Situated on the frontier of the UNESCO World Heritage Area, Haast has a permanent population of 249 people, covers an area of 2500 square kilometres.
Haast Junction is located on the southwest bank of the Haast River, immediately south of the Haast Bridge, at the junction of State Highway 6 and the Haast–Jackson Bay Road. Here you will find a garage and Hotel.
The NZ Department of Conservation operates a visitor centre just south the Haast Junction, offering a wide range of information about the Haast area.
The smaller Haast Beach is on the coast of the Tasman Sea, 2 kilometres down the Haast–Jackson Bay Road. Located here there is a good grocery shop, postal service and garage.
The larger Haast township is located 3 kilometres south of Haast Junction, on State Highway 6. The village has accomodation, cafe, a tavern and a lovely clothing & gift shop.
European settlement of the area dates back to the 1870s. The remoteness of the area initially limited access to seagoing vessels, with some rough tracks from the north and east.
The Haast Pass was opened in 1965 completely access to the Coast and Wanaka. In 1990 the Haast area was included as part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, giving international recognition as a location of significant natural value to Te Wahipounamou – The South West New Zealand World Heritage Area.
Visitors who venture “off the beaten track” will be enchanted by this area’s secluded beaches and remote river valleys.
Today, Haast’s main industries are sea fishing, hunting and tourism. From 1 September to 14 November every year, the population explodes to over 1000 people during whitebait season.