Westport is the main town of the Buller District, in the northern part of the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Westport has spectacular beaches at its back door, and the mighty Buller River, the largest river by volume in NZ, runs right beside the town. Breathtaking views of the Paparoa Mountains and the Brunner Range are the backdrop for this scenic town. Outdoor adventures abound, coupled with fabulous eateries and hospitable locals.
Westport is the main town of the Buller District with a population of around 4,660 which increases somewhat through Whitebait season, September to November. Coal and gold mining are the primary employers in the district, with a growing fishing fleet as well. Westport encompasses the Carters Beach, Cape Foulwind, and Tauranga Bay communities to the west, and other communities to the north.
- 1 Westport Airport (WSZ IATA). Sounds Air has one to three flights a day Su–F from Wellington. Adult $199, child $179.
Westport is at the mouth of the Buller River, about 5 km up State Highway 67 from the junction with State Highway 6.
- When travelling from Nelson or Christchurch, take State Highway 6 from Inangahua Junction via the Buller Gorge to the junction with State Highway 67. Allow at least an hour for travelling the gorge. The road through the Buller Gorge is single lane in several places and frequently traveled by buses and trucks. Take care, be patient, and enjoy the scenery.
- When travelling north from Greymouth, take State Highway 6 along the coast via Punakaiki to the junction with State Highway 67. Allow 1.5 hours driving, plus set aside an hour to see the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki.
Intercity have a daily coach from Nelson via Murchison, arriving in the morning and going onwards to Fox Glacier. There is also a daily service from Fox Glacier, via Franz Josef, Hokitika, Greymouth (connecting with the train from Christchurch) and Punakaiki.
Westport is an easy town to explore and navigate by walking or bicycle. Taxis are also available. Carters Beach is a few kilometres out of town, Cape Foulwind 12 km, and Tauranga Bay a further 5 km. Each of the beach communities stretch a kilometre or two along the shore.
- Buller Taxis, ☏ .
- Westport Cabs, ☏ .
- Habitat Sports, 234 Palmerston Street, ☏ , toll-free: 0800 843 653. Bike hires.
- 1 Clock Tower - Municipal Chambers, 119 Palmerston Street. Historic 1930's art deco building. A prominent landmark of Westport. Informal Saturday-morning market with local food and crafts can be found in front of the building (may be seasonal).
- 2 Victoria Park - Gates of Remembrance, Russell Street and Brougham Street.
- 3 Coaltown Museum, 123 Palmerston St. Adults $10, Children (5-16) $2.
- 4 Marilyn Rea-Menzies Art Studio & Gallery, 241 Palmerston Street, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 5 Memorials to Lost Seafarers, Westport Jetty-Tip Head.
- 6 Old Orowaiti Cemetery, 102 Utopia Road (Hwy 67 towards Karamea, left on Utopia Road). Historic cemetery used from approx. 1867 to 1893.
- 7 Denniston Coalmining Historic Area (Hwy 67 north to Denniston turnoff). 27 km east of Westport. Interesting exhibits, amazing views.
With the relatively small population of the West Coast region and the quantity and size of the beaches, you'll find you have them almost to yourself. Follow conservation practices - do not approach or feed wildlife, nor collect souvenirs from the beach. Dogs should be leashed to protect wildlife, especially the vulnerable little blue penguin population found throughout the wild West Coast.
- 8 Kawatiri Beach Reserve (Derby Street to end of the road). Wide sandy beach popular with picnickers, surfers and horseback riders.
- 9 Carters Beach. Beautiful wide sandy beach perfect for walking, biking, horseback riding and of course swimming and surfing.
- 10 Gillespie Beach (Hwy 67a, right on Lighthouse Road, right on Domain road). Access the beach from Omau Domain which overlooks it. Ramp leads to beach which is safe only at low tide. Beautiful beach with rock arch. (3/2021 Update: ramp is closed due to unsafe conditions.).
- Cape Foulwind Beach (Hwy 67a, right on Lighthouse Road (Cape Foulwind) to parking on right, before arriving at lighthouse parking lot). Access the beach from small parking area on the beach side, by the gate. Path and steps lead to beach. Find the cave at low tide.
- 11 Tauranga Bay Beach. A broad sandy shell-shaped beach. Sensitive habitat for little blue penguins. Dogs must be leashed.
