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Things to do in Punakaiki & the West Coast
For an exhilarating experience, take a trip to Charleston and go underground tubing in the spectacular Nile River Cave System. You'll float along small rapids through natural underground chambers which are also home to millions of Glow Worms.
On Yer Bike
On Yer Bike has the most amazing off-road adventures - the West Coast's high rainfall means there is plenty of opportunities to get amongst the mud! Choose from a variety of adventures including quad bike tours, go kart tours, hagglund rides and 8WD argo tours.
Rafting the Arnold River, this Grade 2 trip is suitable for children as young as 6 years. Pass through podocarp rainforest and farmland; you'll learn about river safety, boat paddle commands and will gradually gain confidence on the water.
Lake Matheson Walk
Lake Matheson is located just 5km from Fox Glacier and is famous for its mirror views of Aoraki Mount Cook. The walk is an easy 2.6km around the lake and suitable for all family members. Take the walk at sunrise or dusk for the most spectacular views.
Fun for Families
The Truman Track
For an easy 30 minute walk that offers the best New Zealand nature has to offer - take the Truman Track - a short distance from Punakaiki Resort. Walk through beautiful native bush to a small, picturesque beach on the short 1.5km walk.
The Charleston Nile River Rainforest Train
Take an open-carriage train ride through an ancient rainforest into the spectacular Nile River limeston canyon. During the trip you will take a short walk to the Nile River Suspension Bridge or even on to the caves entrance.
Located just six kilometres from Westport, Carters Beach is a wonderful example of the famous wild West Coast beaches New Zealand is known for. Carters Beach is a safe swimming beach and a great place to take the family in summer.
Cape Foulwind Seal Colony
Cape Foulwind is located near Westport on New Zealand's West Coast; it's home to a Fur Seal colony which is accessbile via a well-maintained walking track to Tauranga Bay.
Shantytown Heritage Park
No South Island visit is complete without a visit to Shantytown - a heritage town dedicated to telling the stories of the gold miners of the 1860s. See a working sawmill, experience the bang of a sluice gun and even pan for your own gold!
History House provides an insight into West Coast living in the pioneering days - a great place for the whole family.
Little Earth Model Village
Little Earth is New Zealand's first major model village and has been lovingly built by Alan Hunt over the last 16 years. It includes models of real West Coast towns including Waiuta and Reefton.
Hokitika Jade Country
Hokitika is the Jade and greenstone capital of New Zealand - stop in at one of the many jade shops in the area and purchase a souvenir to remember your trip to the West Coast.
Hokitika Glass Studio
Stop in at the Hokitika Glass Studio and watch some master glass blowers create some amazing works - you can also purchase original items here.
Bruce Bay is a tiny settlement located on the Coast Road where the forest meets the sea; it's located approximately half way between Haast and Fox Glacier. There are plenty of historic landmarks to discover or just take a stroll along the wild West Coast beach.
The Pancake Rocks and Punakaiki Blow Holes
The Pancake Rocks and Blow Holes are limestone formations over 30 million years old. Over the years, deceased lime-rich marine life would settle on the sea floor and has since been covered by layers of mud and clay. Over time the limestone has been moulded into extraordinary shapes by the wind and waves. Take a stroll from Punakaiki Resort, only 300 metres from the famous attraction at high tide for the optimum experience.
Charleston is an old gold-mining town, founded in 1867. The town is now famous for its extensive limestone caves and adventurous activities such as cave rafting. Charleston is located approximately 30 minutes from Punakaiki Resort - your West Coast accommodation.
Glow Worm Cave Tour
Travel through the Nile River Caves in the Paparoa National Park and take in the spectacular Glow Worm galaxies and a wonderland of ancient stalagmites and stalactites. The Glow Worm tour is in Charleston, only 30 minutes from your West Coast hotel.
Hokitika Gorge Walk
Hokitika Gorge is truely one of the most beautiful walks in New Zealand. The walk to the gorge is very short at 15 minutes and is suitable for all ages - although small children should be supervised closeley at the end of the track. For a little more adventure, take a walk over the swing bridge for some stunning upstream views.
Take a trip to Fox Glacier - an absosute must-see while you're in the West Coast. The glacier is one of the most accessible in the world and there are plenty of guided tours and walks that will have you up close to the 13km ancient ice giant.
Franz Josef Glacier
Take the rare opportunity to experience Franz Josef Glacier - a 12km long glacier located on the West Coast of the South Island. The terminal face of the glacier is less than 300m above sea level and is just one of three located this close to the coastline.
Discover the 'real New Zealand' in Westport. Westport is steeped in history and there are plenty of remanants of the coal mining days of the past. Stop in at Coaltown Museum - it will give you a great insight into the lives of pioneering coal miners. Punakaiki Resort is located just 56km south of Westport.
Monteith's Brewery - Greymouth
The Monteith's Brewery has been in Greymouth since 1868 and still uses the same brewing traditions almost 150 years on from it's creation. Take a tour around the brewery, learn about each beer and their origins and treat yourself to a tasting of our popular beers.
Haast Pass is a mountain pass through New Zealand's Southern Alps and takes you from the West Coast to Wanaka in Otago. The Haast Pass rises to a height of 562 metres and there is some spectacular scenery and bushwalks along the way - be sure to allow extra time for exploring.