Your kids will love the adventure!
For families wanting to get away from the stress of the city and explore the best that nature has to offer, the West Coast is the perfect laid-back holiday destination.
Scenic Wonderland: Coast Road to Westport
Coast Road, between Westport and Greymouth, is one of the most beautiful drives in the world with its breathtaking views of coastal beaches framed by lush rainforest and a dramatically changing sky.
There are endless places to stop along the way and enjoy a bush walk, discover historic mine sites, or play on the beach.
The small village of Punakaiki, on the edge of the Paparoa National Forest, is a popular place to stop and for good reason–Punakaiki offers a full day’s worth of free adventuring.
The stunning Pancake Rocks and Blowholes, famous for its unique limestone layers, is a short walk and accessible to all family members.
Let the kids have a cave adventure at nearby Punakaiki Cavern, and then immerse yourself in the cool air of a West Coast rainforest on the Truman Track–an easy 30 minute return walk with beautiful views of the forest and ocean.
Spot native birds, such as weka or fantails, hiding among the tall flax bushes and Nikau Palms.
You can also access Truman beach at the end of the track which has a small waterfall and limestone cliffs. (Just be wary of the sudden, strong waves at high tide, especially with children.)
Further up Coast Road, Cape Foulwind offers another beautiful coastline walk with the added bonus of seal viewing!
The New Zealand Fur Seals have chosen Cape Foulwind for its rocky shore and food-rich sea and is one of six breeding colonies on the coast.
Cape Foulwind is also an important site for Blue Penguins and a large Petrel, the Sooty Shearwater.
If you are in the mood for surfing, contact Mark at West Coast Surf and the whole family can enjoy some of the best waves in the world at beautiful Tauranga Bay.
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A History-filled Holiday: Westport to Reefton
The Coast has many fascinating mining towns and sites to learn from, including Coaltown, the museum in Westport, a Goldmine at Charleston, and the Bearded Miner, a miner’s hut in Reefton.
Just 15 minutes from Westport, overlooking the town and Tasman sea, you can spend an afternoon discovering the historic coal-mining settlement of Denniston, established in the 1800s.
Read the stories of miners and their families who lived and worked in some of the harshest conditions.
You can just imagine the unforgiving conditions they faced as you wander around the relics and mine sites, or dare to look down the terrifying Incline, which locals called the eighth wonder of the world, all gravity powered!
When in operation, huge coal-filled wagons flew 518 metres down the Denniston Incline along a steep and dangerous rail track pulling the empty ones up.
The quaint and beautiful town of Reefton was established around 1870 after the gold rush.
Reefton is famous for becoming the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to have public electricity–even before London or New York in fact!
Wander around Reefton’s boutique art galleries, shops and cafe’s or chat to one of the Bearded Miners about life in the 19th century.