Living on the West Coast
Living on the West Coast gives you the best of both worlds – untamed natural wilderness at your doorstep, local shopping and great food all in our local townships. With 600km of coastline pounded by the Tasman Sea and bordered by snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps, you’ll never be short of things to do and see. Our region is a diverse landscape that ranges from copious rainforests to wild, rocky coastlines, the highest peaks to crystal clear lakes and wetlands, all home to rare and endangered animals.
The West Coast offers a unique, tranquil lifestyle while still being popular with tourists interested in seeing the country’s natural beauty. If you like escaping from the big city life (and never want to come across a traffic light again!) the West Coast is for you. Full of inspiration, the Coast offers up rivers with New Zealand greenstone (pounamu) and a growing community of people involved in arts and crafts. Us Coasters enjoy a relaxed, low pressure lifestyle, living rural, semi-rural, or in the heart of one of our townships. We have great access to a range of amenities while still having the bush on our doorstep with easy access to tramping, hunting, kayaking, mountain biking and fishing adventures. Even on the beach, the Alps are only 50km away!
Our largest town is Greymouth (population approx. 13,000), only a half hour drive from Hokitika, and one and a half hours drive from Westport. You can reach the eastern side of the country in just three hours. We also have daily flights from Hokitika to Christchurch and Westport to Wellington, providing easy access to international connections and picking up the extended family for a holiday.
Economy and Industry
Tourists (including many eco-tourists) flock to our region for the glaciers, ‘pancake rocks’, wild and unspoiled beauty, and, because of our large forest area, there is an abundance of native birds (greater than most other parts of New Zealand).
We have commercial fishing in the area, gold mining, forestry and the production of excellent coal. Dairy farming has also expanded recently with land becoming more economically viable.
Yes it rains on the West Coast with a whopping 11m per year reached at our wettest place – The Cropp. However the rain is balanced out with glorious fine days and you will find it’s sunnier than Auckland, not as windy as Wellington, and milder than Christchurch during winter. Winter is generally our driest season with temperatures ranging from 5-15 degrees Celsius. Summer provides crystal clear skies and hot sunshine with temperatures ranging between 12-25 degrees Celsius.