West Coast Walks/Treks

Below is an alphabetical list of the best walks and treks from New Zealand’s West Coast.

The Bold ones are tracks from around Greymouth while the rest are found in the Buller and South Westland Districts. Be sure to ask us if you would like to know more about the walks.

Alex Knob Track

It’s a 4-hour climb to the top of Alex Knob. The track zigzags up to Rata Lookout for a view of the Franz Josef Glacier. From there follow the marked track to the summit.

Category: Tramping track

Completion Time: 8 hr return

Arahura & Styx Valleys Tracks

The Arahura and Styx valleys are popular areas for tramping and hunting. The main access in both valleys is via benched formations constructed during the early gold mining days.

Category: Tramping track

Completion Time: 2 – 4 days. Times shown are a general guide only.

Big River Tramping Tracks

One of the most intact mining areas, it has a remarkable array of goldmining relics including a poppet head and steam winder. Walking access is either from Waiuta or Lewis Pass Highway 11 km east of Reefton.

Category: Tramping track

Completion Time: 3 – 5 Hours

Brunner Mine Site

Inland from the turn off to Taylorville, this is the site of NZ’s worst mining disaster in 1896 where 65 men perished. An old coal mining area with coke ovens and coal mining relics. Lovely walk into the bush and along the river including historic 1876 suspension bridge. Many information boards explaining the ruins and remains.

Category: Short Walk

Completion Time: Various

Callery-Waiho Walk

Follow the Callery-Waiho Walk as it climbs to a high terrace before descending to the Callery River. The track then continues on to the Roberts Point Track. The Callery-Waiho walk begins in the Franz Josef Township

Category: Walking track

Completion Time: 2 hr 30 min

Canavan’s Knob Walk

Canavans Knob Walk is now open after extensive upgrading. Canavans Knob Walk is located two kilometres south of Franz Josef.

Category: Short walk

Completion Time: 40 min return

Cape Foulwind Walkway

Cape Foulwind and Tauranga Bay are on the coastline about 16 km south-west of Westport. Tracks include the Seal Colony Walk and the Cape Foulwind Walkway.

Category: Walking track

Completion Time: 1 hr 30 min

Chalet Lookout Track

This 1 hour 30 minute return walk follows an old glacier access road through rata and kamahi forest to Chalet Lookout. The track is located two kilometres south of Fox Glacier Township.

Category: Walking track

Completion Time: 1 hr 30 min return

Charming Creek Walkway

Scenery and history combine in this three-hour walk on an old railway formation. The southern end is clearly signposted from the main highway at Ngakawau, 35 km north-east of Westport. The northern end is through Seddonville and 10km along gravel road to the walkway entrance at the abandoned Charming Creek mine site.

Category: Walking track

Distance: 5.5 km

Completion Time: 6 hr

Coal Creek Falls Walk

A beautiful forest walk with an amazing waterfall at the end. This is the original track that led to the first commercial coal mine on the Coast. The track starts at the back of Runanga on the main Coast Road and takes you into the Coal Creek Valley

the track ending at Coal Creek Falls.

Category: Walking Track

Distance: 3.6 km return

Completion Time: 1 hour return

Croesus Track

Croesus Track is an 18-km trek across the Paparoa Range between Blackball in the Grey Valley and Barrytown on the Tasman Sea Coast.

Category: Tramping track

Distance: 18 km

Completion Time: 7 – 8 hr

Denniston Walking Tracks

Explore the wild and remote environment of the Denniston Plateau high above the town of Westport. The historic sites provide a glimpse of times gone by.

Category: Walking track

Completion Time: Various

Douglas Walk

The Douglas Walk is an easy forest walk that passes by the Peters Pool viewpoint and crosses several moraines before descending to the bridge across Dolly Creek on the way back to the road. The track entrance is signposted in the main glacier carpark, 4.5 km up the Franz Josef glacier access road.

Category: Walking track

Completion Time: 1 hr return

Fox Glacier Te Moeka o Tuawe Valley Walks

There are several walks in the Fox Glacier Valley each offering spectacular glacier views. Most of the walks are short and can be attempted by people of average fitness levels.

Category: Short walk

Completion Time: Various

Franz Josef Glacier/Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere Walk

The 40-minute walk to the terminal face of the Franz Josef Glacier follows a rocky path over riverbed. Only experienced visitors should attempt climbing the glacier.

