West Coast Wilderness Trail

Ross New Zealand
Image by NT Franklin from Pixabay

My second choice is based in my home region of the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island.  This awe inspiring coast line is one of the most rugged in the world. That makes it perfect for crazy cyclists! With rugged shorelines just waiting to be explored, the West Coast Wilderness Trail is one of the country’s smoothest and most accessible trails. Your journey will take you through ancient rainforest, along glacial rivers, around moody lakes and across some pretty stunning wetlands. There is so much to see and do on this trail that you will want to give yourself a few days to explore the 135.5km trail.

Fascinating natural and human history is revealed as this trail retraces old packhorse tracks, tramlines, railways and even water races, linked by new, flowing single track. Stretching from the ‘big smoke’ of Greymouth to the creaky gold town of Ross, it offers deep immersion in the Coast’s world-famous scenery as well as a journey back in time to the days of the Māori pounamu (greenstone) gatherers and the glittering gold rush era.

Heaphy Track


This ancient Māori trail crosses over tussock downs to lush forests, through Nikau palms and onward to the roaring seas of the West Coast of the South Island.

Of all the Great Walks, the Heaphy Track delivers the strongest contrasts. Every section of the track is vastly different from the previous one. Choose to hike this track and you’ll get luxuriant rainforest; sub-alpine tussock grasslands; high, rugged mountains; and, finally, lowland forest and palm-fringed surf beaches. You’re in for 82 kilometres of hard walking, but the frequent scenery changes will certainly take your mind off sore feet.

The track is staged within the Kahurangi National Park, the second largest national park in the country and home to many Great Spotted Kiwi Birds. Even to a non-geologist, Kahurangi’s rocks are deeply interesting. Parts of the region are limestone or marble; these areas are characterised by an abundance of caves, bluffs, natural arches, sinkholes and water-worn outcrops. The park also contains the largest cave system in New Zealand.

The path followed by the Heaphy Track was first used by the native New Zealand people Māori pounamu or greenstone hunters travelling from Golden Bay to the pounamu (jade) rivers of Westland. Pounamu was highly valued for tools, weapons and ornaments.

And of course we here at Ariki New Zealand now value it for its natural beauty in our New Zealand Greenstone range.


Image by Maraea from Pixabay

Pounamu is found in many places on the West Coast and is prized for its strength, durability and beauty. Used by the Māori for generations, it denotes great status. Its beauty is still well appreciated as it is found in many West Coast shops and galleries.

Please see my previous blogs regarding this precious Taonga or treasure and I am sure you will agree that it is surely something that would be treasured for a lifetime and beyond.

To me personally it is the quintessential symbol of the West Coast – the myriad of greens of the native rain forests – the swirling patterns of the cool clear rivers and the even coolness of the inclement climate experienced on “The Coast”.

Therefore the piece of Ariki New Zealand Jewellery which reminds me the most of my beloved West Coast is:


“For Māori, the native New Zealand people this triple twist symbol is also an eternity symbol. The triple twist refers to the bond between peoples, communities, or cultures rather than individuals. Traditionally given as an offering of friendship between different tribes. The shape represents loyalty and friendship that stays strong through the many challenges of life. It is inspired by the symbols of life and growth.

Buy Jade Jewellery New Zealand

This unique and beautiful piece of genuine New Zealand Greenstone or Pounamu as the Māori people have named it, has been hand carved and then polished to a high shine finish and would most definitely be a prized treasure for anyone who may receive it.

Māori and the sea

Maori Mural

Not surprisingly, given that New Zealand is surrounded by sea, our native New Zealand people Māori have a strong affinity with the ocean.

Oral storytelling is a vital element in Māori culture, and the story of demi-god Māui fishing Aotearoa from the sea has been passed down through the generations. The North Island (Te Ika a Māui) was the fish Māui caught and became home to Māui, his family and all Māori. The South Island became the waka (canoe) of Māui through the legend and is known as Te Waka a Māui (the canoe of Māui). Stewart Island, located to the south of the South Island is known as Te Punga a Māui (Māui’s anchor). The tangata whenua (people of the land) of New Zealand have always been great fishers and have special provision to fish under customary fishing regulations. Kaimoana (seafood) caught under the customary fishing regulations cannot be traded or sold.

We have several pieces of unique fine New Zealand Jewellery which honour this connection with our heritage and our oceans but my personal favourite is the W47 Hei Matau Koru

Pounamu Greenstone Pendant

Buy Jade Jewellery New Zealand

Our stylised genuine New Zealand Greenstone pendant pays homage to this strong relationship as well as having the distinctive Koru shape which symbolises new beginnings and growth.
This unique and beautiful piece of genuine New Zealand Greenstone or Pounamu as the Māori have named it, has been hand carved and then polished to a high shine finish and would most definitely be a prized treasure for anyone who may receive it.

Jade Brooches: Beautiful New Zealand Pounamu


For the people of New Zealand, the Greenstone or NZ Jade, popularly known as Pounamu, is beyond just a souvenir because it has a significant spiritual treasure. The beautiful New Zealand Pounamu can be found in different places in the West Coast. This stone has been prized for its beauty, durability and strength.
Historically, Pounamu was used by the Maori as personal ornaments, weapons and tools. It’s also a denotation of having a great status in the society. Nowadays, the beauty of Pounamu is still appreciated because these jade brooches can be found in several galleries and shops in the West Coast. Arahura River in the Jade Country is the birthplace of this beautiful Pounamu, in the north of Hokitika.

Guardian of Pounamu
According to the legend, Poutini is the guardian of the Pounamu. Poutini is also a Taniwha, a giant water-being who abducted Waitaiki, a beautiful Maori woman from the North Island. He took her to the south and to the Arahura River eventually. Tamaahua, the husband of Waitaiki gave them a chase. Poutini feared the determination and strength of Tamaahua but he wants Waitaiki for himself and that if he could not have her, no one should. He transformed Waitaiki into a Pounamu then rested her in the stony waters of the Arahura River. The fragments of Jade broke off and rolled down the river flowing to the seas are believed to be Waitaiki’s offspring.

Finding Pounamu on the Beach
For fossickers, you still have the chance to take home a Pounamu home. You can find pieces of Pounamu that were washed down by storm along the beach. The outer skin of jade brooches appears to be grey or milky and have a soapy texture. Sometimes, you can be lucky to find green pieces of Pounamu that are already smoothed due to natural processes. However, remember that Pounamu that are found somewhere else are not allowed to be taken. You can only be a fossicker on beaches.

Buying Pounamu
Pounamu are very strong jade brooches known for the beauty they possess. Local artisans and Maori were all drawn to the power of these jade brooches for many centuries and it’s now widely-used in the making of sculptures and jewelry. There are 5 main types of New Zealand Pounamu: Kahurangi, Kkopu, Inanga, Kawakawa and Tangiwai. All of these types have their own unique features and look.
One of the finest arts and crafts companies is Ariki New Zealand Greenstone Jewellery. The company works with the best Pounamu carvers and greenstone artists. All of Ariki’s artists share a common passion for jade brooches and are purely-driven to create beautiful carvings with the highest standards. They all work tirelessly to craft pieces of Pounamu carvings and greenstone jewelry that you can buy.

Ariki Greenstone Jewellery
Ariki New Zealand Greenstone Jewellery carves life into stone. Each of the pieces they created is hand-finished to ensure quality. Jade brooches have soft finishes, smooth lines, no cuts and no scratches. The products they sell are unique and personalized. If you want to buy your own New Zealand Pounamu greenstone, you can visit to find out more about the carvings, greenstones and sculptures available for purchase.

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