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Travel Guide

Westport travel guide what to see and do

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Westport, lying on the alluvial plain of the Buller River is the storyteller for pounamu (jade), gold and coal extractive industries. The oldest town on the West Coast is a gateway to the remarkable Buller Gorge with its sheer drops and sweeping views of a white water river. Westport is a natural base to explore the conflict, the contrast of the natural landscape and the growth of industry in New Zealand. The West Coast’s identity is forged in a mine. It is fascinating to explore the legacy of gold and coal mining. Hard slog with the promise of dizzy rewards.  For Australians and New Zealanders it is a window into the allure of the nineteenth century and beyond the gold rush.

Denniston Plateau, New Zealand @outwest Tours
Denniston Plateau, New Zealand @outwest Tours


  • Denniston Plateau, an evocative journey into the life of coal mining town
  • Coal Museum with its interactive displays
  • Carter Beach with its surfing culture
  • Cape Foulwind Seal Colony & Tauranga Bay
  • Kawatiri Coastal Cycle Trail Westport to Charleston (55 km) includes Buller River Walkway

Westport Weather Forecast and Observations

The West Coast is the wettest part of New Zealand.  Simply carry a Blunt umbrella and enjoy the mists and fog that drapes around the hills and mountains evoking a sense of mystery. It is evocative of the conditions facing nineteenth century miners as they trudged over mountain passes in search of the elusive nugget of gold.



TIP: Museums being indoors is a great rainy day place


Westports of the world

Worldwide there are more than 20 towns called Westport, mainly in North America. New Zealand’s Westport is the only one in the southern hemisphere. A thriving organisation, Westports of the World, holds annual conventions, hosted in New Zealand in 1988, 1997 and 2006.

Source: Wikipedia


What a gem Westport Railway Preservation Society | Established in 1993 to preserve West Coast railway heritage for lovers of locomotive history and people interested in transport. The Society acquired the former NZ Railways goods shed and offices to house the C and future rolling stock which forms the basis of its museum today. The museum now houses a comprehensive photographic collection.

One of the Society’s other main assets is the former Milburn Cement’s shunting locomotive which members have restored to full working order. The group already has a wide range of historic rolling stock, including a 1940s guard’s van, Q coal wagons, goods wagons, Denniston Incline ammunition wagon, bulk cement wagons and several distinctive motorised trolleys.

To visit the collection collect the Society directly or peer over the fence at the historic rolling stock.

Denniston coal wagons, New Zealand
Denniston coal wagons


Kayaking the Buller river, New Zealand @Blair Waller
Kayaking the Buller river @Blair Waller


  • Buller Gorge jet boating, rafting and walking one of NZ’s longest swing bridges over the swiftly flowing Buller River.
  • A day trip to Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and go exploring
  • Westport Mini Golf
  • Take a leaf out of Hokitika’s beach signage and build driftwood signs, castles and fantasy worlds at Tauranga Bay, definitely the making a good selfie moment
  • Coal Museum is definitely a great place for kids to hang out it with its moving parts and buttons to push


Museum opening hours, attractions and events check for up to date information online or telephone if unsure.


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