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Things To Do In Haast – A UNESCO Heritage Wonderland

Things To Do In Haast – A UNESCO Heritage Wonderland

From the highest mountains to the longest glaciers, the thickest forests to the rockiest gorges and the bluest rivers – this small town of vast wonders named Haast is situated on the west coast, in New Zealand’s South Island. It’s named after the famous geologist Julius von Haast. Haast is a famed UNESCO heritage site that offers travellers contrastingly stunning natural features to explore.

From dunes to lush rain forests. Lakes to beaches. Endless explorations await.

Capture picture-perfect nature displays at the Gates of Haast

Gates of Haast
Photo by sbj04769 on Pixabay


This legendary Haast Bridge is a must-add to your list of things to do in Haast. Located approx. 45-minutes from the Haast Township, this bridge can be found by driving along the state highway. Enjoy the unprecedented beauty of the giant boulders and native bushes. Thanks to the deep gorge, the Haast River flows swiftly, and you’ll be entranced by the sound and its blue rapids.

You can drive here or take a walk. Parking is also available nearby.

Chase cascading waterfalls at the Haast Pass

Scenic view from Haast Pass
Photo by LuxTonnerre on Flickr


If you enjoy scenic drives as much as we do, then you are in for a memorable treat. The Haast Pass is a globally famed road and one of three mountain passes that cross the Southern Alps. It’s a majestic stretch of panoramic views. Visit the beautiful Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka created by the Hawea and Wanaka Glacier. A 1-hour walk along the Blue Pool Track will change your life. Explore the stunning Fantail Falls, Thunder Creek Falls and Roaring Billy.

You can even go on multi-day treks in Mount Aspiring National Park, which’s along the pass.

Witness two different worlds at the Ship Creek Walks

Walking path at Ship Creek Walks
Photo by Stewart Nimmo on Wikimedia Commons


To miss the Ship Creek would be a crime. Only 15-minutes from Haast, this picturesque attraction is one of the loveliest things on the west coast. First- take the Kahikatea Swamp Forest Walk. Enjoy a 20-minute walk through the lush rainforest and delve into the incredible setting of New Zealand’s tallest trees.

Then experience the famed Ship Creek Dune Lake Walk and immerse in stunning dunes of the coast – a total contrast to the forest walk. Ideal for spotting dolphins swimming and dreamlike sunsets.

Trek the enchanting Roaring Billy Falls

Roaring Billy Falls
Photo by Tatters on Wikimedia Commons


The name alone makes you imagine a powerful, gushing waterfall. It’s one of the most enchanting waterfalls to visit while on a Haast Pass tour on the West Coast. Yes, the setting is just utterly scenic, and it’s only about a 25-minutes duration. A nature photographer’s paradise. Located just minutes from Mt Aspiring, very close to the Haast River. It’s a short walk with large rewards. 

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Explore West Coast’s best-kept secret – the Jackson Bay

Pier at Jackson's Bay
Photo by Mike Dickison on Wikimedia Commons


This cosy remote village is located south coast of Haast. Past Hapuka Estuary walks, nearly 25-minutes away in the southern corner of the West Coast. The road to Jackson Bay is an enchanting must-add to your list of things to do in Haast. It’s well known for its fresh seafood. Visit the breathtaking Ellery Lake (Return track time 1-2 Hours) and the Wharekai-Te Kou Walk. Since Jackson Bay is a perfect fishing port, it’s a great place to catch a few crayfish.

Enjoy leisurely walks along the Haast Beach

Haast Beach
Photo by MSeses on Wikimedia Commons


Head along the Haast –Jackson Bay road, approx. 5-minutes from the town of Haast. Unlike most beaches, this coast is rather tranquil. It’s sandy with lots of driftwood but super ideal for chilled walks along the coast. On a sunny day the shore stretches on, and with the mountain background, it’s just absolutely picturesque. Worth visiting while in Haast.

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Tour the UNESCO sites of Haast on a scenic flight

Helicopter ride around Haast
Photo from Greenstone Helicopters-Haast Helicopters Facebook Page

Haast is a beloved UNSEO Treasure trove. While you can immerse in the panoramic beauty of Haast from the grounds, a scenic flight or a helicopter tour really helps you see its rare beauty from a unique vantage point and make your experience unique and unforgettable. Loop around Milford sound, Mt Hooker and Mt Aspiring. The views are pure otherworldly. You might even spot some dolphins on a scenic flight along the coast. 

Take a refreshing drive to the Knights Point Lookout

Knights Point Lookout
Photo by Pavel Špindler on Wikimedia Commons


Cross the Haast River, pass the Ship Creek and head to another stunning coastal spot Haast has to offer. Take an approx. 30- minute drive along the state highway road to appreciate the views of the blue waters of the Tasman Sea showing against the rugged verdant hills. The road is full of picturesque beauty. It’s a drive that will not disappoint.

Cruise along the untouched regions of the Haast River

Speed Boat on Haast River
Photo by Stewart Nimmo on Wikimedia Commons


Another way to witness the untouched paradise of Haast is to go on a Haast River Safari. Those who take this trip have nothing but good things to say. And they have their reasons. The main one is, you get to explore the glacial valley, teaming with the incredibly diverse wildlife and birdlife. The tours will allow you to gain greater knowledge about the native wildlife here too.

Here’s your chance to cruise along the river on jet boats and witness the nature paradise of Haast in its absolute glory.

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