Forest and coast unite in dramatic form in the Buller Region. This northwesterly expanse of the South Island is a promised land for trampers. Trails wend riverside through primeval forest, some accessing geological marvels like the Oparara Arch.
Gold was found in the Buller River in the mid-19th century, and coal mining scorched the landscape soon after. Mining history is carefully conserved in main towns Westport and Reefton, though agriculture and tourism are the Buller Region's prime moneymakers today. Mining history makes a pleasant diversion, if you need a breather from muddy trails, white-water rafting, and kayaking tannin-stained waterways.