- 1 Bazil's Surf School, 54/56 Russell Street, ☏ . Also provides private ensuite rooms and dorm rooms, as well as tent and campervan sites.
- 2 Skate Park at Victoria Park, Corner of Russell & Lyndhurst.
- 3 Buller Adventures (The Adventure HQ), 193 Palmerston Street, ☏ , email@example.com. Outfitter for Old Ghost Road and Paparoa Track.
- 4 NBS Theatre, 105 Palmerston Street, ☏ . Kiwi and international movies on this local screen. Venue also hosts concerts and other events.
- 5 Kawatiri River Bike Trail. Bike trail along the lower Buller River and continuing on to the Kawatiri Beach Reserve. 8 km of easy track in Westport.
- 6 Kawatiri Coastal Trail. A 55 km trail connecting Westport to Charleston is expected to be completed in 2022. The Pūwaha section connecting Westport to Carters Beach, the first 5km of the track, opened in December 2020. Trail has many historical signs, and travels through open farmland, over wetlands, through rain forest, and by the Buller River. Raised boardwalks and a new swing bridge make this an interesting and enjoyable journey on bike or foot. Wheelchair accessible.
- Denniston Plateau Mountain Biking Tracks (Hwy 67 north to Denniston turnoff). 27 km north of Westport. DOC and Buller Cycling Club have partnered to create 3 to 27 km loops (20 mins to 8 hours). No dogs. Tracks - Easy (Grade 2), Intermediate (Grade 3).
- 7 Westport Golf Club, Marine Parade, Carters Beach (Hwy 67A towards Cape Foulwind; Right on Golf Links Road, Right on Marine Parade), ☏ .
- Carters Beach Market, Carters Beach Domain and Hall. The Carters Beach Market is the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, off-season (winter) it may be monthly. Check their Facebook page to confirm.
- Carters Beach Playground, Carters Beach Domain. Bring the kids to enjoy some a fun playground next to the beach.
Cape Foulwind and Tauranga Bay
- 8 Cape Foulwind Walkway. starts just a few km from town and follows the coast along a ridge from the Cape Foulwind Lighthouse to the Seal Colony and Tauranga Bay. It's a nice hike and if you're lucky the fog will be rolling in, the wind will be blowing and the surf pounding and you will see why Captain James Cook named the area Cape Foulwind. About two hours return, the non-stop views are well worth the time and effort.
- 9 Tauranga Bay Fur Seal Colony, Tauranga Bay. The 10-minute track from the car park is suitable for wheelchairs and leads to viewing platforms directly overlooking the colony.
- 10 West Coast Surf School, 299 Tauranga Bay Road (Hwy 67a to Cape Foulwind to Tauranga Bay), ☏ , toll-free: 0800 927 873, firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Westport they prefer to slow down and enjoy life, and hope you will as well. You'll find most shops are closed on Saturday afternoon, and all day on Sundays. Cafes and restaurants are open, as are all the beautiful outdoor activities.
- Saturday Market (at the Clock Tower). Sa, 07:00 - 16:00. Seasonal weekly farmer's market.
- 1 The Soap Box, 114 Palmerston Street, ☏ . Gifts, NZ-made goods, cards, and large section of used books with return policy.
- 2 Heritage Giftworld, 176 Palmerston Street, ☏ . Gift shop with handmade New Zealand items. Find Owner's Utopia Farms hazelnuts.
- 3 It's All Good, 6/363 Fairdown Road, ☏ , email@example.com. Organic shop.
- 4 The Black and Dane Trading Co., 151-153 Palmerston Street, ☏ .
- 5 Dennis Bookshop and Stationary, 179 Palmerston Street, ☏ .
- 6 Surf Fevah, 153 Palmerston Street, ☏ . Surfing clothing and gear.
- 7 Habitat Sports, 234 Palmerston Street, ☏ . Bike hires, track shuttles. Fishing, hunting, biking gear. Over 20 lines of NZ-made goods.
- 8 Phil Wood Menswear, 190 Palmerston Street, ☏ . Iconic shop. Chat with the owner, Phil Wood, who has a long history of West Coast exploration and knowledge.
- 9 Buller Fabric & Fibre, 180 Palmerston Street, ☏ . Knit, sew, quilt and fabric shop.
