Introducing The West Coast
Hemmed in by the wild Tasman Sea and the Southern Alps, the West Coast is like nowhere else in New Zealand.
The far extremities of the coast have a remote, end-of-the-road feel, from sleepy Karamea surrounded by farms butting up against Kahurangi National Park, to the southern end of State Hwy 6, gateway to New Zealand's World Heritage areas. In between is an alluring combination of wild coastline, rich wilderness, and history in spades.
Built on the wavering fortunes of gold, coal and timber, the stories of Coast settlers are hair-raising. A hardy and individual breed, they make up less than 1% of NZ’s population, scattered around almost 9% of its land area.
Travellers tend to tick off the ‘must see’ sights of Punakaiki Rocks, and Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Deviate from the trail even a short way, however, and be awed by the spectacles that await you alone.