The South Island’s rugged and sparsely populated West Coast is home to some of New Zealand’s most beautiful scenery. It lies between the Tasman Sea and the Southern Alps and stretches 600km from Kahurangi Point in the north to Awarua Point in the south.
It is divided into the three districts of Buller, Grey, and Westland. In the north, the famous Heaphy Track lets out at the diminutive settlement of Karamea, where travellers then continue south to Westport to explore the seal colonies at Cape Foulwind. The stunning and unique Pancake Rocks and blowholes can be found at Punakaiki in the Paparoa National Park. This is a popular stop on the way to Greymouth, the departure point for the scenic TranzAlpine train that goes to Christchurch via Arthurs Pass. Most travellers make quick stops in Greymouth and the beachside town of Hokitika before heading to the picturesque Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, which are undeniably the highlight of the West Coast.