THE NIKAU COAST
🚗 self-drive itinerary
🛏️ minimum 2 night stay recommended
🍽️ dining suggestions offered
📅 visit any time of year
Travel to New Zealand's Nikau Coast, well known for its rich coal mining history in addition to its abundant unique natural attractions and its warm, mild weather. Drive alongside ancient limestone cliffs and don't miss the famous Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki.
Highlights can include:
- walk through unspoiled sub-tropical forest on the Truman Track which emerges on a spectacular coastline with cliffs, caverns, a blowhole and a waterfall which plummets straight onto a rock-strewn beach 👟🐚
- Coaltown Museum in Westport tells the stories of the pioneers search for a better life and the battles they faced in our rugged environment ⛏️
- scenery and history combine on the Charming Creek Walkway along an historic bush tramway, with spectacular vistas up and down the Ngakawau Gorge, alongside an unfolding view of the Mangatini Falls 👟⛏️📸
- step back in time and get a true understanding of how gold was mined at Mitchells Gully - follow the trolly track, explore the old tunnels and enjoy the beauty of the glow worms and native plants ⛏️
- join a guided eco tour amongst the pristine rainforest and limestone caves of the unique Oparara Basin 👟🔦
- experience Black Water Rafting in the enormous Nile River Cave System deep in the untamed natural wilderness of the Paparoa National Park
- Barrytown Knifemaking offers the opportunity to make your own handforged knife from a red hot piece of steel - a unique way creating your own useful souvenir! 🔪
- luxuriant coastal forest, limestone cliffs and canyons, caves and underground streams, and an absolutely spectacular coastline, are all packed into Paparoa National Park 🏞️
- The Great Coast Road takes you alongside ancient limestone cliffs and the Motukiekie Rocks a beautiful place to catch the sunset 🐚📸🛣️
- the Nile River Rainforest Train recreates a bygone era where bush trams once prevailed providing a fantastic way to experience the spectacular wilderness landscapes of the Nile River Canyon 🛤️
- the ancient formations known as Punakaiki's Pancake Rocks are a true wonder of nature and the most visited natural attraction in the region 📸
- get interactive and see if you've the 'metal' to make it as a Denniston miner 130 years ago at The Denniston Experience (currently closed) ⛏️
- experience awe-inspiring beauty and the rugged charm of a West Coast beach from horseback with Punakaiki Horse Treks 🐴
- leave daylight behind you to explore an ancient wonderland sculptured by water and get really close to galaxies of glow worms with Underworld Adventures
- Outwest Tours take you off the beaten track to get away from it all on a journey into the wild heart of the land on a guided scenic 4WD offroad tour
- enjoy a peaceful river and enchanting lagoon kayak with majestic limestone gorge and lush rain forest with Punakaiki Canoes 🛶
- spectacular Cape Foulwind Walkway features a seal colony, a lighthouse and panoramic views of mountains and coastline 👟🐚
- a stunning section of the Heaphy Track and a popular day walk from the Karamea end of the track, Scotts Beach is a spectacular sandy cove enveloped by steep cliffs covered in dense rainforest 👟🐚
- Golden Sands Horse & Wagon Tours offer you the opportunity to travel in the footsteps of the early pioneers (currently closed) 🐴
- Adventure Caving will have you abseiling down a breath-taking shaft. The last of daylight fades as you begin to scramble through a dark abyss of passages deep below - not for the faint hearted
AT A GLANCE
📍 # of Visitors 4.0
🌦️ Chance of Rain4.5
👨👩👦👦 Family Fun2.5
🍽️ Food + Wine 5.0
🏳️🌈 LGBTQI+ friendly 👍
Note: the highest possible score is an 8.0
🎥video courtesy of Department of Conservation on YouTube
THE NIKAU COAST
Sit back and relax. We've planned it all for you.
Day 1 : Arrive on the Nikau Coast
You'll travel to the region, either by car, coach or by flying into Westport Airport. Upon arrival into the Nikau Coast region you'll check in to your accommodation, settle in and get acquainted with your surroundings for the next 2 nights.
This afternoon take the short walk on the Truman Track and around Punakaiki's Pancake Rocks and blowhole in the beautiful Paparoa National Park. Later on you could take in the sunset along The Great Coast Road and frame your own photo of the Motukiekie Rocks. Or opt to take a walk to the seal colony on the Cape Foulwind Walkway before finishing the day at The Bay House for a delicious dinner overlooking the stunning coastline.
Day 2 : beauty both above and below ground
Take the opportunity to explore both above and below ground in the Paparoa National Park with Underworld Adventures. Choose between their range of different tours that cater to everyone. You can simply see an array of amazing glow worms, or add in the thrill of black water rafting. Keen spelunking enthusiasts may wish to try abseiling deep inside naturally form canyons and caverns. When you do eventually arrive back to daylight, you'll have the opportunity to take in the vistas of the limestone cliffs and pristine rainforests of the area too.
A great alternative to your day could be challenging yourself to the scenic and interesting heritage trail of Charming Creek Walkway (see video), or head further north to Karamea and discover the unique Oparara Arches.
Whatever you've ended up doing with your day, we'll arrange dinner for you to delight in and celebrate your last night in this region at one of our favourite restaurants in the area.
Day 3 : Depart the Nikau Coast
On your way out of the region, take time to get lost in the stories of the early pioneers of the region at the Coaltown Museum, and stock up on supplies in Westport before continuing on to your next New Zealand adventure, wherever you want that to be.