1. The snow-capped mountains are only 30km from thesea!
You can be hiking in the mountainous wilderness in the morning and be by the Tasman by the afternoon! Alternatively, take a jet boat tour up the Waiatoto River, taking you from the river mouth all the way into the heart of the Aspiring National Park in no time!
2. Haast has arare alpine fault
The Alpine Fault is the contact zone fortwo tectonic plates making it one of only threesegments of the worlds major plate boundaries on land.
3.It’s like stepping back in time
The Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park surrounding Haast is the largest and least modified area of New Zealands natural ecosystem. In fact, it is said to be the best modern example of Gondwanaland, which means its part of one of the most important events in the earths evolutionary history.
4. It’s home to Fascinating wildlife
A range of plants and animals are unusually living in the wake of glaciers. What’s more, there is on-going evolution associated with long-standing geographical isolation of animal populations, for example, the extinct elephant bird from Madagascar DNA is found in thekiwi bird!
5. It holds A huge variety of landscapes!
From Haast, you are never too far from primaeval views of ‘Ice Age’ glaciers and exposed tussock grasslands to dense temperate rainforest and brilliant blue rivers, lakes and wetlands!
6. There’s a whole lot of coastline!
The UNESCO World Heritage Area surrounding Haast includes more than 1000km of Tasman coastline! There are definitely some views worth hiking to!
7. a giant carnivorous snail lives here
Thepowelliphantais the world’s largest carnivorous snail growing as large as a man’s fist. They suck up worms like spaghetti!
8. And it holds extremely rare birds
Fiordland National Park is the only place in the world where you will find takahe living in the wild. They were thought to be extinct but were rediscovered in 1948. Today, you can see few in captivating as part of conservation programs, but only in this world heritage site can you see them in the wild.
9. The land is significantto the Maori
Pounamu, otherwise known as greenstone or jade, is found in the rivers and coastline of this world heritage site. The stone has been traditionally used by the Maori as jewellery, tools and weapons, which you can still buy (or carve yourself) today. If you’re lucky you might even find some yourself on the coast. Check out 10 Tips to Find Greenstone in Hokitika, which can also be applied to the Haast coastline.
10.There are heaps of NZ parrots!
The UNESCO World Heritage Site surrounding Haast has the only large populations remaining of kaka,kakariki/yellow-crowned parakeet and the yellowhead bird.And let’s not forget about the world’s only alpine parrot, the kea!