Gillespies Beach

Westland Tai Poutini National Park

Follow Cook Flat Rd for its full 21km (the final 12km is narrow, winding and unsealed) to this remote beach, a ruggedly beautiful, wind-blasted length of slate-grey sand and shingle near an old mining settlement. Interesting walks from here include a 30-minute, partly sheltered circuit to a rusting gold dredge from 1932, and a 3½-hour return walk to Galway Beach, a seal hang-out; don't disturb them.

Five-hundred metres shy of the beach, signposted from the road, is a well-kept miners' cemetery, reached by a five-minute walk. There's a basic, eight-site DOC campground by the beach.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Westland Tai Poutini National Park attractions

1. Peak Viewpoint

5.29 MILES

It's a very long way from the actual glacier, but this parking area provides a surprisingly good view over fields to Fox Glacier (weather permitting)…

2. Lake Matheson

7.19 MILES

On a good day, the famous 'mirror lake' reflects extraordinary views of distant Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mt Tasman in its forest-shaded waters. The best time to…

3. Fox Glacier Lookout

13.02 MILES

On a clear day, this is one of the best land-based positions from which to see Fox Glacier (though its retreat may mean you see just a snippet).

4. Sentinel Rock

17.16 MILES

Survey the skies before embarking on the short, steep walk to the top of Sentinel Rock: the lookout reveals either impressive views of the glacier valley,…

5. Peters Pool

17.31 MILES

Formed by centuries of glacial meltwater, this dainty kettle lake girded by native rainforest is an easy 1km-return walk from the main glacier car park…

6. West Coast Wildlife Centre

17.9 MILES

The purpose of this feel-good attraction is breeding two of the world's rarest kiwi – the rowi and the Haast tokoeka. As well as a chance to hang out with…

7. Andris Apse Okarito Gallery

20.85 MILES

Okarito is home to world-class landscape photographer Andris Apse. His precisely composed gallery showcases his beautiful works, which are printed on-site…

8. Tasman Glacier

25.2 MILES

At 27km long and up to 4km wide, the Tasman is the largest of NZ's glaciers, but it's melting fast, losing hundreds of metres of length each year. It is…