The West Coast is an untamed natural wilderness, encompassing sweeping coastlines, mountain peaks, glaciers, rainforests and lakes.
This vast, sparsely populated landscape stretches 600 kilometres (370 miles) and is New Zealand’s largest and most protected region. It includes the spectacular Haast World Heritage Area, five of New Zealand’s 14 national parks and five marine reserves.
Conservation and sustainability are important to the West Coast, where 90 per cent of the land is administered by the Department of Conservation (DOC). Native wildlife and vegetation flourish along the coastline, in rainforests and on the icy slopes of the Southern Alps.
Travel guide publisher Lonely Planet called the Great Coast Road one of the world’s “Top 10 Coastal Drives”. The rugged landscape also makes the West Coast a destination for thrillseekers, pursuing activities such as heli-hiking on glaciers, mountain biking, sky diving and rafting.