A holiday at home – discover the northern West Coast

If you’re looking for a great Easter holiday destination, don’t look any further than your own backyard. Now is a great time to rediscover your region – you can experience some of our hugely popular tourist destinations, often over-looked by locals. 

It doesn’t get any more remote and wild as the northern tip of our mighty West Coast. Here you’ll find some of New Zealand’s most spectacular tourism spots that you might never have taken the time to visit.

If you put aside a few days, you’ll be able to experience an exciting mix of attractions in the northern West Coast. There are plenty of options for accommodation too, with great camping grounds that mean you can pitch a tent for the family, holiday houses and motels around the area.

Here’s a draft itinerary that features something for all the family – from fossil hunting, to wildlife experiences, tramping, river adventures and some great food and relaxation options.

 Oparara River flowing out of Moria Gate arch3


Day one – beaches, wildlife and surfing

Arrive in Westport and take a drive out to Carter’s Beach, headed for the Tauranga Bay Fur Seal Colony. The long stretch of sand is often deserted and one of the Coast’s most beautiful beaches. Then head for the edge of Tauranga Bay for the seal colony. It’s only a 10 minutewalk from the car park, is suitable for wheelchairs and offers viewing platforms so you can see the colony at play and rest. You can also explore the full one-and-a-half hour (three hourreturn) track to Cape Foulwind.

You can take a rest and enjoy the surrounds at the Tauranga Bay café – a local favourite and one you must try if you haven’t already. The café was a surf club in a former life and you’ll find some of the best surf on the Coast in the bay.


Day two – discover a natural treasure

There are plenty of different options for exploring one of the West Coast’s most remarkable attractions – the Oparara Arches. Heading to the northern-most tip of the Coast, you can set up camp at one of the great local camp grounds at Mokihinui or Karamea, creating a base for some memorable adventures in one of the country’s most isolated spots.

The arches are part of Kahurangi National Park and are home to prehistoric fossils, whiskey-coloured rivers and magical natural features. The arches themselves can be explored on foot, but it’s worth considering one of the various options for guided tours of the area, which include the famous Honeycomb Caves. The arches themselves are an amazing feat of natural architecture and inside the caves you’ll discover the bones of birds centuries-gone. There are nine different moa species alone and dozens of others to explore.


Day three – adventure-seekers 

Pack a bag and set out to discover one of the West Coast’s newest and most exciting attractions – the Old Ghost Road. The 85km-long mountain biking and walking track offers plenty of opportunities for adventure, whether you simply want to pack a lunch and explore the edges, or set off on an expedition. You can do this on your own, or there are options for guided tours including helicopter flights and assisted experiences. The route follows an old gold miners’ path between the ghost town of Lyell in the Buller Gorge and Seddonville on the West Coast. You’ll experience native forests, open tussock land, rivers and valleys. 


Day four – best of the rest

There are still plenty of options for a longer stay in the northern West Coast. From caving, fishing, hunting, tramping kayaking and rafting, through to options for thrill-seekers. You don’t have to travel all the way to Queenstown for some of the best jet-boating in the region; there are options right here on the Buller River. 

Or you could round-out your adventure at home with a quiet picnic, taking in some of the majestic sea- and mountain-scapes that we are lucky to have right here at home. 

For more details and options for travel, accommodation and guided experiences in the northern West Coast visit www.westcoast.co.nz