Westland Tai Poutini National Park

West Coast national parks

Westland Tai Poutini National Park

National parks, World Heritage and kiwi sanctuaries

With five national parks, a World Heritage Area and rare wildlife sanctuaries, the West Coast is a jewel in New Zealand's conservation crown.

Kahurangi, Paparoa, Arthurs Pass, Westland Tai Poutini and Mount Aspiring national parks, and the precious UNESCO World Heritage Area of Te Wahipounamu - South West New Zealand, offer diverse ecology and experiences, each telling a different conservation story.


Kahurangi National Park, on the north of the West Coast between Karamea and Golden Bay, is one of New Zealand's newest national parks and the second largest. While large areas remain as untracked wilderness, there is a wonderful network of tracks in other parts exploring wild rivers, high plateau and alpine herb fields, and coastal forests.

The Heaphy Track, one of New Zealand's Great Walks traverses this park. It is a 4-6 day hike or a 2-3 day mountain bike ride for experienced riders (seasonal).

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Paparoa Track Paparoa Track
The Paparoa Track

New Zealand's newest multi-day trail, the Paparoa Track is a 3-day hiking or mountain biking adventure.

paparoa national park


Paparoa National Park features coastal forest along a spectacular coastline with an abundance of nīkau palm trees, steep limestone cliffs and deep canyons, caves and underground streams. And much can be seen easily without travelling too far from the car.

The park is best known for the bizarre Pancake Rocks and impressive blowholes of Dolomite Point near Punakaiki. The blowholes put on their best performance at high tide so check at the local iSite for times. It's also the start or beginning of the multi-day Paparoa Track.

For the adventurous there are amazing guided caving opportunities, along with easy kayaking on the Pororari River and lovely rainforest walks.


The West Coast borders Arthur's Pass National Park at the main divide and there is a striking difference between the landscapes on either side.

The drier eastern side is predominately mountain beech while to the west dense rainforest dominates.

This park has many family friendly short walks off the road. The cheeky kea / mountain parrots are common here so keep your cameras at the ready for a great shot -- just don't let them steal your equipment or lunch. The world famous TranzAlpine scenic train journey stops here too en route between Greymouth and Christchurch.

TranzAlpine train crossing a summery Waimakariri River amidst the mountains of Arthur's Pass National Park.
Fox Neve & Westland Tai Poutini National Park


Westland Tai Poutini National Park extends from the highest peaks of the Southern Alps to the Tasman Sea and is split by the Alpine Fault. It is a place of dramatic contrasts with snow-capped mountains, steep forested slopes, glaciers and impassible gorges to the east of the fault and forested lowlands, lakes, wetlands and wide river mouths to the west.

The area is best known for the Franz Josef & Fox Glaciers where you can walk up the river valleys to see the terminal faces or take a guided trip onto the ice. Westland National Park is the backbone of Glacier Country and is part of the South West New Zealand UNESCO World Heritage Area.


At the southern end of the West Coast, Mount Aspiring National Park is a mecca for walkers, mountaineers and those who just like dramatic and wild scenery. Haast is a great gateway to viewing the northern edge of the park with guided tours, helicopter flights, jet boat rides and river safaris on offer.

Mount Aspiring National Park is part of the South West New Zealand UNESCO World Heritage Area.

Enjoy the views of Westland National Park mountains from your room.
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There are two kiwi sanctuaries on the West Coast. The Okarito Sanctuary protects New Zealand's rarest kiwi, the rowi while the Haast Tokoeka Sanctuary works to protect the Haast tokoeka.

Both sanctuaries are part of BNZ Operation Nest Egg -- a world-leading conservation programme where eggs and wild-born chicks are taken to a safe location for rearing before being released back into the wild once they are big enough to survive. The Okarito rowi are reared at the West Coast Wildlife Centre in Franz Josef.


Westland Tai Poutini, Mount Aspiring, Aoraki/Mount Cook and Fiordland national parks make up the internationally recognised South West New Zealand UNESCO World Heritage Area which has been recognised for its unique natural and cultural values. Spectacular landscapes, ancient forests, rocks and animals from the ancient continent of Godwanaland (going back 80 million years), rare plants and wildlife including the endangered rowi and Haast tokoeka kiwi and the flightless takahe all make their home here.

For more information on the West Coast National Parks please visit the Department of Conservation website.

Haast UNESCO World Heritage Site