Walking & Hiking

Here are some of our favourite West Coast hikes and walks. It is not a complete list so it is worth talking to the local Information Centre or Department of Conservation to get up to date information on the available tracks and their conditions. The list of West Coast walking tracks below starts at the northern end of the West Coast and goes south.

Kohaihai / Karamea Walks


Heaphy Track

Time and skill level: 5 days between Karamea and Golden Bay

New Zealand Great Walk | Easy tramping

Traverses varied and diverse landscapes through coastline, rainforest and alpine grasslands. The longest of the Great Walks,  it traverses through Kahurangi National Park

Nikau walk

Time and skill level: 50 minutes | easy

Across the Kohaihai River suspension bridge this walk leaves the Heaphy Track to loop through an impressive stand of nikau and northern rata forest.

Scotts Beach walk

Time and skill level: 1 hour | easy

Beautiful short forest walk along some of the Heaphy Track’s coastline.


Oparara Valley walks


Oparara Arch

Time and skill level: 25 minutes | easy

A well-formed track takes you to the southern hemisphere’s biggest limestone arch. Look out for Blue Duck (Whio) on the Oparara River.

Moira Gate Arch walk

Time and skill level: 45 minutes | easy

A gentle walk that takes you from the main Oparara Valley car park to the picturesque Moria Gate Arch.


Ngakawau walks


Charming Creek walkway

Time and skill level: 6 hours one way | easy

The first 30 minutes of this walks from the Ngakawau end provides a delightful walk along a siding used to shunt timber and coal to Ngakawau Railway.

35 km north-east of Westport.


Lyell walks


Cemetery

Time and skill level: 10 minutes | easy

This walk starts at the Lyell picnic/camping area and passes through beech forest to a picturesque goldfield cemetery.


Waimangaroa / Denniston Plateau walks


Denniston Bridle Path walk

Time and skill level: 3 hrs up, 2 hrs down | Moderate

Sign posted from Conns Creek Road between Waimangaroa, this historic bridal track used by coalminers makes a pleasant, if steep, bush walk.

Denniston town walk

Time and skill level: 40 minutes | easy

From Friends of the Hill Museum on the Denniston Plateau this walk takes you via the old historic sites of Denniston Township.


Westport walks


Seal Colony and Cape Foulwind walkway

Time and skill level: 10 minutes or 1 hr 30 minutes | easy

An easy walk from the Tauranga Bay car park leads to viewing platforms overlooking the seal colony. The track continues above the coastline to the historic Cape Foulwind lighthouse.


Charleston walks


Constant and Joyce Bays

Time and skill level: 15 mins | easy

Coastal rock formations and sea views.

Joyce Bay Westport

Joyce Bay. Photo credit to Backpacker Guide.


Tiropahi walk


Time and skill level: 2 hours | easy

Old bush tramway via milling site, river and limestone bluffs. One river crossing.

Alert: It has some storm damage please be careful.


Fox River walks


Fox River Cave Walk and Ballroom Overhang

Time and skill level: 1 hr 15 mins | moderate

Limestone gorge to caves. A torch is a necessity. Caution -  some sections of the track require river bed travel and depending on weather conditions may involve river crossings. Further up the river from the caves is the impressive Ballroom Overhang.

Important notice:  The Department of Conservation’s Buller office has removed the walk and caves from their management. 


Punakaiki walks


Truman track

Time and skill level: 15 mins | easy

This walk emerges from the sub tropical rainforest to a spectacular coastline with cliffs and sea caves.

Pororari River walk

Time and skill level: 1 hour | moderate

The first 15 minutes of this walk takes you to a seat overlooking a spectacular view of the river gorge and limestone cliffs - 1km north of the Visitor Centre on SH6.

Pancake Rocks / Dolomite Point walkway

Time and skill level: 20-minutes | easy

Blowholes and spectacular rock formations, ocean views, SH 6, midway between Westport and Greymouth.


Waiuta walks


Ghost town

Accessible by car.

The most famous West Coast ghost town located 17 km off SH 7, midway between Reefton and Greymouth.

Waiuta School Ghost Town

Waiuta ghost town, open house. Photo credit Shakey Finger Photography.


Reefton walks


Bottled Lightening Powerhouse

Time and skill level: 40 minutes | easy

NZ’s first power generation site. Walk from the Reefton Visitor Centre.

App available to download with more information and story telling.

Prohibition Mine and Ball Mine

Time and skill level: 1 hr | easy

From the old Waiuta town site winds up to the top of the country’s deepest mineshaft.


Lewis Pass walks


Alpine Nature walk

Time and skill level: 20 minutes | easy

Start at St James Walkway car park, located 400m east of Lewis Pass, a great place to do a short walk through alpine wetland enjoying views of Mt Gloriana and Spenser Mountains.


Lake Brunner walks


Velenski walk

Time and skill level: 20 minutes | easy

A 600-metre loop walk starts from Ahau Street just past the motor camp at the western end of Moana township.

Rakaitane walk

Time and skill level: 30 minutes | easy

Starts from the lakeside carpark beyond the motor camp at the western end of Moana township.


Greymouth walks


Point Elizabeth walkway

Time and skill level: 1 hour 45 minutes | easy

Access via North Beach Road, Cobden or Seven Mile Road, Rapahoe. A well formed walk through coastal bush with stunning cliff top views.

