Hidden away in the raw Westland rainforest of New Zealand's stunning South Island is the Haast area. Haast is situated amidst spectacular & rugged scenery of the South West New Zealand World Heritage area, between ancient rainforests, glaciers... Show More
Tourist Information About Haast
Hidden away in the raw Westland rainforest of New Zealand's stunning South Island is the Haast area. Haast is situated amidst spectacular & rugged scenery of the South West New Zealand World Heritage area, between ancient rainforests, glaciers, and the Tasman sea. Watch this video on Haast to plan your holiday. Venture up the breath-taking rivers and explore the untouched wilderness from above. Fish off, or explore the rugged west coast beaches. The Haast township is quaint and friendly - hang out with the locals at the bar and enjoy the local whitebait fritters! Haast is a place of absolute beauty with rugged glacial valleys and untouched beaches.
Best Attractions and free things to do in Haast
1. Experience Haast Package Deal
Discover the real New Zealand in Haast! Enjoy Haast with this amazing package that includes lodging, food, and local activities. This package will give you a taste of Haast Lane life! Meet some of the people, learn about the area, relax and unwind, all while exploring the area and marveling at the pristine untamed west coast nature.
2. Ship Creek
Let's start with the first of many wonderful treks in Haast. Ship Creek, located just north of the township, is a spectacular display of kahikatea swampland that resembles what most of the West Coast would have looked like before human settlement. The area is well-kept, with boardwalks and an observation tower for viewing animals and taking in the views of the sand dunes and windswept coastal forest. The Kahikatea Swamp Forest Walk and the Dune Lake Walk are both worthwhile treks that are ideal for families.
3. Hapuka Estuary Walk
One of your half-day excursions from Haast should be to the secluded yet well known Jackson Bay. Find the Hapuka Estuary Walk along the route, which takes you through an intertidal zone where you may see seals, birds, and the world-famous West Coast whitebait. The views from the viewing platform on this 20-minute circle stroll across the islands of Open Bay are nothing short of spectacular! Even the journey through the woods to Jackson Bay is a spectacle.
4. Wharekai-Te Kou Walk
Head on this popular trek to the rocky sands of Ocean Beach after checking out the Jackson Bay pier and eating some crayfish at The Cray Pot. The narrative of the tidal pools and fauna along the coast and in the woodland is told through information panels along the path. Keep an eye out for mussels in the pools and stay away from animals such as penguins and seals! Take care of nature, and it will take care of you!
5. Paringa Cattle Track
Haast is about discovering the Te Wahipounamu – South West New Zealand World Heritage Area's wilderness. Helicopter rides and jet boats are fun exhilarating activities for travelers, epic multi-day walks or tramping remain as a more basic alternative. The Historic Haast to Paringa Cattle Track is one accessible alternative. The three-day trip includes overnight stays in Department of Conservation huts.
6. Moeraki Valley Track
The Moeraki Valley Track, a two-day hike through glacier-carved valleys, is located a bit farther north along State Highway 6. However, because the trail crosses a handful of rivers, it should not be tried after or during rainy weather. This pleasant hike requires some backcountry expertise.
7. Franz Josef Glacier
The Franz Josef Glacier, a major tourist attraction in this area, is one of only three spots on the planet where a glacier drops into temperate rainforest. Another is Fox Glacier, the only other example being in Argentina. Westland Tai Poutini National Park contains the glaciers.
The glacier is easily accessible due to its elevation of 250 meters above sea level. The easy 45-minute Glacier Valley Trail up to the observation platform in front of Franz Josef Glacier's face draws visitors to the tiny settlement of Franz Josef (population 330).
8. Fox Glacier
Fox Glacier, like Franz Josef Glacier to the north, is one of the few sites on the planet where you can see a glacier without having to be a mountaineer. The glacier's terminal face, which is surrounded by temperate rainforest and drops to 300 metres above sea level, is bordered by temperate rainforest. Visitors can travel the one-hour Fox Glacier Valley Trail for views of the glacier terminal and, like at Franz Josef, take a guided climb onto the ice itself. Hike the harder Chalet Lookout Track for a panoramic view of the glacier from above.
9. Fox Glacier South Side Walkway
Whatever you're planning; a glacier heli-hike, scenic flight, skydive, or anything else, the Fox Glacier South Side Walkway is a must-see. You'll be crossing old glacial moraine surfaces, with the ever-changing forest mirroring the moraines' rate of colonization. Two vistas of Fox Glacier are included in the 2-hour return hike. Learn more about the region on a guided trek with Glacier Valley Eco Tour as an alternative to undertaking the hike yourself.
10. Glacier Hot Pools
The Glacier Hot Pools are another relaxing and enjoyable activity in Franz Josef. Access to the three major pools costs roughly NZ$30. Indulge in the relaxing waters, which are between 36 and 40 degrees Celsius. Set in gorgeous rainforest and manicured with stones for a more natural setting, the atmosphere adds to the pampering. Treat yourself to a relaxing evening and admire the fresh glacier air in the steamy hot pools.