Go-To Guides

West Coast

Carve your own path through the Southern Alps or take one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world and you'll end up on New Zealand's West Coast (Te Tai Poutini).

This untamed stretch of coastline hugs the Tasman Sea, with historic gold mining settlements dotted between wild beaches, natural rock formations, blue glacial rivers, alpine rainforest and extremely photogenic lakes. The world's most accessible glaciers also live here; so does one of our newest Great Walks. It also happens to be one of the wettest areas of New Zealand, so don't forget to bring an umbrella.


See & Do

Make your way around historic gold rush towns, visit ancient glaciers before they disappear and soak in hot pools overlooking the mountains.

The scenic train journey of a lifetime

The TranzAlpine train between Greymouth and Christchurch is widely regarded as one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world. Across 223 kilometres from coast to coast, the journey features a hit list of striking natural landscapes, including wide-open plains, aqua-blue rivers, lush valleys and native beech forest. That, plus four dramatic viaducts and 15 tunnels — including an epic 8.5km stretch right under the Southern Alps — make it hard to stay in your seat for longer than a few seconds. Read more

The TranzAlpine crosses the mountainous spine of the South Island. GREAT JOURNEYS OF NZ/SUPPLIED

The TranzAlpine crosses the mountainous spine of the South Island. GREAT JOURNEYS OF NZ/SUPPLIED

The walk includes one of the country’s largest swing bridges. BROOK SABIN

The walk includes one of the country’s largest swing bridges. BROOK SABIN

A spectacular forest walk

The Hokitika Gorge Walk is one of the West Coast’s more popular trails, attracting nearly 40,000 people a year. You can make the journey for a short 15-minute stroll to see surreal turquoise waters that drain from a distant glacier or to tackle a one-hour loop across a new bush boardwalk weaving through lush forest and across an enormous 90-metre swing bridge. Read more

Insider tip: If you're only planning to do the TranzAlpine in one direction, make it from Christchurch to Greymouth — it departs in the morning, so in the winter you'll have daylight for the whole journey.
Siobhan Downes, senior travel reporter

New Zealand's hidden mountain hot springs

The last thing you expect to see on Lewis Pass is a hot spring hotel — and this isn't some shack next to the road. Maruia Hot Springs is a world-class wellness retreat rich in history. The hot pools at Maruia have been frequented for hundreds of years — even used by Māori jade traders as a place to rest and rejuvenate. Now, you can soak in pools overlooking snow-capped mountains, book in for a massage and sit down for lunch. Read more

A spectacular show millions of years in the making

Halfway between Westport and Greymouth there's a quite remarkable cemetery. About 30 million years ago, quantities of dead marine creatures and plants drifted down to the seabed where they were compressed into layers of limestone and carpets of mud. The Pancake Rocks now stand as spectacular geological formations on the coast. Waves send spray shooting out of blowholes with a sudden 'whoosh!' that makes everyone jump and laugh. And then there's the surge pool, where the Tasman seethes and churns in the enclosed space. Read more

The Pancake Rocks and Blowholes at Punakaiki are a popular attraction. BROOK SABIN

The Pancake Rocks and Blowholes at Punakaiki are a popular attraction. BROOK SABIN

Visit a national treasure before it disappears

Franz Josef Glacier has been around since the last Ice Age, and although it goes through periods of growth and retreat, some scientists predict it won't be seen from ground-level within 100 years.

The glacier is like a giant 12-kilometre-long frozen waterfall, hanging off the side of the Southern Alps. Sadly though, it's anything but frozen — it is instead an alarming barometer on the state of global warming. We may be among the last few generations that can walk on this national treasure.

Walking to the Franz Josef Glacier viewpoint is an easy 1 hour 30-minute return trip and a reminder of the sheer force of nature; boulders the size of houses are strewn about the valley. The area also has more rainfall than the Amazon Rainforest, so you'll see waterfalls that stretch hundreds of metres into the clouds above. 

Now the only way to walk right on the ice is by helicopter — which ironically produce carbon emissions. Heli-hiking tours start off on gentle flat ground before slowly zig-zagging up the ice past ice towers and inside giant ice caves.