Category: Walking track

Completion Time: 1 hr 30 min return

Haast Pass Highway Walks

The main route through the Haast, State Highway 6, is part of the heritage highway system. Access to many walks and scenic attractions is directly off this highway.

Category: Short walk

Completion Time: Various

Harihari Coastal Walkway

Harihari Coastal Walkway is one of the most scenic walkways on the West Coast, with spectacular views of forest, rivers, mountains and coastline.

Category: Walking track

Completion Time: 2 hr 45 min

Historic Haast to Paringa Cattle Track

This track was built in 1875 by farmers at Haast. Stock were driven from the Landsborough and Cascade valleys to sale yards at Whataroa, a two-week journey at best. It’s now a three-day tramp.

Category: Tramping track

Completion Time: 3 days

Inangahua Suspension Bridge Tracks

Follow the disused Progress Water Race to the historic Golden Lead Battery. Located 11 km east of Reefton on the Lewis Pass Highway.

Category: Walking track

Completion Time: 2 – 6 hours return

Jackson Bay Okahu Walks

European settlement was attempted at Jackson Bay Okahu during the 1870s. The pioneers’ attempt to “tame” the landscape was largely unsuccessful but their efforts left a tradition of South Westland residents as being tough and resilient.

Category: Walking track

Completion Time: Various

Kirwans Reward Track

Kriwans Hill near Reefton provides views of the ruggedly beautiful Victoria Range.

Category: Tramping track

Completion Time: 2 – 3 days

Lake Christabel Tracks

Set in a spectacular landscape west of Lewis Pass, the lake provides a good habitat for native fish. Located 3 kilometres west of Springs Junction.

Category: Tramping track

Completion Time: Various

Lake Kaniere Short Walks

At Lake Kaniere, short forest walks lead to picnic areas, waterfalls and sandy beaches ideal for swimming.

Category: Short walk

Completion Time: 2 – 30 minutes

Lake Kaniere Walking Tracks

Lake Kaniere Walkway passes picturesque bays, forest streams, lush lakeside forest and a lookout point, while Kaniere Water Race Walkway follows a historic power station water race.

Category: Walking track

Completion Time: 3 – 4 hours one way

Lake Matheson Walk

Famous for mirror views of Mt Aoraki/Cook, Mt Tasman and Mt La Perous, at Lake Matheson you can take a walk to the jetty or a walk around the lake.

Category: Easy access walk

Completion Time: 1 hr 30 min

Lake Wombat Track

The Lake Wombat Track leads you through a lush rimu forest to the idyllic Lake Wombat, south of the Franz Josef Township.

Category: Walking track

Completion Time: 1 hr 30 min

Mahinapua Short Walks

There are a number of short walks to choose from in Mahinapua Scenic Reserve, 10 km south of Hokitika.

Category: Short walk

Completion Time: Various

Mahinapua Walkway

Following an old logging tramline, the walkway reveals many relics of the 1885 sawmill’s activities. Located 8 km south of Hokitika on State Highway 6.

Category: Walking track

Completion Time: 2 hr – 2 hr 30 min

Minnehaha Walk

This delightful walk follows a stream through the rainforest. Return along the road or back along the track. The start of the track begins 50 metres south of the Fox Glacier township on SH6.

Category: Short walk

Completion Time: 20 min

Mount Fox Route

Mount Fox Route is just 3 km south of the town of Fox Glacier. The challenging 3 – 3.5 hour climb to the top is only suitable for experienced and properly equipped trampers.

Category: Route

Completion Time: 6 hr return

Mount Tuhua Track

This is a steep tramp to the open tussock peak of Mt. Tuhua (1125 m) and is suitable for fit people only. 19 kilometres along Lake Kaniere Road, Hokitika.

Category: Tramping track

Completion Time: 7 hr return

Nelson Creek Walks

Nelson Creek is an excellent spot to go walking, camping and exploring. With historic water races, tunnels, recreational gold fossicking and a number of short walks, there is plenty to do. From Greymouth follow SH 7 north to Ngagere.

Category: Short walk

Completion Time: Various

Okarito Walking Tracks

North of the Franz Josef Township sits the coastal settlement of Okarito and the Okarito Lagoon. The lagoon is home to more than 76 species of native birds including the kotuku/white heron and royal spoonbills.

