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West Coast

The wild west coast is where it’s at if you’re after a bit of solitude, peace and quiet, especially in the north. Down south things can go a bit crazy in Glacier Country, but you don’t have to go far to get away from people if you want to.

Hemmed in on the west coast of the mountains, the slither of flat land known as the West Coast receives more than its fair share of rain, much of it torrential. Weather comes in from the Tasman Sea to the west, hits the mountains, is lifted up, cools and produces one of the rainiest, wettest coastlines on earth.

‘Coasters’, who make up about 1% of the country’s population, are gritty types - they’ve had to become that way to survive. This is a quirky place full of quirky people - head to the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival if you don’t believe us.


To see what the West Coast has to offer, chances are you’ll be driving through. You’ll need your own wheels to make the most, although it can be done by bus. Most are heading south via Glacier Country to Wanaka & Queenstown - from Christchurch or Nelson via Greymouth.

Air NZ flies into Hokitika, the TranzAlpine scenic train crosses the Alps from Christchurch into Greymouth, and buses run the length of the coast.

Glacier Country



Paparoa NP & 'Pancake Rocks'

Layered rocks & blowholes at Punakaiki

Text © Craig McLachlan

Image by craig