The West Coast is a 6oo kilometre stretch of land located between the Southern Alps and the Tasman sea. Within this region are five of New Zealand's national parks - Kahurangi, Paparoa, Arthur's Pass, Westland and Mt. Aspiring.
A region of incredible diversity, the West Coast is home to some of the countries highest mountains as well as beaches, rainforests, glaciers, rock formations, rivers, gorges, podocarp forests and an abundance of wildlife.
Take a two-hour discovery adventure to see where the Pacific and Australian continental plates meet. Visit the drilling site and learn how it plays a vital role in seismic monitoring and see how two active plates come together and shape the land around them. The Alpine fault line is a natural wonder of our planet that until recently has only been accessible to international geologists studying and monitoring the site.
The Gaunt Creek exposure site is one of the most significant sites in the world where middle earth has been thrust to the surface from 30 kilometres below by the power of the colliding tectonic plates. The fault line is like nothing you have seen before. It’s unusual colour and texture created by pressure and heat must be seen to be believed. It is the only naturally exposed fault line site on the globe making it a magnet for scientists from all around the world.
This 5-6 hour 4WD trip takes you from Westport to Awakari Valley. Your tour guide will provide an informative and entertaining commentary along the way, pointing out some of the tall trees like kahikatea (white pine), red pine (rimu) and silver beech. Amongst the many shrubs is the large leaved Rangiora – the useful properties of this plant will be explained by your guide.
When you reach the valley, you will see first hand where Johnny Currie lives. Johnny’s ancestors came to the Charleston area during the gold rush days around 150 years ago, and Johnny has been a farmer, logger, deerstalker, goldminer, caver and tour guide during his working life. Many years ago Johnny decided to go back to basics and live off the grid surrounded by nature and purchased the Awakari Valley from a logging company. He has created a paradise he now shares with the outside world and loves telling visitors of the history of the area and his many amazing experiences. His knowledge of bushlore has to be heard to be believed.
Look out for Red Deer, visit the Pancake rock formations formed over 30 million years ago, and visit a Maori Cave. You will need to bring your own lunch, which you can enjoy in Outwest’s sizeable shelter that overlooks the valley. While in the shelter Johnny will provide a fascinating account of life in the valley and its natural history.