Discover more

A simulation of the two-decade retreat of Franz Josef Glacier. AARON WOOD

A simulation of the two-decade retreat of Franz Josef Glacier. AARON WOOD

The perfect base for outdoor adventures

Fox Glacier serves as another stark reminder of global warming's impact. The glacier is the star attraction here and, just like Franz Josef, is only accessible by helicopter. To walk around on its ancient ice, climbing through caves and marvelling at this unique wonder, is a priceless experience which should be on every Kiwi's bucket list. Fox Glacier is also the perfect base for outdoor adventures, with glowworm grottos, wild stretches of coastline and Lake Matheson sitting on the edge of town. Read more

Experience history in a recreated gold rush village

Shantytown is a recreation of a 19th-century gold mining town — except it's much more fun than the real thing would have been. There are modern-day comforts like a café and toilets, and a shop where you can buy your own gold nugget instead of panning for something you might never find. You can still get a good idea of how it was for early hopefuls, with two streets of authentic buildings, including a church, bank, hotel, barber shop, jail and blacksmith. The park is populated by suitably dressed volunteers, and a short ride behind a vintage steam engine is included with admission. Read more

Shantytown is known for its steam engines. STEWART NIMMO/SUPPLIED

Shantytown is known for its steam engines. STEWART NIMMO/SUPPLIED

The Waiatoto River Safari will take you from the ocean to the alps. WAITOTO RIVER SAFARI/SUPPLIED

The Waiatoto River Safari will take you from the ocean to the alps. WAITOTO RIVER SAFARI/SUPPLIED

The best adventure activities on the West Coast

Rugged, remote and settled by hardy types not inclined to shy away from a challenge, the West Coast could have been built for adventure. Uncover hidden natural and historical gems on a bike ride through some of the region’s wildest scenery, take a jet boat ride into a lesser-visited World Heritage area, explore a labyrinth of limestone caves, or embrace the mud on a quad bike tour. For starters. If you’re looking for more excitement in your life, this is your place. Read more

The best times to be in and around the West Coast

Wild, rugged but with a beating community heart, the West Coast is a region all Kiwis and those from further afield should experience. Here, you can sign up for the country’s most famous multi-sport event, head to a celebration of whitebait, join a beachfront sculpture competition, and spend the day inhaling weird delicacies like mountain oysters and pig nipples on a stick. Read more

TINY TOWNS OF THE WEST COAST

Westport

Westport is home to a beautiful short walk around its "lost lagoon", which features a boardwalk along the Buller River. A large group of volunteers created the 8km Kawatiri River Trail which is now one of the town's top attractions. Just south of the town is one of the region's best walks. Cape Foulwind snakes along sheer granite cliffs, past a historic lighthouse and ends at a large seal colony.

Kawatiri River Trail, Westport. BROOK SABIN

Kawatiri River Trail, Westport. BROOK SABIN

Haast

Welcome to one of the country's most remote towns. According to UNESCO World Heritage, the rainforest found in the mountains around this intrepid place is the best living example of what the world looked like 200 million years ago. The local DOC Centre has a kaleidoscope of walks to choose from – which range from a few minutes to multi-day hikes. However, the best way to see the region is venturing into the Mt Aspiring National Park by helicopter.

Charleston

This windswept town was the scene of a frantic gold rush in the 1860s, and locals love to talk up the history of the place. Underworld Adventures offers an incredible four-hour rafting tour, which starts with a train journey before a dramatic guided descent underground. You’ll walk through large cathedrals of stalactites, alongside the odd tighter spot. You then lie in a series of floating tyre tubes deep underground, where you are gently pulled through to an underground chamber.

Denniston. BROOK SABIN

Denniston. BROOK SABIN

Denniston

For a glimpse into the region's rich mining history, head to Denniston. During the late 1800s, the population peaked at around 1500 people, servicing one of the most abundant coal seams in the country. Today, the population is fewer than 10, although some mining relics remain – including parts of an impressive railway that once stretched more than 1.6-kilometres down a very steep section of hill. You'll often find yourself in the clouds, but when the skies are clear, the view is spectacular.

