There are two ways other than by car that make a memorable journey to the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, the TranzAlpine Rail trip and flying into Hokitika. Both take you across the spectacular Southern Alps which offer some of the best scenery in New Zealand. Once you reach the West Coast we have a great Greymouth car rental branch run by Kerry and his team, with a range of affordable hire cars to help you explore the area at your leisure. Kerry and his team are happy to help out with local information, road trip routes to take and memorable places to visit.
West Coast Travel Options
The TranzAlpine rail journey offers a special one way ticket from Christchurch to Greymouth daily for $99.00. The train departs at 8.15 in the morning, arriving at 12.45 in Greymouth. The scenery is spectacular, taking in Castle Hill with it’s majestic rocky outcrops, and Arthur’s Pass, a beautiful alpine village in the middle of the alps. What could be more relaxing than sitting back and enjoying the breathtaking views from the comfort of a train? If you are in a bit of hurry, Air New Zealand has four flights a day into Hokitika from Christchurch, and on a clear day the flight path has the added bonus of full views of the Southern Alps from the air.
West Coast Attractions
We’ve put together a few places we think you would enjoy visiting on the West Coast, all easily accessible in a rental car.
After picking up your car rental in Greymouth stick around for a while and visit the Museum to find out more about the West Coast’s long history of gold mining. There is still gold to be found in the rivers and most locals have a few nuggets. Another visual spectacle is to be had at the river mouth. Park your rental car here and on a stormy day you can sometimes see the fishing boats coming in over the bar. Awe inspiring or terrifying, you pick.
Kumara Hotel is an historical hotel built in 1876 for the gold miners that were flocking to the area to get rich. The hotel has been completely refurbished in keeping with the original heritage, and offers food and accommodation.
Hokitika Township is worth a visit with its beautiful art and crafts for view and sale. The West Coast is highly renowned for skilled craftsmen and artists. You can find genuine unique New Zealand souvenirs you and your family back home will love. Visit the Jade Factory, with the best greenstone (also known as jade or pounamu) in the world, and the Wilderness Gallery with fabulous local art and collectibles.
Just 33 km east of Hokitika, the Hokitika Gorge has the most stunning turquoise blue water, and offers walking tracks, kayaking adventures and scenic drives taking in the spectacular Dorothy Falls and Lake Kaniere.
The West Coast Treetops Walkway is a 450 metre long steel walkway 20 metres above the ground which is wheelchair and pushchair accessible. If you like heights, climb the lookout Tower 40 metres above the forest floor, allowing you to get above the rainforest canopy and take in Lake Mahinapua and the surrounding area. Enjoy watching the abundant bird life and views to the Southern Alps and out to the coast. The Mahinapua Cafe, set in beautiful native bush is the perfect place to relax after your exhilarating Treetop Walk.
Punakaiki is north of Greymouth and famous for its peculiar pancake rocks and spectacular blowholes. The pancake rocks are an amazing geological feature you will not see anywhere else. The landscape here is stunning with the sea crashing against the rock formations. The rainforest in this area is full of the native Nikau palm, and looks almost primeval.
When you visit the West Coast it almost feels like you have received a pass into someone’s private nature sanctuary. Everything is beautiful, there are not too many people and all of these places are so close. These places occupy only a small stretch of the coast, but if you want to explore a little further, Lake Brunner, Cape Foulwind, Reefton, Shanty Town and other amazing destinations await. Take a look at some more of the West Coast attractions accessible from Greymouth.
So what are you waiting for? Book your rental car with Kerry at our friendly Greymouth car rental branch and spend a couple of days of your holiday on the West Coast, you won’t be disappointed.