Category: Walking track

Completion Time: Various

Oparara Basin Short Walks

The Oparara Basin is considered one of the finest features of Kahurangi National Park near Karamea. An old forestry road provides access for walkers, cavers and other wilderness enthusiasts.

Category: Short walk

Completion Time: Various

Oparara Basin Walking Tracks

The Oparara Basin is considered one of the finest features of Kahurangi National Park. The Oparara Road provides access to Oparara Basin for walkers and cavers.

Category: Walking track

Completion Time: Various

Pakihi Walk

Pakihi Walk climbs through kamahi and rimu forest to a platform lookout. It’s a 30-minute return trip. Located north of Franz Josef.

Category: Short walk

Completion Time: 30 min

Peters Pool Walk

The spectacular view at Peters Pool includes Franz Josef Glacier/Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere, and the Fritz Range, including Mt Moltke and Mt Roon.

Category: Easy access walk

Completion Time: 25 min

Point Elizabeth Walkway

Seascapes, coastal forest and gold mining remains are features of the 5-km Point Elizabeth Walkway that links Cobden’s North Beach with Rapahoe.

Category: Walking track

Distance: 5 km

Completion Time: 2 hr

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks & Blowholes Walk

A 20-minute loop walk explores this limestone landscape of pancake-shaped rock formations, blowholes and surge pools.

Category: Short walk

Completion Time: 20 min loop walk

Reefton Short Walks

Explore Reefton’s historic area, including 24 historic buildings, a powerhouse and an old coal mine.

Category: Short walk

Completion Time: Various

Roberts Point Track

The Roberts Point Track requires a good level of fitness. After walking one hour you will reach Hendes Hut. From there the track continues to climb on to Roberts Point where the Franz Josef glacier views are spectacular.

Category: Tramping track

Completion Time: 9 hr

Sentinel Rock Walk

Just a short distance south of the Franz Josef Township you will come to the Glacier and Sentinel Rock walks. The Sentinel Rock Lookout offers impressive views of the glacier, the valley and Waiho River.

Category: Short walk

Completion Time: 20 min

Stafford Bay Route

Stafford Bay is approximately 50 km south of the Haast Junction near the Jackson Bay Okahu wharf. The tracks and routes in the area can be challenging and are recommended for fit and well-equipped trampers.

Category: Route

Completion Time: 5 hr

Tatare Tunnels Walk

The 80-minute return Tatare Tunnels Walk follows an old 4WD road to a junction with the Callery/Waiho Walk. From there follow the track to the old water tunnels. The walk starts at the northern end of Cowan Street in Franz Josef township.

Category: Walking track

Completion Time: 1 hr 20 min return

Tauranga Bay Seal Colony Walk

From the Tauranga Bay Car Park follow the short track to platforms that overlook the seal colony and coastline. Picnic facilities, interpretive displays and public toilets are available. Located 16 kilometres south-west of Westport.

Category: Short walk

Completion Time: 20 min

Terrace Walk

Follow the Terrace Walk as it winds through forest and goes by remnants of past goldmining operations. The 30 minute return Terrace walk starts 50m south of ‘Our Lady of the Alps’ church on State Highway 6.

Category: Short walk

Completion Time: 30 min

Waitangitaona Wetland Walk

The Waitangitaona Wetland Walk is an easy walk through a regenerating kahikatea forest and flax wetland to a viewing platform with spectacular views of the Southern Alps, Ka Tiritiri o te Moana. Located 9 kilometres from Whataroa.

Category: Easy access walk

Completion Time: 20 min

Waiuta Walking Tracks

Learn about walking tracks at Waiuta-one of the West Coast’s best known ghost towns. Signposted from the Reefton highway (SH 7), 21 km south of Reefton. Follow the sealed and shingle road a further 16 km to Waiuta.

Category: Walking track

Completion Time: Various

Walks North of Haast Township

The walks in this area provide travellers with magnificent photo opportunities which include a dune lake, sweeping coastline, forest plants and wildlife.

Category: Short walk

Completion Time: Various

Woods Creek Track

Tunnels dug by 19th century gold miners lend mystery to a great walk through native bush at Woods Creek, half an hour from Greymouth. It is suitable for anybody fit enough to manage a few stairways linking the sections of the track.

Category: Walking Track

Distance: 1km

Completion Time: 45 minutes

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