News Roads

What It’s Like to Drive on World’s Most Scenic Road, Great Coast Road

We thought this area of New Zealand was great for spotting wildlife, including unique birds.

Weka are native to New Zealand and protected.

Courtesy of Dean French/Kelly Eden

Next to the Pororari River, we found a Weka, one of New Zealand’s native birds, which was an unexpected surprise.

The Weka was eating insects from the stoney riverbank. We’ve often heard Weka on walks around the Great Coast Road, rustling the leaves and bushes next to forest walkways, but they can be shy around people and we hadn’t seen one so up close before.

My youngest daughter, an animal lover, was keen to get as close as possible, but the Weka wasn’t so sure. Perhaps if she’d had something to eat it would have been friendlier. In my experience from living in this area, Weka are likely to steal food around picnics and campsites.

We’ve spotted other birds, too. We’ve often been followed on a forest walk by cute little Fantails, or seen the red and blue Pukeko strutting in paddocks next to the road. We saw a few Pukeko on this drive. 

We haven’t seen any of New Zealand’s iconic Kiwi yet in the forests near the Great Coast Road, but we did come across a little blue penguin on the beach once.

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