Jackson Bay. BROOK SABIN

Jackson Bay. BROOK SABIN

Jackson Bay

If you want to explore the full breadth of Westland, you need to head to Jackson Bay. It's the southern-most place you can drive on the West Coast, and there you'll find an idyllic little fishing village – you might even be greeted by Hector's dolphins playing in the waves. Make sure to include lunch at The Craypot, a waterfront cafe that serves crayfish, fish and chips, whitebait and seafood chowder.

Read more

Hidden Gems

Float through an underground glowworm grotto, fly over an untouched valley and stretch your legs on some of the country's best walks.

Hike to fascinating limestone formations

If you’re up for a bit of an expedition, you’ll get a proper reward in the Ōpārara Basin in Kahurangi National Park. The Ōpārara Arch is believed to be the largest of its type in the Southern Hemisphere, at more than 200 metres long and 40m high. There's a staircase in the arch, allowing you to walk inside and view the other end. The Moria Gate, on a separate short walk, can be climbed inside to get that iconic photo looking out of the arch. The tracks also give you a chance to see weka, kākā and even giant carnivorous land snails. Read more

You’re able to walk inside the enormous Ōpārara Arch. BROOK SABIN

You’re able to walk inside the enormous Ōpārara Arch. BROOK SABIN

New Zealand’s secret hanging lakes

Few people have ever set eyes on this slice of New Zealand. This "lost valley" of gloriously untouched native bush, emerald lakes, multi-level waterfalls and steep peaks is less than ten minutes' helicopter ride from Haast. It's so pristine it's part of a UNESCO World Heritage area that is considered one of the best representations of how the world looked around 200 million years ago. Read more

The hot tubs where you can bring your own snacks

One of the West Coast’s newest attractions, Waiho Hot Tubs, is set amongst lush rainforest, with four private hot tubs each nestled in their own little grove. Each tub can be hired by the hour and has room for up to four adults and one child. The tubs are wood-fired, and by the time you get in, the fresh water will have heated to around 39 degrees. The best part? The complex lets you bring in your own drinks and snacks, for free. Read more

The hot tubs are surrounded by greenery. WAIHO HOT TUBS/SUPPLIED

The hot tubs are surrounded by greenery. WAIHO HOT TUBS/SUPPLIED

A secret glowworm city

Underworld Adventures offers an incredible four-hour rafting tour which includes an epic glowworm show. It starts with a journey into the rainforest on a train, weaving into the Nile River Canyon, slowly getting deeper into the lush Paparoa National Park. Before long, you'll be on the journey underground to see a wonderland of glowworms. And the best way to experience this subterranean city is by gliding on inner tubes. Read more

Wetsuits, boots and gloves keep you warm on the rafting tour. BROOK SABIN

Wetsuits, boots and gloves keep you warm on the rafting tour. BROOK SABIN

The Cape Foulwind walkway takes just over an hour each way. BROOK SABIN

The Cape Foulwind walkway takes just over an hour each way. BROOK SABIN

The Māhinapua Springboard moves with the forest. BROOK SABIN

The Māhinapua Springboard moves with the forest. BROOK SABIN

The Honeycomb Caves are suitable for all fitness levels. BROOK SABIN

The Honeycomb Caves are suitable for all fitness levels. BROOK SABIN

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Wetsuits, boots and gloves keep you warm on the rafting tour. BROOK SABIN

Wetsuits, boots and gloves keep you warm on the rafting tour. BROOK SABIN

The Cape Foulwind walkway takes just over an hour each way. BROOK SABIN

The Cape Foulwind walkway takes just over an hour each way. BROOK SABIN

The Māhinapua Springboard moves with the forest. BROOK SABIN

The Māhinapua Springboard moves with the forest. BROOK SABIN

The Honeycomb Caves are suitable for all fitness levels. BROOK SABIN

The Honeycomb Caves are suitable for all fitness levels. BROOK SABIN

Walk through the forest canopy

Up 100 spiral stairs is one of the best views on the West Coast. On a clear day, you'll see the Southern Alps, framed against a thick rainforest. You may even cop views of Aoraki/Mt Cook. The West Coast Treetop Walk is found just 15 minutes south of Hokitika and is well suited for families because the platforms are fully enclosed and safe for kids. The half-kilometre walkway starts with a gentle incline into the canopy before weaving through the forest and climbing 40 metres. Read more

