Upper South Island and the West Coast Travel Guide

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Photo of Upper South Island and the West Coast Photo: Ian Trafford/Tourism New Zealand

Plan Your Upper South Island and the West Coast Vacation

Southwest of Nelson, the wild West Coast region is a land unto itself. The mystical Pancake Rocks and blowholes around Punakaiki (poon-ah-kye-kee) set the scene for the gigantic, rugged, sometimes forlorn landscape. Early Pākehā (European) settlers carved out a hardscrabble life during the 1860s, digging for gold and farming where they could, constantly washed by the West Coast rains. After the gold rushes, waves of settlers arrived to mine the vast coal reserves in the surrounding hills. Farmers and loggers followed; although the gold has gone, the coal mining and farming remain. The towns along this stretch of coastline are generally no-frills rural service centers, but they make good bases for exploring the primeval landscape. They have also known mining tragedy, the most recent at Pike River in late 2010, when 29 miners lost their lives in a mine explosion.

Hotels

Upper South Island and the West Coast Hotels

Bed-and-breakfasts, farm stays, and homestays, all a variation on the same theme, abound in the South Island in some... read more

Restaurants

Upper South Island and the West Coast Restaurants

In Marlborough visit a winery restaurant—there's no better way to ensure that your meal suits what you're drinking. Salmon... read more

Things To Do

Things To Do in Upper South Island and the West Coast

Explore the best sights, entertainment, and shopping with our top choices and insider tips.

Hotels

Upper South Island and the West Coast Experiences

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