Plan a Premium Trip to Haast
Hanging onto the edge of New Zealand between the vast wilderness of Te Waihipounamu World Heritage Area and the Tasman Sea, Haast truly is the final frontier for many travelling New Zealand. With some of the South Island’s most untamed wilderness on its doorstep, the only ways to penetrate this sacred area is via helicopter, jet boat or on foot. Luckily, the former two are abundant around the Haast area, making the absorption of the commanding vistas effortless. But get your bookings done quickly, as this little piece of rugged paradise has very limited luxury stays to complete a more “premium” experience in Haast.
Plan your experiences and accommodation using this luxury travel guide to Haast.
Luxury Activities in Haast
- Land by remote lakes, fly over glaciers or to Milford Sound with HeliService.NZ
- Enjoy a fixed-wing scenic flight with Knights Point Air
- Blast up the glacier river valleys whatever the weather with Haast River Safari
- Delve up the remote Mt Aspiring rivers with Waiatoto River Safari
- Enjoy a complete helicopter excursion with multiple landings with Greenstone Helicopters
- Do a helicopter and jet boat combo with Wilkin River Jets
- Fly, hike and jet boat in with wilderness with Siberia Experience.
For more details on each, as well as their locations, see the 7 Luxury Activities in Haast.
Luxury Air Activities
In what could arguably be called the “Scenic Flight Capital of New Zealand”, Haast offers a diverse offering of scenic flights and helicopter packages to get visitors seeing Haast’s World Heritage Area from a unique perspective.
Greenstone Helicopters offers an exciting array of air experiences, from the short-and-sweet Haast Highlights tour to comprehensive excursions. One of our favourites of the latter is the “Glaciers, Greenstone & Grub” tour, a 2h30min experience seeing majestic scenery and Mt Aspiring itself, landing in Jackson Bay for its famous seafood and checking out giant greenstone boulders. You’ll also get to experience a landing in the alpine wilderness, as well as fly over a fantastic array of scenes including coastline, rainforest, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, glaciers and more.
Your alternative helicopter experience departing from Haast is with HeliServices.NZ, offering short flights across the coast to three-hour missions to Milford Sound. Many of their tours also land in the Mt Aspiring National Park alongside alpine lakes, fly over majestic glaciers, and more. Find out more about them in the 7 Luxury Activities in Haast.
For an alternative air experience, join Knights Point Air for a fixed-wing scenic flight. Soar over the rainforest as you ascend across the Southern Alps with waterfalls and glaciers making their way down the mountain valleys. The return journey has you seeing your pilot’s favourite hidden alpine lakes and waterfalls on this 30-minute flight.
For more scenic flights, especially on the other side of Haast Pass, take a look at the 7 Luxury Activities in Haast.
Luxury River Adventures
Haast’s remaining luxury experiences can be found on the glacier-fed rivers. Jet boats here get you to remote locations within the world heritage area across its rivers that are too shallow for motorboats, which is exactly what this New Zealand invention was designed for.
One of your most luxurious jet boat designs in the country, Haast River Safari offers a fully-enclosed jetboat so you can enjoy the magnificent scenery along the Haast River whatever the weather. Arguably, the cascades of new waterfalls and clouds weaving in and out of the mountains make a rainy day tour all-the-more awe-inspiring. They offer 1h30mins tours along the Glacier-formed Haast River valley to the iconic Roaring Billy Falls and back. Alternatively, check out their jet boat, helicopter and accommodation packages.
Offering a smaller-group tour into the Mt Aspiring National Park, Waiatoto River Safari is a journey on a river very few visitors get to experience. The 2h15mins experience has you delving into the pristine wilderness of the World Heritage Area learning stories of the area’s pioneers to today’s kiwi conservation efforts. The experience also includes afternoon tea in one of the most remote picnic spots you’re likely to ever encounter.
At the other end of the Haast Pass, departing from the village of Makarora, Wilkin River Jets gets you on the waters of the Wilkin and Makarora Rivers. Either enjoy their hour-long jet boat ride complete with 360º spins on the ancient and shallow river systems of the Mt Aspiring National Park or opt for the “Heli-Jet Combo” including a 15-minute helicopter flight.
See how these jet boat tours compare in the 17 Places to Jet Boat in New Zealand.
Alternative Things to Do in Haast
While flying and jet boating make up some of the most luxurious and effortless ways to experience Haast and the World Heritage Area, other ways to experience this remote part of the West Coast is by lacing up your hiking boots or hitting the road to see some breathtaking sights.
Walks in Haast
One of the best short walks in the area is the Monro Beach Walk, a 1h20min one-way trip taking you through lush coastal forest onto the remote Monro Beach – habitat for rare Fiordland-crested penguins.
One of the epic multi-day hikes of the area is the Historic Haast – Paringa Cattle Track, which is a three-day excursion into the Haast wilderness. Accommodation is in Department of Conservation huts, which aren’t that lavish, of course, but offer an authentic backcountry experience away from it all. Prepare for the hike using Multi-Day Backpacking Trips in New Zealand: A Complete Guide.
For more walks in the area, check out 6 Best Walks in Haast.
Dining in Haast
Finally, the last Haast must-do is to indulge in its seafood. While you won’t find “fine dining” here, the crayfish, fish and chips, and whitebait are as fresh as they can be in the coastal fishing community. Dine at restaurants like The Hard Antler Bar & Restaurant (5 Marks Road), The Frontier Cafe & Bar (26 Haast-Jackson Bay Road) or The Cray Pot in Jackson Bay.
For more inspiration, check out 7 Awesome Things to Do in Haast & Jackson Bay.