Since 2020, the urge to hit the open road is stronger than ever! While a long drive, or a multi-day road trip in your own country, sounds great, why not go for something bigger? It’s time to consider an international road trip and we have the perfect destination – New Zealand. Here, the natural grandeur of the country can be best explored by a car on a long, scenic, coastal drive.
The Scenic Route
The route we’re talking about is the Great Coast Road drive, situated on the West Coast of New Zealand, which runs from Westport to Greymouth. This 90-minute coastal road trip is particularly known for its range of natural attractions. New Zealand, itself, is a beautiful country full of natural wonders and scenic sights. But this Great Coast Road trip is an epic journey full of unforgettable adventures. With wild crashing waves to the right and dense lush rainforests to the left, this route is one of the top coastal drives in the world.
You can explore this scenic stretch of State Highway 6 in either direction. But according to popular opinion, starting from Westport and venturing south along the coastal path to Greymouth is the best option. Especially because towards Greymouth, the road blends seamlessly into the open environment. According to Sarah Handley, the general manager of Tourism New Zealand in Europe and the Americas, slowing down is the best way to enjoy the coastal drive at its fullest. There are several sandy vistas to enjoy a blast of fresh ocean air, beaches like 9 Mile and 17 Mile to take a refreshing swim, forest tracks to go for a hike, and other nooks and crannies worth exploring for a whole day.
The Popular Stops
There are several scenic spots along the coastal drive of the Great Coast Road, where you can stop your car and stay for a day or two. Cape Foulwind is a popular point, where some road-trippers deviate from the path to see the sea seals and enjoy a surf break at the 9 Mile Beach. Paparoa National Park is one of the most visited stops on the scenic coastal driveway. Located south of Westport, this park is home to the Paparoa Track, one of the Great Walks of New Zealand. So, don’t forget to add a lodge-based, multi-day, hike along the trail to your road trip itinerary. For the day-trippers, the Truman Track is an ideal point, which is an amazing 30-minute round trip hike. Passing through a wonderful subtropical rainforest, the trail directly leads to the Tasman Sea. Rare native plant life, scenic waterfalls, and panoramic coastal views make this part of the drive a treasure trove of nature.
● Venturing just 5 minutes more, by car, towards the south will give you the chance to encounter the Pancake Rocks, the most popular natural attraction in the region of the West Coast. Located at the Dolomite Point nearby Punakaiki, these pre-historic limestone rocks are a geological wonder, with the stunning sea-spray blasting Putai Blowhole.