West Coast Highway – Westport to Greymouth
New Zealand is quite well known for its abundance of scenic drives and the trip from Westport to Greymouth is a big hit with locals and foreign visitors. The drive only takes just over an hour but, if you really want to make the most of it, why not take your time and make plenty of stops? You can even consider making a one way trip from Westport to Greymouth (or vice versa) or simply include this segment as part of a longer road trip through the south island. Whether you choose a round trip route or prefer one way car rentals, be sure that you plan your trip in advance.
Sights and attractions
Starting in Westport, there is no need to rush! Take a look around and enjoy some of the local sights before you begin your drive. The Westport Country Playhouse hosts performances regularly so check the local listings. Sherwood Island State Park, Compo Beach and Earthplace are all great places to take the kids. Let them get some energy out before the drive. You can also stop off at the local farmers market and pick up some fresh produce to snack on along the way. Pack a picnic basket and plan to stop along the way. You can even extend your trip and take a slight detour via Tauranga Bay.
As you continue along the way, you will cross over the Waitakere River (Nile River) before reaching Charleston where you can enjoy underground rafting. Hereafter, you will head towards Fox River which is a popular caving spot. The Paparoa National Park that will keep you company all the way to Punakaiki. There are accommodation options in Fox River if you would like to do some more exploring and spend the night before continuing.
At Punakaiki, you will be able to view the famous Blowholes and Pancake Rocks as well as Paparoa Park and the Paparoa National Park Visitor Centre.
As you continue driving along this lovely coastal route, you will notice a number of roads that you can venture down if you want a break and some fresh ocean air. There are a number of small towns like Barrytown, Rapahoe and Runanga along the way should you need to stop before reaching Greymouth.
Attractions in Greymouth
Once you arrive in Greymouth, there’s a heap of fun and fantastic activities that await! If you fancy a bike ride, you will love the West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail. Dragon’s Cave Rafting is another big hit with tourists and it will prove to be one of the most memorable experiences of your entire trip. If you are looking for something a little bit more relaxing, then the Woods Creek Walk is for you and perhaps a trip to Monteith’s Brewing Company and the Grey District Aquatic Centre will suit your interests better.
When planning your trip from Westport to Greymouth, or vice versa, you can book your car rental to start or finish in Greymouth, and then take the TranzAlpine train between Christchurch and Greymouth through Arthurs Pass and the Southern Alps; truly one of the world’s most spectacular train journeys.