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Hiking at Ship Creek, West Coast

Hiking at Ship Creek, West Coast

Ship Creek, just north of Haast on the main West Coast Road, is home to some short walking tracks which will get you amongst unique coastal scenery. We hiked the “Dune Lake” track — it only took around 45 minutes and the views along the way were very different than the other spots we visited along the West Coast.

Hiking at Ship Creek: The Dune Lake Track

The Dune Lake track starts at the main car park — it’s a loop track so there are a couple of ways to go. We started off close to the beach and then walked through the forest until we reached a viewpoint above the lake. Don’t know what a dune lake is? Neither did I! Apparently they are small freshwater lakes formed by sand blowing across sand dunes, creating hollows which fill with water. So, lakes by the sea basically!

Beach at Ship Creek, Haast, New ZealandDune Lake, Ship Creek Walks, New Zealand

From the viewpoint you’ll eventually get to the edge of the lake. If you’re lucky enough to visit on a calm day, there will be some nice reflections. The lake also attracts various birds — they must have been hiding when we were there though!

The Dune Lake Walk, West Coast, New ZealandDune Lake at Ship Creek, West Coast, New Zealand

Ship Creek / the Beach

The beach at Ship Creek is long and fairly rugged. I can’t imagine many people wanting to swim there but it’s nice to look at. There’s also a tower which you can climb for more nice views. A short walk from the car park sits Ship Creek, a murky, brown little river which again, you probably wouldn’t want to swim in. There’s also a short walk by the river  — the Kahikatea Forest Walk — let me know if you’ve done it in the comments below (and if you have a photo I could use here that would be awesome!).

A rugged West Coast Beach, New Zealand

Getting There

Ship Creek is located on the main West Coast road. It’s around 15 minutes north of Haast and around 90 minutes south of Franz Josef. There are some cool places to visit nearby including Knights Lookout, one of the best coastal viewpoints on the West Coast. It’s kind of a frustrating viewpoint though as the foliage obscures the views. This would be a great place for a short hike down to the beach — hopefully that happens one day!

READ MORE: Check out these waterfalls on the way to Haast: Thunder Creek Falls | Roaring Billy Falls | Fantail Falls

Knights Lookout, West Coast, New Zealand

Knights Lookout

Are you planning a trip to the West Coast? Read my other posts and if you have any questions leave a comment or give me an email!

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Jon Algie

I'm a South Island local -- born in Timaru and raised in Dunedin. I left the island in 2006 and returned 10 years later. Having seen a good chunk of the world I realised how special this place is -- the most beautiful island in the world! Seven years (and almost 400 posts) later I'm still helping locals and tourists alike plan their trips around the South Island.