- Chloe Grabham
Woodpecker Hut | West Coast South Island, New Zealand
Uninterrupted views of stormy coastline where the waves crash against the shore? Check
An off the grid experience like no other? Check
A space to escape reality by soaking away the day in a bubbly hot tub atop a cliff?Check and check
If you are looking to make a trip to the West Coast of New Zealand one to honestly remember, look no further than Woodpecker Hut. Located just over 4hours from Christchurch, Woodpecker Hut can be found in the tropical seaside township of Fox River.
The turnoff is easy to miss and is a slightly rugged, plant-lined driveway that leads to a little piece of paradise. Be prepared to switch off the car and the stresses of life as you walk up the stairs to discover a world away from it all.
On the left hand side you will discover the living quarters complete with a wood fire to keep you toasty during those chilly months and a loft bed high above the lounge. In between the two sections of the hut, there is the undercover outdoor kitchen, a bbq and a dining set up which would be hard to rival for having the best views in town.
Minimal yet effortlessly homely is one of the best ways to describe the stunning interior of the hut. The bedroom looks like it is something straight from a luxury travel magazine, with a copper bedframe, bed linen in delicate pastels and neutral tones that create a calming space against the large windows that face out to the ocean.
Keeping in tune with the off-the-grid, embracing the elements theme, there is the unique toilet experience. You won't find the usual workings of a flushing loo here, this is a compost toilet. it is different, and you will never look at sawdust the same way again, but it does the job and ultimately is benefiting the environment.
Pictures do not do the hot tub justice, this is something that you really need to come and experience for yourself. Soak away the day as the tub gently simmers and the fresh sea breeze comes in over the cliff. Complete the experience by sampling some of the local brews or wines, a charcuterie board while watching the sun settle for the night over the sea. Heaven on earth.
As much as you may never want to leave the hut, the surrounding coastal towns are too good not to explore. Just a short drive down the road you can find the unique natural wonder of the Pancake Rocks and blowhole at Punakaiki.
Pancakes are the rocks
Located just off the highway, the Pancake Rocks loop takes around 20 minutes to complete and is full of photogenic stop offs. There is a tropical feel as the local vegetation lines the track, opening out into a stunning clifftop vista.
The natural formation of the rocks was created just a mere 30milion years ago from tiny fragments of dead marine creatures which were then exposed to extreme water pressure which were then eventually exposed above the seabed and crafted through lightly acidic rain, wind and seawater, sculpting them into the shapes you find today.
There is a gift shop and toilet facilities at the information centre which is located on the highway and directly opposite the start of the track. You can find out more about the track here
Cape Foulwind and Westport
Heading North along the coastline is the picturesque and rural Cape Foulwind. The enjoyable coastal walkway is a great way to see some of the West Coast's beautiful views and to meet some of the local wildlife.
Starting at the carpark, The Cape Foulwind Lighthouse is one of the first points of interest which you will encounter on the track. Full of history and with many tales to tell, the view from the hill is a panoramic delight.
The trail is an easy walk, with hilly sections throughout however there are no guide rails or fencing along the cliff edges so if you are travelling with little folk keep them close by.
During the peak seasons of November through to February, many of the local New Zealand fur seal colony can be found frolicking around and are more than happy to pose for a photo or two!
Feeling peckish? Head into the main township of Westport where there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and a few pubs to choose from to get a good feed.
The Denniston Dog is hard to miss with its bright yellow and fire engine red painted exterior and laid-back pub style interior. Casual and family-friendly this local favourite has a diverse and affordable menu with something for everyone from steaks to tacos and even Asian inspired street food.
The West Coast of New Zealand's South Island has so much to offer and is so diverse in its landscape from rocky cliff edges looking out over the ocean to scenery that makes you feel like you're in the tropics. Make your next seaside adventure one you will always remember and start packing those bags today!
For more information about Woodpecker Hut please visit here