A river port near the mouth of the Buller River, 99 km north of Greymouth. Westport offers a wide range of fantastic activities and experiences.
The region was originally settled after John Rochfort entered the Buller River in 1858 from the sea in the cutter Supply, and declared that it could be used as a port. After gold was discovered in the middle reaches of the Buller River, a small trading settlement grew up on the eastern side of the river mouth, which was then further supported by the discovery of vast coal reserves.
Today Westport is the main commercial and administrative centre for the northern part of the West Coast, also known as Buller. The mild climate provides an ideal outdoor destination for travellers of all ages.
Here you can enjoy:
the NEW Denniston Mining Experience
world class caving and underworld rafting
white water rafting and jet boating
jet skiing and surfing
a wide range of beautiful walks and hikes
fascinating heritage experiences
a variety of quality restaurants, cafes and accommodation choices
25 minutes drive south of Westport, on the Coast Road, is Charleston. The site of a major gold rush in the 1860s, Charleston is now famous for its extensive limestone caves and caving experiences, the Nile River, and the beachfront area around Constant Bay.
20 minutes drive to the west is Cape Foulwind/Tauranga Bay, where you will find one of New Zealand’s most accessible fur seal colonies (reached via an excellent walking track). 40 minutes to the north of Westport are the friendly coastal villages of Granity and Hector, with fine arts and crafts studios.
The town offers a wide range of retail, banking and other services that you would expect in a large centre, including an airport.
Westport / Charleston / Buller Gorge Must Sees
Cape Foulwind Fur Seal Colony
On the coastline about 16km south west of Westport, you will find Tauranga Bay and the Cape Foulwind Fur Seal Colony. Take a short walk of about 20 minutes to see the seals at home.
For nature lovers, this is ideal. Visitors are close enough, on viewing platforms, to see anywhere up to 100 seals playing in the waves, sunbathing on the shore or feeding their young (born early summer) but observers are kept at a safe distance.
A wonderful stopover to take in the sea air, experience New Zealand wildlife in their natural environment and explore another superb West Coast wonder.
Buller Gorge and swing bridge
The Buller river cuts through the beautiful pink granite of the Buller Gorge, reaching the Tasman Sea at Westport.
Spanning this impressive waterway is New Zealand’s longest swingbridge, at 110m long. A great spot for taking photos of the river and gorge and a fun to walk in itself. There are many other activities set up around the river, visit your local Visitor Information Centre for more details.
Heritage buildings and Port
Wander the town of Westport by foot and explore the historical buildings and port area. A great way to explore New Zealand history!