The West Coast
Wild coastlines, real seasons that bring blazing hot summers, moody and magical winters, crisp autumns and temperate springs define life on the West Coast of the South Island.
The landscape is breathtaking, and the lifestyle like nothing you’ve ever known before.
Close knit, friendly communities make this an ideal place to raise a family.
The West Coast District Health Board’s child-friendly culture, and the proximity of our sites to schools and amenities remove many of the usual pressures facing young families in big cities today. Even the little things add up – like free and hassle free parking, even in town centres.
At the other end of the spectrum, it’s a paradise for young, single thrill-seekers looking to make the most of life in a place where towering forests and icy glaciers are within easy reach.
The Coast’s national parks offer some of the most sought after walking, tramping and hiking on the planet.
Fishing, kayaking, caving, jet boating and horse-riding are just some of the other activities that Coasters enjoy in their down time.
Eclectic cafes, restaurants and bars, quirky festivals and an arty and interesting community make this a great spot for those looking to escape the craziness of the city and try life at a different pace.
The West Coast region is a thin slice of paradise on the West Coast of the South Island, New Zealand. 70 kilometres wide and 600 kilometres long – it is longer than the distance between Auckland to Wellington, and about the same as the distance between Edinburgh to London. Bounded in the east by the Southern Alps and in the west by the Tasman Sea, with a population of 32,000 - there is plenty of room to move.
It best described as rugged and beautiful with the power to inspire, relax and connect with your soul. It is a place of brooding mountains, icy glaciers and mind-blowing coastal landscapes.
The region is divided into three local territories; Buller, Grey and Westland, with six main centres - Westport, Greymouth, Hokitika, Fox Glacier, Franz Josef Glacier and Haast.
The smallest town on the West Coast is Pukekura with a population of two, the largest is Greymouth with a population of 13,600.
More about the West Coast. http://www.westcoast.co.nz/plan-your-trip/
Map - http://www.westcoast.co.nz/plan-your-trip/visit/visit-map/
You are not bumping into someone every 5 minutes – it’s not crowded or hectic - a slower pace of life – based around community. It is a great place to raise a family – a safe place – where the whole community is looking out for your children. There is never a shortage of “Meals on Wheels” volunteers.
If you want to come and be part of the community – you will be welcomed. As with any new place it will take some breaking through – but it will definitely be worth it.
You have a stronger relationship with the environment - the outdoors is literally on your doorstep –surfing, skiing, running, tramping, biking, white water kayaking – this is the outdoors on steroids.
The towns have all the modern conveniences – with well thought out restaurants and cafes, supermarkets, banks and pharmacies (you should know that many shops close at midday on a Saturday and are closed on Sunday).
It is relatively close to Nelson, Wellington and Christchurch (for all your extra shopping and arts/cultural needs). The tranzalpine train trip between Greymouth and Christchurch has been described as one of the top ten train journeys in the world.
There is a direct flight from Hokitika to Christchurch, and from Westport to Wellington. Nelson is a 3 hour drive from Greymouth.
Check out the live webcams of Greymouth, Punakaiki, Hokitika, Fox Glacier and Franz Joseph.
* There are no traffic lights on the West Coast
* Having to wait for 5 cars at an intersection is a bad day.
Well - it does rain – parts of the West Coast are rainforest afterall. Winters are relatively mild; summers can get so hot the only place to be is a lake or river. In the north, around Karamea, the climate borders on subtropical much of the year, evidenced by lush groves of nikau palms and thriving subtropical plantings.
Average Temperatures (°Celcius)
Summer: (Dec - Feb) 12-25°
Autumn: (March - May) 9-17°
Winter: (June - August) 5-15°
Spring: (Sept - Nov) 9-17°
More about the weather https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/weather-forecast.greymouth.html
There are plenty of choices for schooling on the West Coast – with 25 primary schools and seven schools offering secondary education.
- High-speed internet in all schools
- Kindergartens, play centres, early learning centres and Te Köhanga Reo for pre-schoolers
- Primary and secondary education provided by state and integrated schools
- Tai Poutini Polytechnic offers a unique learning environment for many specialist areas with a diverse range of adult learning opportunities
For those interested in boarding school education, well respected boarding schools both single sex and co-educational are based in Christchurch and Nelson
More about education http://www.westcoastnz.com/live/live-education/
Affordability and good locations typify West Coast real estate. Live in town or the country, tucked away in the bush or somewhere with stunning views of the Tasman Sea - the choice is yours! From million dollar mansions to cosy colonial cottages – most houses will have big back yards, wide eaves and verandahs and many have the traditional 1/4 acre section.
More about housing
Maybe it is the rugged environment, the small and close knit population, or the work in primary industries that has shaped the unique characteristics that define Coasters. Coasters are friendly, self sufficient; they know how to have a good time and be adventurous.
Of course there are the usual clubs and pubs – plus there are heaps of opportunities to enjoy and compete in both the indoor and outdoors.
Whether your interest is tennis, squash, golf, hunting, fishing, archery, bridge, clay pigeon shooting, photography, basketball or quiltmaking (to name a few) you will find like minded people here doing the same thing.
The most famous sport endurance event is the Speight’s Coast to Coast held every February. There's also the Buller Marathon, South Westland Triathlon, Brass Monkey Triathlon, Around Lake Brunner Cycle Race and the Lake Kaniere Scenic Triathlon.
Social events include the annual Agricultural and Pastoral shows in each district, the Wet West Film Festival, Westland Golf Classic in January, fishing competitions, and the Kumara races.
We are famous for our whitebait (a New Zealand delicacy) and wildfoods.
The Wild Foods Festival is an annual event - celebrating the tastes of the wild West Coast! The big question is: “How do you like your whitebait”? The most popular way of cooking whitebait in New Zealand is the whitebait fritter.
More things to do http://www.westcoast.co.nz/plan-your-trip/
To Maori the West Coast of the South Island is known as Te Tai o Poutini or simply Tai Poutini.
Legend is that Poutini was a taniwha, (a giant water being) swimming up and down the rough seas off Te Tai o Poutini protecting both the people and the spiritual essence (or mauri) of pounamu (greenstone).
Read the Legend of Poutini
The West Coast has a diverse base of driver industries helping to grow and enhance our region. These industries are contributing to employment growth, investment, the development of new business services, infrastructure and social and community services. There is a large professional group - and lots of innovative people – they are individualists who are capable of doing things on their own and making things happen. They have an entrepreneurial spirit and a “can do” attitude – which allows people to be innovative about how they make their income.
More about business https://www.dwc.org.nz/business/business
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Want to know even more about the West Coast - you will find everything you need to know at http://www.westcoast.co.nz/plan-your-trip/