New Zealand's hidden cave system

Just a short walk from the Ōpārara Arches is this hidden cave system which doesn't get anywhere near the attention it deserves. The Honeycomb Caves are one of New Zealand's great treasures: you can only enter with a certified guide and security cameras monitor this to make sure nobody else goes in. The first surprise is the size of the cave; the second is a complete moa skeleton. After an hour underground, the cave opens up to reveal a green wilderness, a world which feels just as primeval as below ground. Read more

The $99 helicopter trip to secret golden beaches

There's a slice of New Zealand that looks a little like it could be straight from Thailand — and you can see it with a $99 helicopter flight. The trip is only ten minutes long, but it takes you to a place few Kiwis have ever seen. Heading south of Haast along the coast, the flight takes in turquoise waters, golden cliff-lined beaches and bush so untouched it gives you an idea of what the country looked like before humans arrived. It's worth asking if you can pay extra to land on the picture-perfect beach. Read more

Ōkārito is southwest of Hokitika. LIZ CARLSON

Ōkārito is southwest of Hokitika. LIZ CARLSON

New Zealand's largest unmodified wetland

Ōkārito is one of those off-the-beaten-path kind of places that you need to know about before visiting. It’s a peaceful still lagoon home to some of the best birdwatching and natural wonders in all of New Zealand. Spend the morning out on the lagoon with Ōkārito Eco Tours looking for the rare kōtuku (white heron). Read more

Insider tip: The 17.2km Alex Knob Track rewards the adventurous with perhaps the best view of Franz Josef Glacier you’ll get outside a helicopter.
Lorna Thornber, travel reporter

THE BEST WALKS ON THE WEST COAST

Cape Foulwind Walkway

Don’t let the name put you off. This 3.4km (one-way) track along a particularly scenic stretch of coastline is one of the best short walks in the region. Featuring a seal colony, lighthouse, panoramic views of mountains and the sea, and panels telling the stories of Māori settlement and early explorers, it’ll keep walkers of all ages entertained.

Cape Foulwind Walkway. MILES HOLDEN/SUPPLIED

Cape Foulwind Walkway. MILES HOLDEN/SUPPLIED

Copland Track

It's hard to beat the satisfaction that comes from a soak in natural hot springs after a long day — especially when it’s involved a 7-hour hike. Set at the end of a challenging 18-kilometre (one-way) tramp up the Copland Valley, the Welcome Flat Hot Pools are arguably the best located in NZ with their panoramic views of the seasonally snowy Sierra Range. The track winds through forest before depositing you at the steaming mineral-rich pools.

Old Ghost Road

If you’re looking for rugged and remote, it’s hard to go past this 85km track through the virgin forest, tussock tops, river flats and forgotten valleys of the Buller region. Following an old gold miners’ track that was never completed, the challenging trail connects the inland ghost town of Lyell to Seddonville on the coast. Day trips from either end give a great taste of what’s on offer if you don’t want to commit to a multi-day trek or bike ride.

Paparoa Track. ALDEN WILLIAMS

Paparoa Track. ALDEN WILLIAMS

Paparoa Track

New Zealand’s newest Great Walk takes in dramatically varied terrain, from subtropical rainforest and surreal limestone karst landscapes to the Pororari River gorge and alpine tussockland. You’ll need three days to walk the 55km track and two if you’re on a mountain bike. The 25km Inland Pack Track is an excellent shorter option and passes through some of the most impressive sections of Paparoa National Park.

Read more

Eat & Drink

Grab a slice of whitebait pizza, eat kaimoana right by the ocean and drink beer with a side of history.

