If you’re looking for somewhere to camp, eat and explore on the West Coast, consider a visit to Gentle Annie Beach. There’s a really good café there as well as a unique “maze” walk, and if you’re lucky you might even spot some dolphins.
Gentle Annie Beach
There’s quite a lot to see at Gentle Annie Beach, but what’s the beach itself like? It’s pretty good – messy in a typical West Coast way but perfect for long strolls. We saw a few people fishing there – apparently it’s a good spot to do it, both in the river and for a spot of surf casting from the beach.
We had no idea what we’d find at Gentle Annie Beach, but we definitely didn’t expect to find such a cool little café there. We had a delicious muffin as well as some whitebait from the food truck outside. One of the downsides to most beach-camping holidays in New Zealand is the lack of good food options at a lot of the less popular places – that’s not a problem at Gentle Annie Beach!
Note: The café has limited opening hours outside of summer
Gentle Annie Point Maze
Another surprising thing we found at Gentle Annie Beach is the maze. A lot of New Zealand beaches have headland walks, where you trudge up to get a view of the coastline. This place has one too, but it’s a bit different. From the carpark you’ll walk up a gravel road, and then into the maze itself.
It isn’t particularly hard to navigate, but it was cool to see someone doing something a little different with a walk like this. Once out of the maze you’ll reach a clearing where you’ll get some awesome views both north and south.
You can also continue down from that viewpoint to the beach below – the track was a bit dodgy though (and were feeling lazy) so we turned around soon after. We heard you can sometimes see dolphins from up there. Unfortunately, we didn’t, but keep you eyes peeled and let me know if you see one.
There’s heaps of room to camp at Gentle Annie Beach, but they also have some other accommodation options, including a lodge which sleeps up to 27 people and a cute little caravan for two.
Gentle Annie Beach is around 40 minutes north of Westport. You’ll pass close by when travelling north to Karamea – if you’re not in too much of a hurry I reckon it’s a great spot to stop at for an hour or two, especially if you’re there around lunchtime!
Are you planning a holiday to New Zealand? Check out our South Island travel guide!