The West Coast on the South Island in New Zealand is a huge road that crosses the island along the coast. Renowned for being in the top of one of the most beautiful roads to do in the world, and … I confirm it.
After our nice trip around the Golden Bay, we take the road to the west coast, without plans or schedule, Loic guides us day by day and makes itinerary week by week based on my Mympas and his own research.
Let me help you by providing you our itinerary during several weeks.
Click on my My Maps to find all the points that i give you in this article.
We arrive from the Golden Bay by the only road 60 even i should say “highway” even for me they have nothing comparable to our highways in Europe (here, a single band, 100 km / h max)
We follow the highway 60 with and our first stop is at the Nelson lakes, the famous lake rotoiti and is famous pontoon. This is one of the most famous pictures of New Zealand. And yes, to be honest, it’s really beautiful.
It’s a rainy day when we arrived, so we decide in the meantime the sunny next day to enjoy a good coffee and internet. We find our happiness at the Klincker café (point 120). Delicious desserts and wifi rather good, I strongly recommend it in case of bad weather.
For the night, the carparks are really far ( freecarparks ) or expensive, BUT we found just next to the Klincker café a carpark at $ 6 a night per vehicle, unbeatable (point 185).
The next day it is gone for the treck of the mount robert, if you want to make only one treck in Nelson lakes it’s this one . It’s soooo beautifull and it was a pleasure to do it. (4 hours drive, park at the carpark BEFORE the one at the top, because that’s where you end the track).
After a good night, we take the road to the West Coast and try the road to Lake Rotoroa (which I officially renamed it : 100 million sandflies lake). No more interesting, don’t deserve the detour. (point 204)
Now let’s go to the Buller gorge, a very nice suspension bridge and after you have a small track. Be careful, you have to pay to pass the bridge, it’s nice, but nothing extraordinary. If you want to keep your money, go your way.
We arrive at Wesport, and we choose to visit all the north of the West-coast, many don’t do it because it’s a big detour and at the end you have to be back. Buuuuut …. let me show you that this this road deserve to be worth seeing.
We first stay for the night at Wesport. We decide to see the sunset at the famous Cape Fouldwind and … wow …. It’s magic ! (I advise you, once the first barrier passed on the treck, to turn just a few meters after to the the right to see the see at the best viewpoint through a small discreet path).
This sunset on the west coast is one of my favorite moment in this country ( point 98 ).
First stop for a very nice track in Ngakawau. It’s flat, it’s an old mine train road. You can do it entirely, more than 5 hours, but we turned back shortly after the waterfall because the rest was only the forest and we saw the most interesting (point 88).
We stop for the night at the free carpark of little Wanganui, almost desert and in front of the beach, it’s just so cool ! And the most beautiful? We can make a fire in front of the beach !! This is extremely rare in New Zealand, and off course, we did it. The next day to start the day, a good coffee and a muffin for $ 5 at the village cafe, DE-LI-CIOUS my muffin was just baked and still lukewarm, mioum mioum! (point 196)
We continue our trip and climb to the Opera Basin. A little treck that leads us to arches of natural stones in the forest. It is really beautiful if you have a beautiful light.
WARNING : the road which brings you to the Opera Basin is really chaotic and very strong sloping. There are only a few passages for two cars, you have to be are very careful because we don’t see the others cars coming from the other direction. Small advice, leave early in the morning to dont’ cross another car.
We finish at the end at Kohaihai Shelter, a very beautiful and relaxing beach. (You can also start the Abel tasman track for the day) (point 191)
And here we are, no, we have to be back to Greymouth to go down in the south
End of the first part of this very loooong road,
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