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Do Haast - A Blast from our Kiwi Past

The UNESCO World Heritage Area title is given only to the most special cultural, historic, or scientific regions and landmarks on our planet. These sites are of huge significant value to humanity and are protected under the ‘Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage’.

In 1990, 2.6million hectares of native land in Haast was declared Te Waihipounamu UNESCO World Heritage Area which also made it stand out as one of our country’s most beautiful, intrepid and unique locations.

Why is this so important you ask? When you consider the fact that little ol' Haast is in the company of the likes of Machu Picchu, Great Barrier Reef, Galapagos Islands, Taj Mahal, Yosemite National Park plus many other notable places, it means it must have something worth shouting from the roof tops about! 

Here are top 5 things we recommend experiencing on your wild west world adventure! 

1. Jackson Bay

The hub of Haast and a small fishing village found at the southern most tip of the West Coast. Sheltered and scenic, the bay is home to the famously orange local haunt the Craypot serving up delicious, you guessed it, locally caught crayfish, whitebait and fish and chips! The bay is also home to a nursery for the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin – the Hector’s Dolphin!

2. Wildlife and Landscape

Haast feels like you are stepping into Jurassic Park - without the dinosaurs - however, it’s most ominous sounding creature is the world’s largest carnivorous snail - the Powelliphanta. Don’t worry though, it won’t take a bite out of you, it only slurps up worms!

The ancient vegetation is the world's closest and best representation of what life was like millions of years ago in Zealandia which was part of the Southern Hemisphere Super Continent Gondwanaland!  

Haast is also home to a bird which nearly became extinct so it is also the only place you can see them in the wild - the cheeky little Takahe. With their statement red beaks, gorgeous blue and green ombre feathers and their thick red-ish orange legs, they are a sight to behold when you see one up close!

Check out one of the many hikes, or tours to get up close and personal with the Haast outdoors.

3. Haast River Safari

From the ocean to the alps the Waiatoto River Safari will take you on a journey up one of New Zealand’s most pristine and untouched rivers. Suitable for all ages, the tour will enlighten you to the rich history of the area, you’ll pass through the alpine fault line and visit the Kiwi Sanctuary to learn about all their breeding programme then zoom all the way back to Haast in one exhilarating ride!

4. Explore from the air! 

Take a scenic heli-flight and explore Haast from a birds-eye view! The heli-tour can take you to some of the most remote places in the area that can only be accessed by your experienced helicopter pilot! Think hidden glacial lakes, wild beaches with turquoise waters, or the highest peaks of the Southern Alps! 

5. Rest and eat well at Heartland Hotel Haast

No adventure is complete without a comfortable bed and some good ol’ kiwi tukka! Once your daily activities have wound down, head into the Frontier Café and Bar for some local fare and if you play your cards right at the time of year, you’ll be treated to a delicious white bait fritter – a perfected delicacy in the deep south west!  

 
 
 

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