Sip on spirits infused with local botanicals

If you're a gin lover, Reefton is a must-add to your small-town hit list. In 2017 the Reefton Distilling Co. was formed, combining pure mountain water with a host of high country botanicals to create uniquely West Coast drops. For $35, experience a factory tour, then go on a sensory journey through the rainforest with a tasting at the bar. Sample gin blended with horopito and rimu, a vodka made with wild water, plus a liqueur using West Coast tayberries. Read more

The distillery specialises in gin, whisky, vodka and liqueurs. BROOK SABIN

The distillery specialises in gin, whisky, vodka and liqueurs. BROOK SABIN

The whitebait pizza even better than a fritter

Fat Pipi Pizzas in Hokitika is something of a local legend, known for its curious topping combinations. The quirky little pizzeria looks like a rustic tin shed on the outside, but on the inside it’s more like a cosy log cabin. The famous whitebait pizza comes with a base smothered in garlic butter and topped with 140 grams worth of the delicacy folded into a beaten egg, sprinkled with parsley, mozzarella and a couple of lemon wedges for squeezing. Read more

The West Coast Pie Company is known for its wild meat pies. ALDEN WILLIAMS

The West Coast Pie Company is known for its wild meat pies. ALDEN WILLIAMS

Where all roads lead to food and drink

When it comes to eating and drinking on the West Coast, the first things that come to mind might be whitebait fritters and a food festival built around weird delicacies. Both serve as staple parts of the Coaster diet, but there's so much more around the region worth consuming. On your next visit to Westland make room for wild game pies, crayfish doused in garlic butter, award-winning salami and delicious plant-based cuisine. Read more

New Zealand's most scenic fish and chip shop

Jackson Bay is home to an exceptional beachfront fish and chip shop. To get there, you need to drive to Haast and then take the coastal road south. It's immediately apparent why the fish and chips are so good here; there’s a small flotilla of fishing boats anchored in the bay. The busiest place in town is always The Craypot. As the name suggests, the restaurant is famous for crayfish. However, the fish and chips, whitebait and seafood chowder are also legendary. Read more

The sandwiches worth travelling for

The creations at the Hokitika Sandwich Company are seriously good. A few years ago, Kiwi Joseph Walker left his restaurant in the US to open the sandwich bar in Hokitika, and it's now the most exciting place in town. And it's not hard to see why; the bread, meat and cheese are all sourced as locally as possible. And Walker has perfected some kind of sandwich sorcery bringing it all together. What looks simple, tastes sensational. Read more

Hokitika Sandwich Company has quickly become a West Coast institution. BROOK SABIN

Hokitika Sandwich Company has quickly become a West Coast institution. BROOK SABIN

Kumara's historic Theatre Royal Hotel is home to a restaurant and bar. THEATRE ROYAL HOTEL/SUPPLIED

Kumara's historic Theatre Royal Hotel is home to a restaurant and bar. THEATRE ROYAL HOTEL/SUPPLIED

West Coast pubs with storied pasts

Before they served espresso martinis and bottomless brunches, New Zealand pubs were destinations where miners and politicians would rub shoulders on beer-soaked carpet. Former gold rush capital West Coast is home to plenty of watering holes with interesting pasts. If the walls could talk here you’d hear tales of bitter strikes, great discoveries and singing prime ministers. Read more

WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK IN GREYMOUTH

Monteith’s Brewery. SUPPLIED

Monteith’s Brewery. SUPPLIED

Monteith’s Brewery

The iconic Monteith’s beer brand was founded on the West Coast, and comes from a brewing heritage that dates back to 1868. Though no longer a working brewery, you can learn more about this history by taking a guided brewery tour. Monteith’s spacious, modern complex is also home to a brilliant gastropub, where you can kick back with a drink and a snack or a more substantial meal.

Paroa Hotel

On the outskirts of Greymouth is the long-standing Paroa Hotel, which has a hidden gem of a restaurant. They’re open for breakfast and dinner, with pizzas on offer in between. On the dinner menu, you’ll find a range of classics — like whitebait patties, or their legendary $20 roast of the day. In summer, sit out on the deck and watch the sunset over the Tasman Sea. Or head to one of the two bars to chat with locals over a drink.

Buccleugh’s On High

Located inside the Recreation Hotel on the main highway, Buccleugh’s On High is a real local favourite, serving up hearty meals in its warm, friendly dining room. Head there for a big breakfast before setting off on your adventure. Brunch is offered on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and they’re open for dinner every night. The menu features traditional-yet-crowd-pleasing options like roast of the day, blue cod and chips, and surf ‘n’ turf, followed by a selection of tempting desserts.

