West Coast Activities
Walk, tramp, cycle, swim, fish, surf, relax…
Tramping and Walking
Granity is a lovely area to explore on foot. Take a walk along the beach or enjoy a multi-day tramp.
Enjoy the Granity Dam Walk to a bluff with views up the coastline towards Karamea. Wander the Charming Creek Walkway, with it’s history and beautiful Mangatini Waterfall, it’s well worth the walk.
Explore the Denniston Plateau and the numerous walks in Denniston – there’s the Denniston Bridle Path, the Brakehead Walk (which leads to ‘The camp’ Denniston’s first settlement and on to the Banbury Arch) many relics from Denniston’s past can be seen on this walk. There’s also the Town Walk – wander through the old streets of Denniston township. And the Coalbrookdale Walk, which follows part of a rope road that carried coal from the mines to the top of the Denniston Incline. Most of the walks in the area have interesting relics along them.
Walk into the Old Ghost Road.
And we’re only 65 kms north to Karamea where you’ll find the Heaphy Track, the Wangapeka Track and the Oparara Basin with its spectacular caves and limestone arches.
And if you’re super fit there’s now a day run planned of the Old Ghost Road – The Old Ghost Road Ultra, see here for more details. Enjoy the 65 km drive north to Karamea where you’ll find the Heaphy Track, the Wangapeka Track and the Oparara Basin with spectacular caves and limestone arches.
Cycling and Mountain Biking
We’re only 20 minutes drive or 30 minutes cycle to the beginning of The Old Ghost Road, a relatively new biking and tramping track which follows a long-forgotten gold miners’ road.
This 85km advanced cycling and tramping track starts at the old dray road in Lyell (in the Upper Buller Gorge) to the beautiful Mokihinui River here on the West Coast. The Old Ghost Road traverses majestic native New Zealand bush, open tussock land, river flats and valleys.
You can bike the 80km of the Heaphy Track during the Winter, this advanced track comes out at Karamea, 65km north of the Lodge. So when you’ve finished your ride, why not come down and enjoy a few more days on the Coast?
Ghost Lodge is only 20 minutes drive to the Denniston Plateau with over 50km of great mountain bike tracks. The tracks rang from easy to advanced, so there is something at Denniston for everyone. You can get bike tracks pamphlet from DOC office and bike shop in Westport.
Enjoy the Charming Creek track, it’s a pleasant, moderate ride through New Zealand native bush along the old railway line. It’s 10.5km one way. Enjoy a refreshing drink at the Charming Creek Tavern on your way back.
History, Arts, Crafts, Food
New Zealand’s West Coast isn’t just for those who want to be active. It’s relaxed and laid back with some great places to eat and amazing artisans to visit.
Perhaps it’s the wild beaches, lush rain forest or the majestic mountains that inspire so many artists on the West Coast but whatever it is, you’ll find artisans along the West Coast. From carvers to furniture makers, wood turners to jewellery makers, potters to painters.
The craft gallery in Granity has local art, crafts and cards for sale and is open Monday to Saturday. If you travel down to Hokitika make sure you stop to see the sculptures on the beach.
Or visit Westport to sample some of its beers, visit the galleries, the new sports complex, or the coal town museum.
The West Coast is also steeped in history. The gold rush, then coal mining have all left their mark. Granity Museum is just across the road from Ghost Lodge, so take a wander over and have a look at the old coking ovens and eclectic collection. Marion, the large loader stands outside the Museum.
So keep your eyes out for hidden gems when travelling around. Look out for gallery and studios – at Hector you’ll find a pottery studio, gallery and Country Music Museum, at Westport the Coaltown Museum. At Denniston the Denniston experience.
Flora and Fauna
While you’re exploring some of the bush walks look out for the friendly weka (sometimes mistaken for a kiwi).
The South Island Robin is curious and will often hop on the track in front of you. If you’re lucky you may see some of New Zealand’s carnivorous land snails (Powelliphanta).
If you venture up to Denniston Plateau look out for the carnivorous plants – small red sundews whose sticky droplets entice tiny insects.
Listen at night to see if you can hear the call of the great-spotted kiwi and weka.
When strolling along the beach keep your eyes peeled for the endangered Hector’s Dolphin – they have a rounded dorsal fin.