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Best Spots on the West Coast

Posted by Corrin Miller on
Best Spots on the West Coast

Living and working on the road with Smooch Natural Products has been incredible. I feel so blessed to be able to do this. I've been on the road for 21 months and it has been quite a journey. What amazing places I've had as my office for the day! 

Smooch products I can recommend down here are certainly the War Paint Insect Repellent (Insert 10 into the discount code for 10% off cos you're going to need it! How I managed to stay on the ground and not be lifted into space by a thousand Sandflies is still a mystery! Unfortunately it seems a human design fault that we wait until that first bite before putting on our insect repellent and so Doctor Smooch came in handy too! 

West Coast - South Island

Wild beaches, history, crazy washing lines, miners huts, stunning sunsets and a few beers is probably the best way to describe my West Coast adventure.

Oparara Arches

Wow, just wow. Pretty groovy spot and not too far to walk, thank goodness as we’ve done a few miles! Two natural rock arches and then a lake called Mirror Tarn (mental note, look up what Tarn means???) The reflections were amazing on the lake. You’d never know if you help the photo upside down. The arches are as wide as a couple of planes apparently, like those Airbus ones, not a Cessna.



Natural beauty in it’s purest form. There are so many beautiful coast lines and beaches in New Zealand and this is up with the best of them and if every visitor took 1 million, gazillion sandflies with them then we could live in peace! A good test for Smooch War Paint, insect repellent. I’ll let you know if it works or if I get carried away into a sandfly cave of darkness never to be seen again.

Easiest fish I ever caught! Walking along the beach I saw a snapper, dead but still looking fresh with all it’s colours glowing. Further along the beach was someone surf casting. I took the fish to him and said did one get away, he said yes so I handed it to him. Here ya go luv!

We were given a snapper in Hector but with only serrated knives we made a bit of a dog’s breakfast filleting it. Well that brings me to Hector…



Just after Granity it wouldn’t be one of New Zealand’s largest towns, in fact it’s probably smaller than NZ’s smallest settlements in fact there’s only a pub but what else does a town need? We had a great time. The pub is full of the friendly West Coast locals you always her about and the food out the back is beautiful. Nestled in a nice garden we had take away pizza and take away beer! Choice!


                                        Thought provoking graffiti


What can you say about here that hasn’t already been said? Except maybe, the signage! Sheer drop offs with a sign saying ‘don’t go beyond the sign.’ We need to ask ourselves, are these the people we should be protecting? Like, stand back from the train. No shit Sherlock haha 😊


Fox River

Home of the Ballroom Overhang but you have to get your feet wet…about 13 times so we didn’t worry about taking shoes off. Zig zagging up the river gets you to one of the most amazing sights. One of those that takes your breath away and photos don’t do it any justice. Nature often astounds me by the shear size of it. I guess that’s when you can use the true meaning of the word awesome. We feel big and important but when faced with hills, rivers and massive rock features you are reminded that we play a very small part in all if this.

A freedom camp with lovely toilets can’t be a bad place to hang out. Funny what comes to be important after living on the road, oh and a place where 5 puppies can play and the over protective mummy dog won’t eat passes by. She has a thing for cyclists now, having not really meet them before. Not sure what evil she thinks they possess but I know a few truck drivers that may encourage her!

Low tide brings an amazing change in the beach here. We walked across a shallow bar and found a cave that you can walk straight through and comes out just up the river. Being just north of Punakaiki the rock formations are pretty cool. Ended the day with cooking marshmallows on a fire. A friend, Helena introduced me to smashing a marshmallow between two chocolate wheaten biscuits. Wow! My love for her went up in leaps and bounds that day 😊

 I loved it here. Was certainly grateful for the War Paint we had on! The West Coast only has a small population so the sandflies are on a mission to suck the blood of every visitor while they can!


Walk for about 3.5 hours, crossing a river 12 or so times and you will get to the Ballroom Overhang. Awesome spot! At low tide the beach uncovers a cave you can walk through. Being close to Punakaiki the rock formations are pretty cool.

Charming Creek:

Charming that it is, some of the walk is same same but you are rewarded with a waterfall and walking through a tunnel to get to it. Loaded with history and walking the path of the miners is quite cool, especially along the railway track and paths made from coal.


    Above is the West Coast washing line. It's super high, you use the rope at each end to move it down, hang clothes up and then set it up again. Catches the breeze and will outlive any storm! Probably 7 to 8 foot high. A miners railroad tunnel to the left.


Hokitika Gorge

If you go no where else on the Coast, go here. Sparkling waters of turquoise and icey blue. This is what the glacier would look like before the freeze over is my guess. 



The glaciers of course are spectacular but sad to see just how much they are receding and so rapidly.


                              Franz Joseph Glacier                 The Fox

West Coast is like going back in time to an old New Zealand. It’s hard to decided the feeling I get when visiting here. They’ve retained old buildings (some I can hear estate agents calling a renovators dream but they’re well beyond that ) 😊 Miners are still working here so all the mining history that surrounds the area is still happening. I guess that is why it retains the historic feeling when you are here. Like you’re stepping back in time visiting a real life living museum.

Ross and Hokitika

These two would be my favourite West Coast towns, apart form all the other ones that I like...

Old gold and coal mining towns are throughout the West Coast and most of them retain the history but Ross seems to live it. It's like walking back in time and I love it.


None of these photos are in Ross or Hokitika, so best I add some more :-)


Jacksons Bay

A beautiful spot for NZ's most expensive Fish n Chips! Certainly worth the drive for the view but at $26 for one piece of Blue Cod and some chips, I'll think I'll eat first next time :-) Great spot for a picnic hehe. As West Coasts most southerly township we had to visit and we were well rewarded with the beautiful bay. 


Everywhere we go has muscovite in the rocks; it’s from the mica family and it sparkles like diamonds in the sand on most beaches. The colours of the rocks is far more exciting than I should admit too, greens, oranges, reds, sparkly and even pink. They’re pretty cool and I’ve only added half a tonne to Brian’s overall weight 😊

In leaving the West Coast, I leave behind, long stretches of wild beaches, amazing rocks and a little piece of my heart.





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