- 10 Toyworld, 176-178 Palmerston Street, ☏ .
- 11 Heritage Jewellers, 174 Palmerston Street, ☏ .
- 12 Reynolds Shoes, 126 Palmerston Street, ☏ . Shoes, sandals, boots
- 13 Footlite & Sole, 184 Palmerston Street, ☏ . Clothing, athletic shoes, accessories
- Postie, 152 Palmerston Street, ☏ . Clothing shop.
- Bed Bath & Beyond, 152 Palmerston Street, ☏ .
- 14 Mitre 10, 47 Palmerston Street, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 07:30-17:00 M-F; 08:00-13:00 Sat; 10:00-13:00 Sun. Camping supplies.
New Zealand has a particular affection for coffee, and the West Coast is no exception. Westport boasts two local coffee roasters. You may find their products in local supermarkets and cafes.
Eat and drink
Some cafes and restaurants are closed Monday and Tuesdays. Call ahead to verify.
- 1 PR's Cafe, 124 Palmerston Street, ☏ , email@example.com. Comfortable cafe with outdoor seating offering freshly prepared breakfast and lunch items all day. Coffee, tea, house-made slices and muffins.
- 2 Yellow House Cafe and Restaurant, 243 Palmerston Street, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 3 Johnny's Restaurant & Bar, 62 Palmerston Street, ☏ . Full restaurant and bar for lunch and dinner. Offering day menu including breakfast items starting at 11am.
- 4 Buller Cafe (Golden Horse Chinese Takeaway), 97a Palmerston Street, ☏ . Fish & chips takeaway. Chinese food takeaway or eat-in.
- 5 West Coast Brewery, 10 Lyndhurst Street. Book a tour in advance. Brews craft beers, including Green fern organic lager. Tours $30.
- 6 Denniston Dog Restaurant, Cafe and Bar, 18 Wakefield Street, ☏ .
- 7 PortSide Bistro and Bar, 13 Cobden Street, ☏ , email@example.com.
- 8 The Copper Pot, 110 Palmerston Street, ☏ . Indian eat-in and takeaway.
- 9 The Quarry Restaurant, 284 Palmerston Street, ☏ .
- 10 Kathrin's Taste of Europe (Cake and More), 15 Rintoul Street (corner of Palmerston), ☏ .
- 11 Whanake Gallery & Espresso Bar, 173 Palmerston Street, ☏ . Walk-up coffee takeaway.
- 12 J's Cafe, 160 Palmerston Street, ☏ . Nicely prepared food. Dark windows and entry.
- 13 Gibby's Cafe, 194 Palmerston Street, ☏ .
- 14 West Coast Pie Company. Premium wild game pies. Shop online for delivery, and some locations along the West Coast. Check their Facebook page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/WestCoastPies.
- 15 Club Buller, 44 Queen Street, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Restaurant and event space.
- 16 The Nourish Nook, 10A Lyndhurst Street. Food cart.
- 17 Grumpy's Takeaways, 40 Derby Street, ☏ .
- Rainbow Tearooms & Bakery (Rainbow Cake Kitchen), 76 Palmerston Street, ☏ , toll-free: 0800 105 060, email@example.com. Multi-generational family run bakery. Takeaway fresh milk and cream from a local grass-fed organic dairy.
- 18 Scarlett & Co., 25 Palmerston Street, ☏ . Coffee and freshly prepared food using local organic ingredients, gluten free options available. All food and drinks are takeaway. Also offer locally made jams and jellies. Location for Saturday market, weather permitting.
- 19 Smiley's Pizzas and Takeaways, 232 Palmerston Street, ☏ .
- Gado Gado, 298 Palmerston Street, ☏ . Food cart with freshly prepared-to-order Thai and Indonesian style food that is worth the wait. May be closed in bad weather. No credit cards.
- 20 The Thai Asian Treats, 181 Palmerston Street, ☏ . Takeaway Thai food. Ring to place order.
- The Pines Tavern, 816 Fairdown Road (North on State Highway 67 for 10km), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. A historic tavern offers an outdoor beer garden in good weather, as well as indoor bar and restaurant. Open Tuesday-Friday from 2pm, Saturday-Sunday from 1pm. Also a park-over property, powered and non-powered caravan sites available. Owner Tania Newmans is your host.
