might just be tempted to stop off by a lake .
Westland is also refered to as Wetland , it lives upto this title and it can get extremely wet if you are unfortunate . If you do have the luck with the weather you can bask in the sub tropical sunshine as you stand infront of Franz Josef or Fox Glacier admiring the scenery .
The West Coast is famous for its gold fields . There are a number of places where you can learn to pan for gold . You pay a nominal fee and you get a pan of gold barring rock to pan . The best one to visit is at Ross where there is a pub opposite the tourist hut . Have a go , you will enjoy it and also it is something different to add to your CV .