South of the glaciers, the West Coast feels even wilder. Many visitors do the run from the glaciers to Wanaka or Queenstown in a day, missing out on some fine remote country. Facilities aren’t completely absent: many accommodation and eating places are clustered around Haast, and there’s an increasing number of other pit stops along the way. There wasn’t a road through here until 1965 and the final section of tarmac wasn’t laid on the Haast Pass until 1995.

SH6 mostly runs inland, passing the start of the hike to the Welcome Flat Hot Springs and through kahikatea and rimu forests as far as Knight’s Point, where it returns to the coast along the edge of the Haast Coastal Plain, whose stunning coastal dune systems shelter lakes and some fine stands of kahikatea. The plain continues south past the scattered township of Haast to the site of the short-lived colonial settlement of Jackson Bay. From Haast, SH6 veers inland over the Haast Pass to the former timber town of Makarora, not strictly part of the West Coast but moist enough to share some of its characteristics and a base for the excellent Gillespie Pass Tramp.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

New Zealand features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
How to find the right New Zealand for you

How to find the right New Zealand for you

While it may not loom large on the world map, New Zealand feels incredibly vast and imposing on the ground, especially to those who try to visit the North and S…

23 May 2016 • Eric Grossman insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month