Haast - World Heritage Area
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On the edge of the wilderness
The Haast region is a lost world that is so spectacular and remote UNESCO awarded it the status of being a "World Heritage" area.
From Haast to Jackson Bay there are spectacular beaches, dunes, lakes and wetlands, all with the soaring backdrop of the Southern Alps making it an outdoor enthusiast's playground.
People come here not only for the scenery but also for hunting and tramping.
There are many good short and longer walks and activities include unique Jet Boat tours and helicopter flights.
There is an abundance of wildlife including native birds, fur seals, Hectors Dolphins and Fiordland Crested Penguins.
This is real whitebaiting country and fishing is outstanding from Jackson Bay.
The region of Haast includes Bruce Bay, Lake Paringa, Lake Moeraki, Haast, Jackson Bay, Haast Pass to Makarora.
Getting to Haast
- Print the West Coast Distance and Driving Time Calculator (PDF 244KB).
- Print a map of the Haast region (PDF 3.2MB)
- Find out about the weather in Haast on metservice.com
Find out time and distance from Haast to other locations:
Between Fox Glacier and Haast
The drive between Fox Glacier and Haast is beautiful and passes many points of interest.
South of Fox Glacier you will find the start of the Copland Track - a 17 km, 7 hour tramp that gradually climbs past waterfalls, mountains and fantastic views to reach Welcome Flat.
With its large hut and natural hot springs it's an awesome place to relax and enjoy the view.
At Bruce Bay the road hits the coast. Stop and enjoy the view and the crashing surf of the Tasman Sea and admire the many rock sculptures visitors have built.
Fiordland Crested Penguin, Monro Beach Lake Moeraki is a gem of a lake. Nearby the Monro Beach Walk is your best bet to see the world’s rarest penguin, the Fiordland Crested Penguin.
The penguins are best seen between August to November either late afternoon or early morning. Please don’t take dogs with you – they are a major threat to penguins.
Knights Point Lookout and Ships Creek
Knights Point Lookout has views of the coast north and south and is a favourite stop for travellers. Ships Creek has an excellent viewing tower for seabird watching and you can choose from two trails.
The Kahikatea Forest Walk (30mins) takes you via a boardwalk into kahikatea swamp forest with great bird watching while the Dune Walk (30 mins) goes along the beach and then inland to a small dune lake.
Haast to Paringa cattle track
The historic Haast to Paringa cattle track was built in 1875 by farmers at Haast. Stock were driven from the Landsborough and Cascade valleys to sale yards at Whataroa, a two-week journey at best. It’s now a three-day tramp.
Driving the Haast Highway and Haast Pass
The Haast Highway between Haast and Haast Pass winds past bluffs and river flats.
The many waterfalls really put on a show if it is raining. It is worth doing the very short walk to the Thunder Creek Falls near Pleasant Flat - a 28m high waterfall adjacent to the Haast Highway.
Other good walks include Fantail Falls and Roaring Billy Falls.
Gates of Haast
Another must do photo stop is the Gates of Haast.
The sheer gorge with its huge boulders was the most challenging sector of the Haast Highway.
Just please don't stop on the bridge, there is a layaway you can use.
Haast Pass is 563m above sea-level and is the lowest crossing point over the Southern Alps.
It follows an ancient trail used by Maori travelling to the West Coast in search of pounamu or greenstone.
One of the best short walks near the pass is the Blue Pools Walk. It is an easy walk to a series of crystal clear pools that have been carved out of the rocks by centuries of erosion.