The Buller Region
The Buller District is north of Hokitika and makes a good addition to your tour of the West Coast. It extends from Punakaiki in the south, through Westport (the largest town in Buller) and up to Karamea in the north. Inland to the east is the character rish pioneering gold mining town of Reefton.
Like many places on the West Coast, the lives of people here have been shaped by the heroic landscape and the settlements still display plenty of pioneering spirit.
Punakaiki, Pancake Rocks & Paparoa National Park
Only a 1 hour drive from Hokitika is one of the most visited natural attractions on the West Coast. Punakaiki's Pancake Rocks are interesting sedimentary rocks that really look like pancakes and make for a photographer's dream. There is an easy, wheelchair accessible loop walk to view them, suitable for all fitnesses. Try to go at high tide when the blowholes will be at their most impressive.
Karamea, Kahurangi National Park, Heaphy Track & Oparara Valley
A little further afield - about 3.5 hours drive from Hokitika - is Karamea, a quaint township nestled in the warm, northwest corner of the West Coast. Just north of Karamea is Kahurangi National Park, home to the famous Heaphy Track. This is one of New Zealand's Great Walks and can be mountain biked in the off season.
The Oparara Valley and Basin are here too. It offers an amazing combination of 400 million year old granites and younger limestones, sculptured by nature into arches and land bridges…plus ancient fossils, creatures, cave formations and rare wildlife and other creatures.
Reefton, on the Lewis Pass road, is well worth a stop and its claim to fame is an illuminating one - in 1888 it was the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to have electric streetlights! Now a curious mix of old and new, it's still a preserve of historic charm and the local bearded miners are very interesting folk to chat with.
More Information on the Buller Region
Image = ©Christopher Crouzet under license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/, image cropped