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With a total of 14 National Parks, The West Coast is proud to boast more of these protected areas than any other region in New Zealand. With varying features and sizes, the parks are a must-see for anyone visiting the South Island. Here are the best National Parks on The West Coast.
Paparoa National Park
This park has been made world famous by the ancient Pancake Rocks and Blowholes that attract thousands of visitors every year. Paparoa is also historically significant as the area was predominantly used by gold miners and travelers during early settlement. In fact, the Inland Park track that was constructed by the original miners can still be walked today. Paparoa offers an abundance of rare birdlife including the Westland Black Petral and the Great Spotted Kiwi and is a great place for all fitness abilities to visit.
Westland Tai Poutini National Park
If it’s glaciers that your heart desires, look no further than Westland Tai Poutini National Park, which is the proud home of over 60 glaciers, including Fox and Franz Josef. The park extends west from the highest points of the Southern Alps, right down to the coast and is a mixture of varying conditions. Here you will see glorious snow-capped mountains, majestic glaciers, temperate rainforest, rivers, lakes and even the sea. This is the most popular National Park to visit with numerous walking tracks, mountain biking trails, daring ski slopes and even a gold fossicking area.
Arthur’s Pass National Park
Right in the heart of the Southern Alps lies the majestic Arthur’s Pass National Park. This region is particularly beautiful with contrasting Beech forest to the eastern side and Rainforest to the west. Directly through the middle of Arthur’s Pass runs a historic railway and highway which is a must-see sight for many travelers. This is a great place to enjoy some of the many walking and mountain biking trails that wind through the diverse park.
Kahurangi National Park
The translated version of Kahurangi means ‘treasured possession’ which is the most appropriate name for this beautiful slice of New Zealand. Kahurangi National Park is New Zealand’s youngest parks, created in 1996 and is also the second largest. This paradise is a great way to have some recreational fun with great spots for fishing, kayaking and hiking over the 570 km of walking tracks!
Mount Aspiring National Park
Possibly the most stunning Park on the West Coast is Mount Aspiring. It’s remote, untouched wonder thrills many with stunning river valleys, high mountains and lush bush. There are many tours that take place around the Mount Aspiring National Park including, scenic flights, hiking tours, and climbing expeditions. Other recreational activities include jet boating, walking and fishing.