Sevenpenny. STEWART NIMMO/SUPPLIED

Sevenpenny. STEWART NIMMO/SUPPLIED

Sevenpenny

This stylish little eatery multitasks its way through the day, open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, craft beers and cocktails. Inside, it looks like the sort of place you’d expect to find in a much bigger city, with its greenery-covered walls and funky lighting. Cabinets are filled with delicious doughnuts, scones, and scrolls. You’re even more spoiled for choice on the menu.

Blanchfield’s Bakery

This little bakery has been around since 1892, with five generations of Blanchfields keeping the ovens warm over the years, so you can be assured that a whole lot of expertise has gone into your baked treats. Everything is baked on site, from their award-winning pies to decadent doughnuts, biscuits and slices. The bakery is also connected to a cosy café, where you can sit down and enjoy your cabinet goodies with a tea or coffee, or warm up by ordering something hot from the menu.

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Stay

Look over the wild coast from an adults-only escape or a remote hut with its own wood-fired spa.

Hokitika's five-star fire station hotel

A converted fire station is a red-hot boutique accommodation option in Hokitika. Just a short stroll from the centre of town, Hokitika Fire Station offers five self-contained apartments, but it’s the details that make some of the rooms special. The stylish, modern decor could be straight from the pages of a design magazine, while vintage relics tie in the building’s past. You might find vintage helmets, hose attachments, and a (non-functional) fireman’s pole in the corner. The large three-bedroom apartment on the ground floor has full disabled access, too. Read more

Insider tip: No trip to Hokitika would be complete without stopping for a photo at the iconic driftwood sign on Hokitika Beach, which is just a short walk from the fire station hotel.
Siobhan Downes, senior travel reporter

Nothing beats watching the sunset from Fox Hut. LIZ CARLSON

Nothing beats watching the sunset from Fox Hut. LIZ CARLSON

Pint-sized luxury that packs a punch

There is nowhere better to sit and watch the sunset over the coastline than right from the wood-fired spa on the deck of Fox Hut. The adults-only cabin is hidden amongst the flax off State Highway 6, just a few minutes north of Punakaiki and the last vestiges of phone reception. It has views to die for and offerings that put the traditional good-old Kiwi hut to shame. Read more

New Zealand's secret adults-only escape

Just getting to this adults-only escape can be an adventure in itself. Nigel and his wife Tracey spent years creating Bali-inspired oasis Indo Kiwi, on the side of a cliff overlooking the wild coast. If you don't have a four-wheel drive, you need to be driven up to the glamping cabin surrounded by native forest. And just like Bali, the main attraction here is turning everything electronic off so that you can enjoy nature. There are sun-loungers, a large sheltered outdoor daybed and a bath to unwind in. Read more

An ultra-luxurious rainforest retreat

Romance and the West Coast are not often used in the same sentence — but the five-star Te Waonui Rainforest Retreat — tucked away in Franz Josef village, is like a fairytale in the forest. It has the added bonus of being right next to the Glacier Hot Pools — complete with private cave spas — perfect for relaxing the muscles after an adventurous outing. Read more

Dinner in the rainforest at Te Waonui Forest Retreat. BROOK SABIN

Dinner in the rainforest at Te Waonui Forest Retreat. BROOK SABIN

The view over Woodpecker Bay is spectacular. LIZ CARLSON

The view over Woodpecker Bay is spectacular. LIZ CARLSON

A quintessential Kiwi bach by the sea

North of Punakaiki, past Fox River you'll find the Woodpecker Bay Bach. Blink and you'll miss it. In fact, you'll probably miss it even if you're looking for it because it's hidden amongst the flax on a wild and rocky beach. You'll definitely be scratching your head in wonder at how this shanty bach is still standing. At high tide, the crashing waves come close to the big windows and at night you'll be lulled to sleep by the thundering tides. Classic, quirky and a little bit wild, it's a slice of heaven for those wanting to escape to the sea. Read more

