The Wild, Wild West [Coast], Part 1

The West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand is often called the Wild West. It is remote, untamed, at times rough, and always wild.

I’ll forewarn you: this pair of posts should really be about 4 or 5 posts. I am not sure whether I am being lazy or efficient but the basic premise of this post is “One Hour from Greymouth.”

To the east are the Southern Alps.

To the west is the Tasman Sea.

And to the north and south, it’s a little on the wild side. The “Great Coast Road” (Highway 6) to the north is a terrifying 2 lane road with sea, cliffs, and hairpin turns. As you leave Greymouth on Highway 6 to the south, you share the single lane bridge with the opposite direction as well as the train. Figure that one out…we haven’t met a train yet but the signs are clear: the train has the right of way.

This post is intended as a snapshot of a few fun but lesser known hikes (aka tramps) we’ve tried recently. There are more…many more.

To the North

One of the most popular places on the west coast is Punakaiki, and for good reason. But I have written about it already.

But drive a few minutes further north to the Truman Track. This photo appears to be a big sign. It’s not.

The roundtrip walk is short, except it takes a LONG time due to too many photo ops. There are unbelievable trees–including massive Rimu and Rata. The birds all compete for your attention–tui, bellbirds, and some very large bird that we haven’t found in our bird book. Yet.

Keep walking and you suddenly leave the dense rainforest, wander through salt meadows, and scamper down cliffs for amazing views of the rough and rocky coast. Each step is amazing. Yes, the guy in the photo below might have gotten wet.



When you drag yourself away from the Truman Track, head further north still for another 15 minutes or so. You’ll pass the penguin zones. Or maybe you’ll stop there too.


On to Fox River, where there is a market on the first Sunday of each month, a pedestrian bridge, gorgeous beaches with birds and even red starfish if you look closely, and rocks….massive very cool rocks. And caves. Oh my! I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.


Dan is in the photo below. He is hard to find.


Even though this is just an hour or so north of us, we may have to plan a weekend in a bach* near Fox River.

*bach = beach or vacation home, often rustic, pronounced like “batch.” I haven’t gotten accustomed to that one yet, but let me spend a weekend in one and I think I will figure it out!

Part 2 coming soon, about lesser known places one hour south of Greymouth including the Blue Spur gold mining camp, Lake Mahinapua, and the Mananui Bush Walk.



10 thoughts on “The Wild, Wild West [Coast], Part 1

  1. Lisa, so beautiful!! It looks like you have it all within an hours drive.
    We are still in St Croix and it is a different kind of beautiful. It is 90 today with a wonderful tropic breeze.


  2. I can’t even imagine a single lane bridge sharing traffic in both directions AS WELL AS A TRAIN!!!! You have to be very daring to cross that bridge. Ceree Schiller


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