- 21 New World Supermarket, 244 Palmerston Street. Daily 8:00AM-8:30PM.
- Fresh Choice Supermarket, 18 Fonblanque Street, ☏ . The post office is inside the supermarket.
- On the Spot (Luffy's Dairy), 40 Derby Street, ☏ .
- On the Spot (Mill House Dairy), 229 Palmerston Street, ☏ .
- Buller Discounter Dairy, 96-98 Palmerston Street, ☏ . Small grocery store with local produce.
- 22 Donaldo's Cafe and Restaurant, 23 Marine Parade (Hwy 67A to Golf Links Road, left on Marine Parade), ☏ , email@example.com. Beautiful views of the beach, the Steeples and Cape Foulwind from this comfortable cafe serving freshly prepared food. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Small convenience store offers baked goods and staples, and scoop ice cream. Across from the Domain and playground. Outdoor seating available in the front, to better enjoy the views.
Westport welcomes self-contained freedom camping, except in the communities of Carters Beach, Cape Foulwind, and Tauranga Bay.
Camping and cabins
- 1 Westport Kiwi Holiday Park, 37 Domett Street, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Closest holiday park to Westport centre. Motel rooms, tent sites, powered camper sites. Park-like setting in 12 acres of native bush. Playground, mini-golf course.
Hostels and homestays
- 2 TripInn Hostel (Westport YHA), 72 Queen Street, ☏ . 85-bed backpacker hostel in a historic 1860s building. Tent sites. Outdoor area. Bicycles available.
- Havenlee Homestay, 76 Queen Street, ☏ , email@example.com. Jan and Ian Stevenson are your hosts at this homestay location.
Motels and motor lodges in New Zealand are usually self-contained with a kitchenette in the room. Confirm before booking.
- 3 Buller Court Motel, 235 Palmerston Street, ☏ , toll-free: 0800 832 432. Motel rooms. Laundry facilities.
- 4 Bella Vista Motel, 314 Palmerston Street, ☏ , toll-free: 0800 235 528.
- 5 Palm Court Motels, 306 Palmerston Street, ☏ , toll-free: 0800 472 567, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 6 Westport Motels, 32 The Esplanade, ☏ , email@example.com.
- 7 Buller Bridge Motels, 32a The Esplanade, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 8 Chelsea Gateway Motor Lodge (Asure), 330 Palmerston Street, ☏ , email@example.com.
- 9 Ascot Motor Lodge, 74 Romilly Street, ☏ .
- 10 Sunset Accommodation Motel, 9120 State Highway 6 (State Highway 6 south junction with Highway 67.), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Self-contained ensuite rooms for 1-3 people in this rural setting 10km south of Westport. Guest BBQ available. Guest laundry facilities. Hosts Bill and Cheryl Rodmell.
Hotels usually have amenities such as an on-site restaurant or bar.
- 11 Westport Motor Hotel, 207 Palmerston Street, ☏ , email@example.com. Budget motel near the centre of town.
- 12 Cosmopolitan Hotel, 136 Palmerston Street, ☏ . Hotel, restaurant and bar.
- 13 Westport Spa Hotel, 239 Palmerston Street, ☏ . In-town hotel within walking distance of town centre.
- 14 McManus Hotel, 39 Palmerston Street, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Hotel with restaurant and bar, pool tables and gaming room.
Bed and breakfast
- 15 Archer House Bed and Breakfast, 75 Queen Street, ☏ , email@example.com. Beautiful historic home in garden setting in center of Westfield. Non-smoking. No children or pets.
- River Garden Retreat, 3784 Buller Gorge Road (State Highway 6) (State Highway 6 north of the junction with Highway 67.), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Ensuite king and double rooms, one with disability access. Beautiful rural location overlooking expansive gardens and the Buller River. Venue for weddings and parties. Easy 8-minute drive to Westport. Hosts Kathleen & Jim Rea, lifetime locals.
Freedom camping is not permitted at Carters Beach.
- 16 Carters by the Sea, 27 Marine Parade (5 minutes' drive west of Westport on highway 67A, across the street from the Domain), ☏ , email@example.com. Check-out: 10:00. Studio apartments with gorgeous views of the beach and Paparoa Mountains. Completed in December 2014, the 30 m2 (320 ft²) studios are modern. Each studio has large sliding doors to a balcony. Passive heat capture from the northerly aspect make them cozy all year round.
