‘The Coast': a rugged and primeval region that plunges westward from the Southern Alps – a chain of cloud-piercing mountains – through luxurious rain forest to a breathtaking coast.


Haast is a bird watcher's paradise, with fantail, tui, bellbird, pigeon, silvereye, grey warbler, parakeet, falcon, kaka, kiwi and morepork all located in the abundant lowland forests. Other wildlife include the fur seal, blue penguin and the Fiordland crested penguin.









To the West Coast...

Wild and beautiful Lake Hawea is a short 15 minute drive from the village en route to Makarora, a major centre for hiking and fishing within Mt Aspiring National Park, 65 km away. This links the Southern Lakes district with the West Coast.

The West Coast is a long narrow strip of New Zealand running up the south island, bordered to the Wes t by the sea and to its right by the Southern Alps , making it a unique environment.

The region displays a great variety of ‘mountains to the sea' eco-systems; unique alpine flora, vast podocarp forests, temperate coastal forests featuring flowering rata, kowhai and nikau palms, diverse wetlands and much more.

Nature lovers will discover that fascinating wildlife is accessible in abundance on the West Coast of the Southern Alps , with opportunities to view fur seal colonies, kiwi, the white heron (kotuku), penguins, dolphins and a great variety of other fauna in their natural habitats.

The West Coast of the Southern Alps is an outdoor paradise . Whether a day trip from Wanaka, or to stay over (there is a wide range of accommodation to choose from), there is plenty of time to explore this spectacular region.

There are beach and forest walks to suit all ages and abilities, eco tourism experiences, caving, rafting, canoeing and kayaking, surfing, jet boating, jet skiing, glacier walks, scenic flights, mountain biking, horse treks, fishing, gold panning, and exploring the old gold mines and ghost towns, to name but a few.

The region is also becoming increasingly famous for its world class artists and craftspeople.

If you would like more specific information on any of these activities or to make a booking, contact us.


Over the hill from Wanaka, about 1.5 hours drive through spectacular rainforest, is Haast.

Further up the coast are The Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers.


Of around 140 glaciers that flow from the Southern Alps , only these two reach the lower rainforests. They can both be viewed on the West Coast. Few sights equal the spectacle of these giant tongues of ice grinding down through temperate rainforest to just 250 metres above sea level.

There is much more wonderful scenery and adventures to be had, as you continue up the West Coast.

Information and pictures from Tourism West Coast Inc