The West Coast is an entire region of New Zealand, but even so it only has a population of about 8000. It occupies much of the west of the South Island between the Southern Alps and the sea, but that’s the problem – it’s very long and thin, hard to get to, and it rains a lot of the time. And while a ‘rural retreat’ may seem idyllic, most of this region is beyond ‘retreat’ and is just ‘remote’. And very, very wet.
It’s the same in Fiordland (Doubtful Sound, Milford Sound, etc) but Fiordland is even more remote and has no population at all; the slightly odd thing here is the pretence that this is a great place to live when in fact it isn’t.
That said – when the sun comes out, it’s truly superb.
Here’s a link to the Wikipedia Page on West Coast Region.