Woods Creek walk

Time and skill level: 45 minute loop | easy

Walk through bush to explore fascinating tunnels once used by goldminers. Great for children – allow time for exploring and be sure to take a torch. Access past Shantytown.


Kumara walks


Londonderry Rock Walk

Time and skill level: 10 minutes | easy

Turn off SH 73, 1km east of Kumara, a short walking track through old gold workings to view a huge boulder too large for the miners to move or break.


Arthurs Pass walks


Devils Punchbowl walk

Time and skill level: 30 minutes | easy

Track starts west of the village and climbs up to the base of a spectacular 131m waterfall.

Bridal Veil walk

Time and skill level: 45 minutes | easy

Look out over village 20 mins into track. Through subalpine mountain beech forest to a small clearing with a picnic table, good views of the falls.


Goldsborough walks


Tunnel Terrace walk

Time and skill level: 20 minute loop | easy

Starts on the road between Stafford and Goldsborough (15km north of Hokitika). Track meanders through old gold works and tail race tunnels.

German Gully Pack Track

Time and skill level: 30 minutes | easy

Track climbs out of the valley and emerges on the Scandinavian Hill Road passing several old gold workings.


Hokitika walks


Hokitika Gorge

Time and skill level: 15 minutes | easy

An awesome viewing platform is just four minutes from the car park and this part of the track is accessible for wheelchairs. Carry on further to an impressive swingbridge and the granite rocks of the gorge's walls.

Mahinapua walkway

Time and skill level: 15 minutes or 2 hours 30 minutes one way | easy

The first 15 minutes from the western start of the walkway brings you to Mahinapua Creek or choose to walk further along the old tram line. Also open to mountain bikers.

Lake Mahinapu wetlands

Lake Mahinapua wetlands

Lake Kaniere walkway

Time and skill level: 4 hours | moderate

Starts or ends at Sunny Bight picnic area. Passes along the western shores of the lake. Also open to mountain bikers.

Kaniere Water Race walkway

Time and skill level: 3 hours 30 mins to 4 hrs | moderate

Follows the twists and turns of an historic power station water race as it passes along the edge of the scenic reserve. Also open to mountain bikers as part of the West Coast Wilderness Trail.


Ross walks


Ross Historic Goldfields walk

Time and skill level: 10 minutes – 1 hour walks | easy

A range of interesting historic goldfields walks starting from the Ross Information Centre.


Okarito walks


Westland walk

Time and skill level: 20 minutes | easy

From the car park by the Okarito School House this track winds though bush before crossing the estuary on a curving boardwalk.

Three Mile Pack Track – Okarito coastal walk

Time and skill level: 3 hour 30 minutes | easy

Only suitable within 2 hours either side of low tide. Follows coastal forest to climb over Kohuamarua Bluff to Three Mile Lagoon.

Okarito Trig walk

Time and skill level: 1 hour 30 minutes | easy

Winds gently uphill on well-graded track to a survey trig for amazing views.


Franz Josef Glacier walks


Glacier Valley walk

Time and skill level: 45 minutes | moderate

From the glacier car park it’s a 45-minute walk to the public glacier viewing point.

Te Ara A Waiau walkway

Time and skill level: 1 hour | easy

Track goes from village to glacier carpark via bush track.

Peters Pool walk

Time and skill level: 25 minutes | easy

Enjoy reflective views of the glacier and mountain peaks from the smaller kettle lake


Fox Glacier walks


Glacier Valley walk

Time and skill level: 30 minutes | moderate

From the car park it’s a 30-minute easy walk to the public glacier viewing point.

Te Weheka walkway

Time and skill level: 1 hour 10 minutes | easy

Track goes from village to glacier carpark via bush track.

Lake Matheson walk

Time and skill level: 20 minutes or 45 minutes | easy

From the car park it’s a 20-minute walk to the jetty where on still days the lake forms a mirror. A walk around the lake will take 1 hour 30 minutes.


Haast walks


Monro Beach walk

Time and skill level: 40 minutes | easy

Easy walk through luxuriant coastal forest to Monro Beach.

Ship Creek - option of two walks

Time and skill level: 30 minutes | easy

There are two walks that leave from the picnic area. Experience an ancient kahikatea forest walk or head through wind-shorn coastal forest to a dune lake.


Jackson Bay walks


Smoothwater Bay walk

Time and skill level: 1 hr 30 minutes – 2 hours / moderate

Follows old pioneer’s track and then riverbed back to stunning beach coastline.

Wharekai - Te Kou walk

Time and skill level: 20 minutes | easy

Walk from sheltered Jackson Bay to the rocky shore at Ocean Beach.


Haast Highway walks


Thunder Creek Falls

Time and skill level: 5 minutes | easy

This easy walk is located adjacent to the Haast Highway and follows a sealed track to the spectacular 28m high Thunder Creek Falls.

Thunder Creek Falls

Thunder Creek Falls. Photo credit Backpacker Guide.


Haast Blue Pools walk


Time and skill level: 30 minutes | easy

At the crest of Haast Pass, surrounded by forest, enjoy this gentle walk to a swing bridge and pristine river pools.

More information on West Coast walks

For more information on West Coast Walks please visit: