Birds Ferry Lodge

Westport Attractions

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Things to do around Punakaiki and Westport

Punakaiki & Westport Attractions

The Northern West Coast Region offers a wide range of scenery and historic sites to see and outdoor adventure sports and activities to do, all set within the natural riches that are found here from the mountains to the sea.Video Here By far the region’s biggest attraction is its geography and wildlife, from the rugged coastline and its spectacular rock formations, the deep gorges and valleys carved by ancient glaciers and the region’s many rivers, to the lush rainforests filled with an abundance of unique and wonderful native vegetation and birdlife.

Experience the wilderness and scenic beauty of the Northern West Coast Region, taking in both history and nature. There are many excellent walks for the casual wanderer through to the keenest hikers.

Walk the historic Charming Creek Railway which is carved in rock, through the awe-inspiring Ngakawau River Gorge.

Situated on the idyllic eastern shores of Tasman Bay, Nelson is the second-oldest settled city in New Zealand. A dynamic hub of arts and culture, Nelson annually hosts the Nelson Arts Festival, an extravaganza of music, comedy, dance, and theater, and is the home of the Wearable Art Awards, an international fashion event where designers enter wearable works of art. And if visitors aren’t artistically inclined, there’s a wealth of charming gardens to amble in, markets to peruse and breweries to enjoy. Here’s our guide to the 10 best things to see and experience in the region

North From Birds Ferry Lodge

Heli-Hike into the Heapey Hut and walk out the same day. This is the most scenic part of the famous 3-day tramp and you can experience it in just one day. The walk takes about 4-5 hours for those with a reasonable level of fitness and we can supply a gourmet picnic lunch for you to take with you. Bookings advised via Birds Ferry Lodge.

Visit historic Denniston: Hardy souls lived and worked in the windswept bleakness of Denniston’s infamous mountain plateau on New Zealand’s wild West Coast. Midst the endless tapping of picks, creaking of props and earthy black soot of ever-present coal dust from a 1880s coal mine, a proud and close-knit community formed within this remarkable land of contrasts.

Plunge deep into the darkness of one of New Zealand’s oldest sources of energy and industrial innovation. Take a journey inward at the place all but forgotten.

To the north is Karamea, renowned for its subtropical paradise from where you can venture on well-formed tracks into the wilderness of the Oparara Basin, the popular Heaphy Track, and the Honeycomb Caves.

One of the region’s best-kept secrets is the Oparara Basin. Tucked away in the Kahurangi National Park, is a series of three stone arches carved out by the Oparara River. The Oparara Basin is well off the beaten track, so you will need to set out early, but this is definitely a must-see.

South to Nearby Punakaiki

A short drive from Birds Ferry Lodge the Punakaiki “Pancake Rocks“, Blowholes and Truman Track are a popular destination for tourists. Over thousands of years the powerful Tasman Sea has created these amazing rock sculptures and limestone landscape features, only a short walk from the Punakaiki Visitor Centre on State Highway 6. For those who have more time then venture inland through the limestone rock canyons either by foot, horse trek or kayak. Horse trekking is a highlight on Punakikai Beach and inland treks


West Coast Adventure Nearby

Mountain Biking

There is also White Water Rafting, Kayaking (Murchison) and the ever-popular Cave-rafting (Charleston) which combines glow worm grottoes with rapids on the Nile River (a must!). The caves can also be explored on foot with a guide.

The region is fast becoming popular with mountain bikers too, and there are Mountain Bike Trails throughout, ranging from scenic to challenging. We have mountain bikes available including a Tandem for you to hire while staying with us.

West Coast Beaches Galore

Local Beaches along the coast are great for beach-combing and fishing, and popular among local surfers. The waves crashing on the rugged coastline is one of the best-known images of the region and if you pick the right day, a great example of nature at its wildest.


West Coast History

Coaltown Museum

Present-day and historical Coalfields and Gold mines are nestled high on the plateaus and the river valleys of the Northern West Coast. Here the strength, will, and hardship of the pioneers who came to build their lives and bring riches to our nation can be seen in the buildings, relics and stories they left behind as a legacy to future mining in the region.

