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Haast is a good place to stop driving for a hour or so. As you travel the state highway 6. Most people rush through the West Coast area without giving a thought to stopping to experience the Rain forest. If you have the time. Stop over for a night and experience a remote and beautiful part of New Zealand. There is arange of accommodations available.
The Department of Conservation has done a great job in providing you with picnic areas and camping areas along the road. Do visit the Department of Conservation visitor centre. The static displays are very good.
Walks - Here are 3 places you can stop at, and have a walk that are worth mentioning.
The Ship Creek rest area, which is an estuarine loop walk of about ¾ hour. This is on the coast side about 10 minutes south of Lake Moeraki next rest area after Knights Point. If you are heading north Ship Creek is 10 minutes from Haast.
About 20 minutes up the Haast Valley towards Wanaka, there is the Roaring Billy walk, - about 25 minutes return, Podocarp and Silver beech forest tree ferns and a waterfall, are a feature of the walk.
The Fantail falls Very popular and often photographed. They can be seen from the road, but if you take a small detour into the bush (about about a 5 minute walk) you can get a full view.
Of the things to do and see. - There is a sightseeing tour for those that stay over for the night. This would take you down to Port Jackson.
There is two different but very good jet boat rides.The main attractions can be found via this link. http://www.haastnz.com/docs/activitie...
Haast Sightseeing Tours - Round About Haast sightseeing tours offer you the opportunity to experience the Hector Dolphins and New Zealand Fur Seals in their natural environment.
Part of your experience will include a drive through rain forest and board the ‘Can Do’ for a Jackson Bay Marine Experience.
Haast River Safari - A way of breaking up the long drive up the west coast is to stop off at Haast and take a 90 minute return trip exploring the Haast River Valley. The morning departure is a great option for those who have spent the previous night in the Haast Area; while the afternoon trip leaves ample time for those travelling on either to the Glaciers or Wanaka /Queenstown.
Waiatoto River Jet boat Safari - http://www.riversafaris.co.nz/ - The trip into the wilderness begins at Haast Junction. From State Highway 6 down the Jacksons Bay Road for 26 kilometres, to the Waiatoto River Bridge. From there you have a jet boat ride of a life time. The round trip Haast to Haast takes 3 hours. The section in the rain forest is magical. There are few wilderness experiences like this.