The setting is romantic at Te Waonui Forest Retreat. BROOK SABIN

The setting is romantic at Te Waonui Forest Retreat. BROOK SABIN

The bath at Woodpecker Bay Bach is a highlight. LIZ CARLSON

The bath at Woodpecker Bay Bach is a highlight. LIZ CARLSON

Indo Kiwi's outdoor bath is nestled in the bush. BROOK SABIN

Indo Kiwi's outdoor bath is nestled in the bush. BROOK SABIN

You can’t see another house or human from Indo Kiwi. BROOK SABIN

You can’t see another house or human from Indo Kiwi. BROOK SABIN

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The setting is romantic at Te Waonui Forest Retreat. BROOK SABIN

The setting is romantic at Te Waonui Forest Retreat. BROOK SABIN

The bath at Woodpecker Bay Bach is a highlight. LIZ CARLSON

The bath at Woodpecker Bay Bach is a highlight. LIZ CARLSON

Indo Kiwi's outdoor bath is nestled in the bush. BROOK SABIN

Indo Kiwi's outdoor bath is nestled in the bush. BROOK SABIN

You can’t see another house or human from Indo Kiwi. BROOK SABIN

You can’t see another house or human from Indo Kiwi. BROOK SABIN

GLAMPING ESCAPES ON THE WEST COAST

Kaniere Tailings Luxury Camping

How does waking up to birdsong in the morning and exploring glowworm caves in the evening sound? Those are just some of the highlights on offer at this tranquil luxury stay near Hokitika. Your tent looks over wetlands and bushland and has an outdoor bath tub to relax and soak in under the stars. The owners promise a “nature experience without compromising on homely comforts”.

Woodpecker Hut. LIZ CARLSON

Woodpecker Hut. LIZ CARLSON

Woodpecker Hut

Nestled between Greymouth and Charleston, you'll find the ultimate getaway for those looking for some peaceful holidays. A simple yet comfortable retreat away from the world (and mobile reception), it takes glamping to a new level, and makes you wish all huts were this cosy. The perfect bridge between getting back to nature but with access to the comforts of home, Woodpecker Hut is an ideal winter escape.

Hurunui Jacks

Hurunui Jacks is the kind of place that makes you not want to leave. This luxury glamping stay has undergone extensive refurbishment to create an unforgettable experience. Read, cook, nap, and take walks as you unwind in lush ancient virgin forest. Enjoy a glass of wine and a soak in an outdoor bath and let the sounds of nature wash over you, before retreating into your luxury canvas tent.

Hurunui Jacks. SUPPLIED

Hurunui Jacks. SUPPLIED

Ross Beach Holiday Park

This boutique holiday park is situated 20 metres away from the Tasman Sea, allowing guests to drift off to the sound of waves crashing. As well as unpowered tent sites and a gravel patch where vehicles can park up right on the beach, the park offers accommodation made from upcycled shipping containers. The glamping pods come with everything you need for a great night’s sleep, including fluffy towels, coffee making facilities and, in some cases, private outdoor bath tubs.

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Sponsored Picks 

Discover the West Coast’s dramatic coastal and alpine landscapes

Hokitika Gorge. SUPPLIED

Primeval rainforest, rare wildlife, epic trails and ever-changing landscapes – the West Coast is ripe for discovery. A road trip through this region will take you to the heart of the real Aotearoa, and the places and people that lend this region its unique identity. 

A West Coast roadie makes the perfect addition to a classic South Island holiday or a standalone trip during summer or autumn.

The region’s glaciers, geysers, wetlands and rivers offer spectacular watery surroundings to explore. SUPPLIED

Hokitika Gorge. SUPPLIED

Hokitika Gorge. SUPPLIED

The region’s glaciers, geysers, wetlands and rivers offer spectacular watery surroundings to explore. SUPPLIED

The region’s glaciers, geysers, wetlands and rivers offer spectacular watery surroundings to explore. SUPPLIED

Visuals: Brook Sabin

Words: Brook Sabin, Stephen Heard, Siobhan Downes, Lorna Thornber, Alan Granville, Pamela Wade, Liz Carlson

Editors: Trupti Biradar, Stephen Heard


Stuff Travel's Go To Guides are created in partnership with Tourism New Zealand