Venture into a simulated coal mine at the Coaltown Museum in Westport for a taste of the conditions ‘down in the pit’, or try your hand panning for gold at one of the old gold mining camps along the riverbanks.

André The Tour Guide

For 17 years André has guided small groups around the South Island and he will tailor a local tour to suit your individual interests and abilities. He has extensive knowledge of the flora and fauna of the South Island, which he will be delighted to share with you on one of his walks on our property.

Tour Guide

Spa & Massage

spa & massage

After the guided tour, why not relax by enjoying a therapeutic massage? The combination of spa and massage will have you thinking you are in heaven! André holds a Certificate of Qualification in Holistic Massage Therapy, which is recognized with New Zealand Qualifications Authority. $120 per hour

To arrange your massage appointment please speak to either Alison or André.

You can download a printable PDF Guest Information Guide by clicking here Birds Ferry Lodge – Guest Information Guide March 2018

What our guests say…

“This was THE most romantic and perfect weekend I have had in New Zealand or overseas in quite a while. The mix of relaxation, location, wonderful food and hosts Andre & Alison who give the right amount of attention – was perfection. HIGHLY recommend Ferrymans Cottage with its beautiful pond and wildlife and bathtub … just wonderful.”We will return J&O

“Surrounded by exquisitely beautiful westcoast countryside with mountain and sea views, scenery best admired from the deckside hot tub. Alison & Andre run one of the loveliest B&B’s we’ve stayed at in NZ. Alison cooks delicious country style food of Michelin star standard, from mostly homegrown ingredients, and Andre is a very knowledable guide to local flora & fauna. Stayed in the house (3 good-sized bedrooms) which is very
comfortable and welcoming with a large guest lounge. The pondside self catering cottage would be a lovely option for couples or larger groups. A special place – GO!” Tripadvisor

“Wonderful property with everything we love – allows pets by prior arrangement, gorgeous water view, outdoor bath (!), lovely breakfast hamper, a real fire..the list just goes on and on. By far, the best place we’ve ever stayed. Couldnt recommend more highly” Helen and Jason

“This really is a perfect place to stay. Allison and Andre are knowledgable, friendly and skilled in what they do. Alison cooks wonderful food, and Andre is a mine of information, both local and further afield, having been a tour guide in NZ for 17 years. Our two evening dinners were both convivial and delicious, wine is included. The hot tub looks out onto a wonderful view, and there is total peace. We have no hesitation in recommending Birds Ferry Lodge.”P+N Poston

“Wonderful massage, beautiful cottage and the best braised venison it is possible to eat. Only just up the coast from home, but a million miles away. Thankyou”
Kiwis escaping from it all

“Of all the places at which we stayed during our week in NZ, BFL was by far our favorite. Alison and Andre made us feel so comfortable, and after only 2 nights there it felt like we were staying with friends rather than at a lodge. Andre’s guided tour and discussion of the rest of the property was really special, and Alison’s cooking was a real highlight too. We look forward to our next trip to NZ, and we will *definitely* be staying with them again!”

“A beautiful property in breathtaking surroundings. A place to totally relax whilst enjoying excellent cuisine and good company. We were pleased to have found such stylish and classy accommodation, which was kept in a spotless manner. On arrival we were welcomed and made to feel at home by our hosts Andre and Alison.”

“Absolutely magical spot. The house and services are very well done. It is nice to stay where attention to detail is not ignored. Many magical memories go with us!”
D+C Christchurch and Capetown September 2008

“We spent a few days in Ferry Mans Cottage and were delighted. Lovely site overlooking 2km of fairyland swale to the Sea. Impeccably built and kept. Complete and usable kitchen, solid wood heat stove/fireplace. Excessive large and well-appointed bathroom. Great food. Very helpful hosts. A perfect stay, strongly recommended”
Trip Advisor

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