For a campervan or motorhome holiday with great roads and beautiful destinations, the West Coast has more to offer than any other region in New Zealand.
Take your time, follow the scenic routes and meet the locals as you travel from one breathtaking destination to another. Go to sleep to the sound of the waves, find solace in remote places and fill your bucket with memories to last a lifetime.
A gentle rainforest trail leads to the quiet beauty of the impressive Ōpārara Arches near Karamea.
Stay at the Last Resort and head out into one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets. Walk to the Ōpārara Arches or go on a thrilling guided tour to the spectacular Honeycomb Caves in the Ōpārara Basin and rainforest. Guided tours are the only way you’ll get to experience this treasure. See ancient moa bones and visit an untouched part of New Zealand.
The long, wide sandy expanse of Carters Beach is a favourite Westport summer holiday destination.
Stay at Carters Beach Top 10 and wake up to the sound of the waves and relax in the warm temperate climate of Westport. Carters beach is a popular swimming spot on a hot day; grab yourself a fishing licence and head to the Buller River to catch dinner — reputedly home to the best brown trout in New Zealand.
Local Tip: Buy a tin cup from the i-Site before you head off, pack water and your lunch – you’ll need both!
Park up at Punakaiki Beach Camp, near the famous Pancake Rocks, and enjoy easy access to walking, biking, kayaking and exploring in Paparoa National Park.
Stay at the Punakaiki Beach Camp and make the most of the Buller region, exploring Cape Foulwind Walkway and the seal colony, Charleston and Underworld Adventures. Cycle the Kawatiri Trail, go up onto the Denniston Plateau and, of course, don’t forget to check out the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and visitor centre. Don’t leave without experiencing the Truman Track, probably the best coastal short track you’ll ever see…
Check out some lesser known epic experiences like the Punakaiki Cavern or, for something unique, SUP the Pororari River, check out Fox River community and — right next to the beach camp — the Pororari Lagoon is the perfect spot to watch the sunset.
Maruia Hot Springs is a quiet place to stay and wellness retreat in a pretty forest valley.
Maruia Hot Springs is often missed by hurried travellers who could best use some rest. Stay at the hot springs and disconnect for a few days with a day retreat or time in the spa, and exploring the lovely surrounding alpine countryside.
Check out Reefton ‘town of light’, the renowned Reefton Gin Distillery and stroll the main street shops for some local treasures.
Abandoned now and preserved as a heritage destination, Waiuta was once a thriving gold mining centre in the hills beyond Reefton.
Stay overnight in the real life ghost town of Waiuta, and immerse yourself in the long lost heritage of the coast. Combining Reefton, the Denniston Mine, and the Brunner Mine, will give you a great perspective of life on the Coast during the gold rush. In Reefton check out Black’s Point Museum, head out on any of the numerous mountain bike trails and don’t forget to try your hand at gold-panning at Slab Hut Creek – you might just strike it rich!
Cross the suspension bridge over the Arnold River as it flows out of Lake Brunner and keep an eye out for lazy brown trout.
Stop off at Arthur’s Pass and Castle Hill on your way over to the Coast. En route Lake Brunner is well known for trout fishing and beautiful walks. Stay a few days at the Greymouth Seaside Top 10 Holiday Park while you’re exploring the region. For some off-the-beaten-track, great fun for young and old, go backcountry with On Yer Bike Adventures, or get on the Wilderness Trail cycleway.
Monteith’s is a good spot to get to know the locals or take a roadie to Blackball to check out the infamous Formerly the Blackball Hilton and the Blackball Salami Company before hitting the trails — from here, you can do a section of the Paparoa Track, New Zealand’s newest Great Walk. Check out Shantytown Heritage Park and learn the fascinating story behind the community that moved an entire town to preserve its heritage. All things heritage come to life on the Woods Creek Track, a short walk that follows in the footsteps of early gold miners.
Hokitika Gorge is a photogenic marvel with its vibrant blue waters and white granite rocks surrounded by lush green rain forest.
Stay at Hokitika Holiday Park to make the most of the ‘cool little town’, as voted by Touropia. Check out the blues at Hokitika Gorge and the beach – hey, let’s make that, do more than just check out the beach, you can have a real toasty bonfire! Wildfoods or the Driftwood and Sand Festivals are epic times to be in town.
This town has a fascinating and rich history so follow the Heritage Trail to uncover some national secrets. Drop in on the locals at the quirky Westland Industrial Heritage Park, where you’ll find them busy restoring old machinery and relics of the mining past. A gold coin donation is all you need. Head to Goldsborough and pan for gold – there is plenty of it left in the hills.
Feeling hungry? Check into Fat Pipi Pizza for a Whitebait Pizza, Gatherer Wholefoods for some amazing plant-based delights and don’t overlook the Hokitika Sandwich Company for what might just be the best sandwiches in New Zealand. Go fishing for perch in lovely Lake Mahinapua or follow the Wilderness Trail, it will take you across two continental plates, to amazing Lake Kaniere. Don’t have a bike? Cycle Journeys or Kiwi Journeys will help with a hire.
Historic Ōkārito Wharf shed on the shores of Ōkārito Lagoon with Mt Adams on the South Westland skyline.
Ross Top 10 Holiday Park is right on the beach at the end of the Wilderness Trail and next to Ross — the town that started the West Coast’s golden years. Make your way down to Harihari and check out the Coastal Walkway, catch dinner in Lake Ianthe or the Wanganui River.
The Whataroa River Campsite is a beautiful place for anyone seeking solace. The White Heron Sanctuary Tour at Ōkārito explores New Zealand's only kotuku, white heron, nesting place. Ōkārito has plenty to offer with kayak trips, boat tours, and scenic walks like the Ōkārito Trig track. Get to know this tiny West Coast community, stay at Ōkārito Campground and treat yourself with coffee and baking at the local cafe.
Adventures on the glaciers start from the glacier country towns of Franz Josef and Fox.
Live life grand in New Zealand’s own Glacier Country. Stay at the Rainforest Retreat powered sites, and eat well at the many restaurants and dining spots. Waiho Hot Tubs are the perfect way to relax after a day exploring the sites. Franz Josef Wilderness Tours will take you to the best viewing spots.
Treat yourself to the best ice experience outside of the Himalayas, with one of the many helicopter tour providers — there has never been a better time to explore the glaciers. For something different try Heli Ice Climbing in Fox Glacier. There are many scenic walks leading to some of New Zealand’s most spectacular views. Head out to Lake Matheson to check out the café and the perfect reflections of the mountains – then to Gillespies Beach for more epic walks.
Far from the crowds, Haast is the gateway to the vast UNESCO World Heritage Site of Te Wahipounamu South West New Zealand.
Bruce Bay, Paringa, and Lake Moeraki abound with treasures too often overlooked. Stay at Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki where Gerry will introduce you to the incredible, endangered wildlife that find sanctuary here. The many lakes are home to trout and delicious land-locked salmon. Discover the beech gap, a botanical anomaly that stretches from Lake Paringa all the way to Greymouth.
Local Tip: For lakeside wilderness camping try DOC’s Lake Paringa campsite.
This stunning region is the gateway to Haast and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Te Wahipounamu South Westland. Walk to Ship Creek, Monro Beach and Knights Point Lookout; take a scenic flight over the UNESCO park and into Milford Sound or land by a remote lake for the ultimate picnic. Carry on all the way to the end of the road at Jackson Bay, stay a while and indulge in a crayfish feast at The Craypot.