Northward at the far end of the Whanganui Inlet is your destination. Westhaven Retreat Lodge, an extraordinary building designed, not only to harmonise with its environment, but also offering 5-star luxury accommodation.
The Whanganui Inlet, lying south of Farewell spit, between Golden Bay and the South Island’s West Coast, is one of New Zealand’s largest and best preserved tidal estuaries. The still waters today give no indication that this was once a bustling seaport. Established by European settlers and with busy flax mills and sawmills on the shore. The shelter from westerly storms gave it its better known name of Westhaven.
The Westhaven Wildlife Management and Westhaven Marine Reserves (Te Tai Tapu) share formal protection of this unspoilt 13 km (8 mile) long inlet. It is an important conservation area for wading birds including the long-travelled Godwit and pied oystercatchers.
At the turn of the tide, the Tasman rapidly fills the expanse of tidal flats. Bringing with it a variety of fish, including snapper and whitebait. Approximately thirty species of marine fish use the inlet at some stage of their life history.
Fringing this body of water is the lush coastal forest of Kahurangi National Park, an undiscovered New Zealand all-too rarely seen.
Much of the inlet is bordered by coastal forest, including kahikatea, pukatea, rata, beech, rimu and nikau palm. Eelgrass beds, salt marshes, tidal wetlands, dunes, cliffs, islands, rock platforms and underwater reefs are all found at Westhaven and are important habitats for a variety of species.
Covers 536 hectares (1324 acres) of tidal sandflats and channels, while Westhaven (Whanganui Inlet) Wildlife Management Reserve stretches over 2112 hectares (5218 acres).
It covers all tidal sandflats and channels not included in the marine reserve inside a line from Bar Point to South Head Cone. You read more about this secluded area in the DOC pdf.