If there is only one area in all of New Zealand that you have time to visit, the West Coast of the South Island is it. This rugged, sparsely populated strip of land is surrounded by the Tasman Sea on one side and the formidable Southern Alps on the other.
It is know as having some of the worse weather in New Zealand, but if the sun does manages to shine the West Coast is a truely euphoric place to be.
It caters for almost all walks of life, for those that like adventure there is plenty of rafting, helicopter flights, jet boating and other activities and for the nature lovers, well it doesn't get any better than the coast!
Maori used to frequent this area in search of pounamu (greenstone) and a visit to Hokitika will reveal the abundance of greenstone within this area. In the 1860's the gold rush began and overnight European settlements were established. At the end of the 1870's the gold rush came to a end and the majority of the prospectors left the area barring a few hardy souls who remained behind to farm the land.