West Coast Highway – Westport to Greymouth in New Zealand
The scenic West Coast Highway drive from Westport to Greymouth takes travellers on a journey over a distance of 100km accompanied by the impeccable beauty the west coast of New Zealand's South Island. This drive is as popular with the locals as it is with visitors from abroad. If you were to rush from one point to the other, the drive wouldn't take much more than an hour.
Of course, the whole point of a road trip is to enjoy your surroundings at your leisure and make it as memorable as possible. This is why so many choose to explore this part of the country by campervan, RV or motorhome rental. There's nothing like enjoying that fresh air as you enjoy a relaxing cruise with extra legroom and a flexible schedule.
Westport to Greymouth
As with any scenic drive, if you are making it a one-way trip, you should definitely arrive a day or two early so that you have some time to explore you starting point. Westport has plenty to offer in terms of attractions and activities. If you have flown in from another part of the country or from abroad, it's great to stretch your legs and get accustomed to the climate, possible time zone change and so on. If you are travelling with children, you may want to give them the opportunity to run around at Sherwood Island State Park, Earthplace or Compo Beach. If you expect them to spend a fair amount of time on the road, it's important to let them use up some of their youthful energy before you depart. If you are looking for entertainment, make sure that you check the listings for the Westport Country Playhouse.
If you are driving in a campervan or similar vehicle, you may also like to stock up on some healthy foods so that you don't rely strictly on junk food all the way. Visit the local farmers market and pack some fresh produce for the road! For those who are up for a bit of an extended trip, you can take a little detour by Tauranga Bay. Map out all of the campgrounds along the way where you can park your RV and plan your trip accordingly.
As you drive along this route, you will make your way across the Waitekere River which is followed by Charleston. If you fancy some underground rafting, this is the place to do just that! Fox River is a really popular spot for caving and the Paparoa National Park provides scenic views on your way to Punakaiki. Many visitors choose to stop in Fox River so that they can explore this beautiful area and take a break from driving.
While in Punakaiki, you can visit the famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes along with Paparoa Park and the park's Visitor Centre.
As you continue your scenic drive to Greymouth, you will notice several signs indicating mini detours to various seaside towns and villages like Barrytown and Runanga. If you wish to take a break from driving, stretch your legs and grab a bite to eat while enjoying a view of the ocean, then these stops are ideal.
Greymouth is an attraction in itself and there's plenty to see and do before you either make your way back to Westport or continue on your journey. If you enjoy bike riding, you should definitely sign up for the West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail!
For those who want something a bit more thrilling, you may enjoy rafting in Dragon's Cave. If, however, you've had enough of the physical activities and would much rather let your muscles rest, you could stroll around Greymouth, do some shopping, visit the Grey District Aquatic Centre or Monteith's Brewing Company. The Woods Creek Walk is another popular activity if you are looking for an outdoor experience that's not too strenuous.
Depending on how many of these activities you wish to enjoy, you should allow enough time for each one without forcing your schedule too much. The last thing you want to do is rush through your holiday just so that you can fit in as many sights and fun as possible. From Greymouth you can carry on down the West Coast to the Glaciers and Queenstown; or head inland across the Southern Alps to Christchurch on the East Coast of New Zealand.