Lake Brunner © Radius Images

Loved by the locals: Central West Coast


AA Members can save 10% on selected accommodation

Start looking

Find great walking tracks, picturesque lakes, historic townships and a dramatic coastline around the South Island's Central West Coast.

1. The Croesus Track

This old miners' track crosses the southern Paparoa Range between Barrytown, north of Greymouth, and Blackball in the Grey Valley. It’s 18km long and can be hiked in two days or one really long day. Recently, it has also been popular with mountain biking.

For a shorter option hike for an hour or so up from Barrytown to enjoy the ancient forest and the views over the Tasman Sea.

2. Point Elizabeth Walkway

Another track, but this one much shorter, easier and closer to Greymouth. Start at either Cobden or Rapahoe and follow a gravelled coastal walk through the subtropical forest of nīkau palms and mamaku (black tree fern) twined with supplejack vines and kiekie.

There are also large podocarps such as rimu, kahikatea and miro, along with the northern rātā and its crimson flowers during spring and summer.

3. Greymouth Breakwater

For some free entertainment, travel out either side of the breakwater in town to watch local surfers battling the often-large waves, as well as the fishing boats coming and going across the challenging Grey River Bar. The breakwaters are made from huge blocks of quarried rock, known as rip rap. When the surf is huge there can be quite a gathering of onlookers.

#fishingboat #greymouthbar #greymouth #westcoast #nz

A post shared by Mark Robertson (@nzrobbo) on Jun 10, 2017 at 11:30am PDT

4. Lake Brunner

About half an hour’s drive inland from Greymouth is this tranquil area based around the small settlement of Moana.

There are actually seven lakes here, offering a range of activities, experiences and views, from the tranquil to the adventurous.

The Tranzalpine train that travels between Christchurch and Greymouth stops here, and there are plenty of DOC tracks and walks nearby.

5. Blackball

This small, quirky town is about 30km inland from Greymouth. It was named after the Blackball Shipping Line, which originally leased land nearby to mine for coal. Before that it was also known as Joliffetown and Moonlight Gully.

These days it is famous for its historical hotel formerly known as the Blackball Hilton, as well as its Blackball sausages.

To complete the unusual experience, carry along to Roa – formerly a mining settlement – and another end-of-the-road, West Coast experience.

Blackball general store in Blackball on the West Coast of New Zealand

A post shared by marie adamson (@flossie_fizzlewit) on Apr 14, 2016 at 9:08pm PDT

Explore more...

Things to do while you're here

Find out more

Get outdoors

Westland: land of ice dragons

Like an unfurling, white dragon, the Franz Josef Glacier flexes and curves between steep-walled valleys. Māori named it Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere – tears of the Avalanche Girl. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Road trips

Central West Coast: the best coastal drive in New Zealand

In this part of the world, civilisation has only chiselled a few narrow paths into the landscape. The elements – the wind, the rain and the ocean – are always trying to claim that land back. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Get outdoors

South Westland: a wonder of the world

The bottom left-hand corner of our little country, South Westland, is a world-renowned UNESCO World Heritage area. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Get outdoors

Punakāiki Pancake Rocks: geological marvel

Funny that Māori should have had a word that sounded so much like the English word for ‘pancakes’. Read the story . . . 

AA Members save on selected accommodation with
AA Traveller

AA Members
Book now
Non Members
Book now