New Zealand’s Great Coast Road
The Great Coast Road between Greymouth and Westport has been named one of the top ten coastal drives in the world by Lonely Planet. Of course, we were determined to check out WHY!
The Great Coast Road is a must-do for any visitor to the West Coast of New Zealand. It follows the coastline with the mighty Tasman Sea on one side and the tropical rain forest on the other. There are hugh craggy rocks, rocky outcrops covered in starfish and mussels, occasional seal colonies and plenty of bird life. With a number of lookout points, tracks, and secret little beaches – there is more then enough to fill any day. In fact, if we had more time, we would have done the coastal road over a period of two to three days! Since this area receives a lot of rainfall, spreading you explorations over a couple of days also ensures that you get a more varied weather experience. Our day along the coastal road was pretty chilly, with spots of drizzle. We spent all day driving, and we really wouldn’t recommend this!
In hindsight, we would have taken one of our days in Queenstown and spent it on the West Coast. Whilst looking for accommodation though, the options were bleak. We did, however, plan this whole trip LAST MINUTE! If you are planning with a few months in advance, you should have no problem finding a few goos spots along the coast.
Although the views were still amazing, we are suckers for sunny weather and blue skies. I am certain that we would have enjoyed the scenic surroundings more if they skies weren’t as overcast.
Here are some pictures from our West Coast drive…
Best Places to Visit on The Great Coast Road
~ Taken from WestCoast.co.nz
Between Charleston and Fox River
- Take the kids for a picnic on the sheltered beach at Constant Bay;
- Walk to Constant and Joyce Bays for great coastal views;
- Rock climb in Charleston;
- Guided caving tours into a glowworm cave;
- The Tiropahi Tram mountain bike Track is a great mixed grade ride;
- Learn about Charleston history by visiting the Mitchells Gully Gold Mine or the two pioneer cemeteries;
- Explore Fox River track, north of Punakaiki.
- Check out the famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes (20 minute loop track to Dolomite Point);
- Beach walks, sunsets and towering limestone cliffs define this area;
- There is a cafe, pub, dining and accommodation in Punakaiki;
- Do the easy (30 minutes return) Truman Track for a close up view of limestone rock formations;
- There are several other walks in the Punakaiki area and Paparoa National Park. The Pororari River Walk can take from 15 minutes to 2-hours depending on how far you go. It follows a spectacular limestone gorge or you can continue along a portion of the Inland Pack Track to do a 3-hour loop back to Punakaiki.
- Make your own hand forged knife from red-hot steel and native timber – no experience needed!
- Do the Point Elizabeth Walk from here. The 2-hour walk has great views of the coastline and a large section follows an old goldmining water-race.
- The Coal Creek Falls Walkway leads to a gorgeous fan waterfall with a great pool;
- Off road biking, go-karting or a Haglund ride;
- Explore the great adrenaline pumping activities on the West Coast;
- Check out the Miners Hall – a well-known historic place in Runanga.
Definitely plenty to see and do along New Zealand’s Great Coast Road, and the coastal views are simply stunning!