Kawatiri Coastal Trail, track updates

Construction of Section 5 of the trail from Okari Road to Virgin Flat Road is nearing completion and we plan to open this section in mid-January next year.

We will then have 28 km of continuous trail built south from Westport and we expect to have the entire 42 km completed to Charleston by July.

The new section features some pristine native forest with some amazing views to the coast and inland to the Paparoa Range

More information: https://kawatiricoastaltrail.co.nz/


Heaphy Track Reopens, October 2023

The popular Great Walk fully reopened on Thursday 19 October after being closed since February 2022, when storms destroyed a section of it including three bridges. Nearly 12,000 people have already booked the Heaphy Track over the next eight months.

A Heaphy Track experience is not complete without stopping over in Karamea. 16 minutes after coming off the Heaphy Track you can be discovering a whole new world.

Karamea is as secluded as it is relaxing; with its rivers, mighty beaches with soft sand, sprawling estuaries, world famous Oparara Basin lost world limestone arches and caves, artisan producers and artists … and of course authentically West Coast hospitality.

More information:

Ōparara Basin Waharoa Unveiled

A waharoa (gateway) marking the entry to a viewpoint of the Ōparara Basin north of Karamea was unveiled in November, signaling the completion of a major upgrade to visitor facilities.

More Information:

17/11/2023 – Department of Conservation article

Waharoa unveiled Oparara credit DOC


The Great Coast Road

We might be a little biased, but the Great Coast Road on the West Coast is undeniably one of the best coastal drives in New Zealand. And it's not just us - even the Lonely Planet agrees!

Check out the Great Coast Road Trip for more inspiration!

More information:

Pike29 Memorial Track Opening Confirmed

The Pike29 Memorial Track is opening on 17 February 2024.

The 11.6km dual mountain biking and walking track will connect the Paparoa Track Great Walk to the Pike River valley.

Approximate distances/times:

Moonlight Hut to Pike Valley carpark, 17km, 4-8 hours

Pike Valley carpark to Paparoa Track intersection, 11.6km, 3-5 hours

Vehicle access to the start of the track in the Pike Valley will be via Logburn Road - which leads into Pike Valley Road - off Atarau Road northeast of Blackball.

For those who do not want to do the whole Pike29 track an easy 15-minute walk from the Pike Valley carpark leads to twin bridges within the forest to give a sense of what the track has to offer.

More information:

Paparoa Track

White Heron Chicks

Kotuku Chicks Start to Hatch

The perfect time to visit White Heron Sanctuary Tours in Whataroa as the critically endangered Kotuku chicks start to hatch. Fifty-six nesting pairs of the endangered birds have landed this years at Aotearoa’s only breading spot – right here on the West Coast!

Each year the birds disperse wildly across the country before returning in mid-September to nest. There are now chicks hatching every day!

Go wild and meet the locals – more inspiration here

More information:

White Heron Sanctuary Tours

Ōkārito Plant Project

The Ōkārito Plant Project was founded by the Ōkārito Native Plants Trust as an innovative solution, empowering communities and businesses to be involved in the restoration and protection of natural ecosystems here on the West Coast of New Zealand. 

Why Okarito? 

New Zealand's South Westland region is very unique in terms of its biodiversity. Its relative isolation from continental landmasses has resulted in a high level of endemic biodiversity with an estimated 80,000 species of native plants and animals, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Ōkārito is a prime example of the area's rich biodiversity. This wetland area is one of the last bastions of wetland biodiversity in the country, making it an important natural wonder. 

More information: 

02/11/2023 – Development West Coast article 

By staying/visiting with the below operators you can actively contribute to the Okarito plant project. From growing plants, to planning projects and ongoing weeding. 

Find out more at https://www.okaritonursery.co.nz/home

  • Book a tour or purchase a product from our member businesses. 
  • Make a donation. 
  • Purchase a plant. 
  • Volunteer for a planting day. 

Each member business integrates learning about the significance of the plant project and its contribution to regenerative tourism into its product/service. Visitors have the opportunity to leave a lasting impact on the West Coast simply by supporting local and member businesses, boosting the local economy and fostering more plantings, as these businesses leverage visitor contributions to coordinate volunteer efforts and time. 

Planting (credit Zak Shaw)

Businesses involved in the Ōkārito Plant Project initiative: