Lonely Planet rated State Highway Six between Karamea to Haast as one of the world’s "best road trips.” This coastal road is breathtaking with stunning scenery around every corner. Spend time in Westport at the Buller Gorge for some caving and great mountain biking. Then travel south to Tauranga Bay known for its seal colony and surfing.
The drive down to Paparoa National Park along the Tasman will not disappoint. Stop at Punakaaiki, home of the famous Pancake Rocks. The Truman Track is an easy trail that takes you around the wind and sea ravaged rocks. There are several blowholes and amazing sea views to investigate so take your time and bring a camera. A short drive to Barrytown is worth the trip and a chance to check out some of the local artisans and even make your own hand forged and carved knife.
The next stop is Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast and a place with a variety of experiences including river rafting and caving, hiking and biking, jade carving, historical gold mining attractions and great restaurants including a local favourite, Monteiths Brewery. Travel south to Hokitika which is home to the Wildfoods Festival and a quaint artistic town with various galleries, greenstone and beautiful beaches. If you have a chance, try the famous whitebait fritters.
Further south you head into the Southern Alps, a world of rainforests, rugged land and glaciers. Some 140 glaciers flow from the Southern Alps but only two go as low as the rainforest- Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. This is an amazing place seeing and even climbing on the jagged glaciers in the temperate climates of the rainforest. Bring a rain jacket as you never know when and how much it will rain. There are several companies to take you on full adventures of the glaciers or to just see it from above.
There are several great Kiwi Holiday Parks along the West Coast.