From the Southern Alps that stretch to the skies in the east, to the western shores lapped by the cold waters of the Tasman Sea, this thin stretch of coastal land is packed with dense forest crowded around beautiful lakes and coastal lagoons.
Most notable perhaps is Lake Matheson, which on still, clear mornings offers a perfectly crystalline reflection of snow-clad Mount Cook and Mount Tasman, enveloped by the lake’s forested shore.
Lake Brunner, fringed by some of the oldest podocarp rainforest in the world, is a magical sight to any keen fisherman, with countless wild trout lurking below the surface.
Five of New Zealand’s 14 national parks are found in this area, which is latticed by stunning hiking trails and plenty of opportunities to explore the native bush.
Greymouth and Hokitika
Greymouth is the ‘big smoke’ of this isolated region and yet remains little more than a provincial town. And then, if you seek a provincial town by New Zealand definition, there is Hokitika, a sleepy seaside village, which each March is shaken awake by its annual Wildfood Festival.
Bursting at the seams, the small town plays host to thousands of brave New Zealanders there to sample wild cuisine such as pigs eyes, pickled bugs and lambs cheeks. However you want it served, the West Coast is sure to deliver.