09/02/2012 Off By Gayle Dickson



Haast is a small West Coast settlement from which to explore some of New Zealand’s most spectacular scenery and wildlife, a place of unsurpassed natural beauty with untouched beaches and rugged glacial river valleys. Situated between the ancient rainforests of Te Wahipounamu, mountain glaciers and the Tasman Sea, this sparsely populated region is where it’s easy to discover the true source of tranquillity. 


A La Carte – The Frontier Cafe & Bar is located in the Heartland World Heritage Hotel. The restaurant offers a café-style lunch during the day and à la carte dining in the evening in a public bar atmosphere with a fireplace to make any traveller feel cosy. They serve West Coast cuisine from game meats to the famous West Coast whitebait, with either buffet dining (seasonal) from a carvery or casual cafe and hearty pub style fare. Ph: 03 750 0828

Surf and Turf Fare – Curly Tree Whitebait Company is a family-owned and operated business based 10km north of Haast at the Waita River. Their whitebait is sourced from some of the best producing rivers in South Westland. For a chance to enjoy the riches of the West Coast just follow the ‘Curly Tree & Whitebait Patties’ signs to their stand which serves freshly cooked whitebait patties – a real slice of Kiwiana right on the banks where it’s caught. Ph: 03 750 0097

Café Grub – There are only a few cafes in Haast: the Fantail Café is the local hangout for teas, takeaways and snacks or just drive to the local Superette and feast in their café called the Grumpy Cow – yes only on the West Coast! For a bit of banter with the locals and a more substantial meal visit the Hard Antler Café with its cosy fire and surroundings. Great for lunch and dinner – try their fish and chips. Ph: 03 750 0034 


Bed & Breakfast – Heartland World Heritage Hotel offers warm, comfortable guest rooms, with a choice of superior rooms, family rooms and family suites all with quality room amenities and spectacular mountain views. They have all you need to rest, refuel and relax during your adventures. Convenient hotel facilities, including internet lounge, children’s playground and excellent dining options. Ph: 03 750 0828

Self Contained – Heritage Park Lodge Motel offers quality motel accommodation with both family and studio units. Located in a spectacular rainforest setting in a quiet location well back from main highway, there are 16 ground floor en-suite units and studio units, sleeping 1-3, with either tea/coffee/toast making facilities or kitchenettes. Family units, sleep 2-7, with a fully equipped kitchen. Rates vary between $85-$145 per night Ph: 03 750 0868

Best Little Luxury Getaway – Collyer House is a very appealing option for a few nights stay delivering the utmost in comfort and hospitality with four tastefully furnished en-suite bedrooms. It was designed and purpose-built against a backdrop of ancient rainforest and mountains facing west to capture the magnificent views of the Okuru River estuary and Tasman Sea. From $285 a night. Ph: 03 750 0022

Caravan and Campsite – Haast Top 10 Holiday Park offer campsites, cabins and motel units. Their spacious, impeccably maintained grounds offer roomy, quiet and peaceful sites with views of surrounding mountain landscapes. Deluxe cabins can accommodate a larger family or small groups. They also have a range of motel accommodation to choose from according to your budget. The owner Sheryl is most knowledgeable on local attractions as well. Ph: 03 750 0020


Take a trip of about 4km to Haast Beach and then way beyond to find some true isolation and off the beaten track locations. Down here are places where you’ll enjoy windswept walks and if you like camping, a place to park up in the Haast Beach Holiday Park. Across from the campsite is the Hapuku Estuary Walk, a 20 minute loop trail on a raised boardwalk through a Kowhai forest and sand dunes. 

Waiatoto River Safaris is New Zealand’s only Sea to Mountain Eco-Jet Adventure. Explore a remote glacial valley in the Southern Alps with a professional river guide on a two hour wilderness ride with the emphasis on the appreciation of the area’s history and scenery. Another adventure that is also available is Haast Off Road Safaris – Beachcomber Quad bike tours. Ph: 03 750 0780

Round About Haast offer the ‘Jackson Bay Marine Experience,’ a way to see seals, penguins (seasonal) and dolphins in their natural environment. Or join them on a guided tour from Haast Township to Jackson Bay, taking in the dramatic windswept West Coast beaches and the native flora and fauna as they drive through the rainforest. Ph: 03 750 0890

Haast River Safari offers jet boat tours in fully enclosed river boats. Great visibility is ensured, yet you remain warm, dry and comfortable, making this a unique and safe experience suitable for anyone of any age to participate in and enjoy. Learn about the physical attributes of this remarkable glacial valley, where temperate rainforest thrives. Ph: 03 750 0101


Aotearoa Gemstones display, produce and sell unique, specially handcrafted stones from New Zealand. Each stone is individually handcrafted to bring out the inner beauty of the stone. Unlike most lapidaries, they shape their stones and then polish by hand in a traditional manner. This creates a more natural finish enhancing the beauty of the stone. Located on the corner of Marks Road and State Highway 6 in Haast Township Ph: 03 7500 728


The region itself is the number 1 major attraction. Haast is initially confusing as it incorporates three communities, Haast Junction, Haast Beach and Haast Township. Time spent here will induce you to explore deeper into a region that still remains largely unknown. Try sea fishing, fly fishing, whitebaiting (in season), deer stalking, bird watching, tramping, nature walks, jet boat safaris or glacier heli-flights. 


Haast Visitor’s Centre Ph: 03 750 0809 E: 


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