- 17 Top 10 Holiday Park, 57 Marine Parade (5 minutes' drive west of Westport on highway 67A), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Motel rooms, cabins, powered and non-powered camp sites.
- 18 Carters Beach Units, 16 Schadick Avenue (Hwy 67A, right on Golf Links Road, right on Shadick), ☏ , email@example.com.
- 19 The Links Carters Beach Apartments, 11 Schadick Avenue, ☏ .
Freedom camping is not permitted at Cape Foulwind.
- 20 The Lazy Seal Cottages, 1042 Cape Foulwind Road (10 minutes' drive west of Westport on highway 67A), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 21 Omau Settlers Lodge, 2 Omau Road (10 minutes' drive west of Westport on highway 67A), ☏ , email@example.com.
- 22 Omau Retreat Hotel, 24/2 Lighthouse Road (10 minutes' drive west of Westport on highway 67A), ☏ .
- 23 Steeples Cottage and Studio B&B, 48 Lighthouse Road (10 minutes' drive west of Westport on highway 67A), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
Freedom camping is not permitted at Tauranga Bay.
- 24 The Bay House Beachside Accommodation, Seal Colony Road, 433 Tauranga Bay Road (15 minutes' drive west of Westport on highway 67A), ☏ , email@example.com. Each unit has small kitchen facilities. Outdoor gas BBQ on the main deck is available.
- Police station, 111 Wakefield Street, ☏ . Dial 111 in an emergency, or 105 to report non-emergencies.
- Buller Health, Cobden Street, ☏ . Health services. There are no walk-in after-hours emergency services. In an emergency, dial 111. If you are unsure what to do, a nurse is available 24/7 to take your call at +64 03-788 9277.
- Westport Dental Clinic, 141 Palmerston Street, ☏ , toll-free: 0800 846 983. Dental services
- Noel Templeton Optometrists, 217 Palmerston Street, ☏ . Closed weekends. Noel's mobile +64 027 496 2107 for assistance if needed.
- Buller Pharmacy, 168 Palmerston Street, ☏ .
- Health 2000, 112a Palmerston Street, ☏ . Holistic goods.
Wi-Fi is available in cafes (on request) and internet access is offered at the Public Library during library hours. Wi-Fi is not strongly available on the street.
Post Office - NZ Post is located inside the Fresh Choice Supermarket, 18 Fonblanque Street.
- EPIC Westport, 10a Lyndhurst Street, firstname.lastname@example.org. For the traveler needing a work space for a day or more. Co-working (shared space) and meeting room available by the hour for non-members; private offices available at a weekly rate. Open Monday-Friday 9AM-5PM, and after-hours by arrangement. Book directly on website or contact EPIC for more information.
Public toilets are available on Palmerston Street a half-block block north of Lyndhurst. They are also available at Victoria Park: on Brougham Street between Russell and Queen, and on Russell Street between Brougham and Lyndhurst.
- West Coast Laundry, 58 Palmerston Street. 7AM-8:30PM, 7 days.
- Living Water Church, 27 Cobden Street.
- St. Canice's Catholic Church, 18 Brougham Street, ☏ , email@example.com. 9:30am Sunday Mass.
- St. John's Anglican Church, 67 Queen Street, ☏ . Historic church
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 10 Dellaca Place.
- Vision Church Westport, 50 Wakefield Street.
- Westport Elim Church, 54 Palmerston Street, ☏ .
It is best you check your fuel tank before leaving Westport, as it may be 70-90 km to the next filling station whether you're headed north, south or east.
- Granity - to the north on State Highway 67, a historic mining town with some notable features (25 minutes (30 km))
- Karamea - About 1.5 hours (90 km) drive to the north on State Highway 67, and the start (or finish) of the Heaphy Track. (There is no exit road from Karamea other than State Highway 67, so make it a day trip, at least.)
- Punakaiki - stunning coast road south on State Highway 6 (48 minutes – 56 km)
- The Truman Track is south along the coast from Westport and is a 15 minute hike to the coast with excellent breakers and a pebble beach.
- Pancake Rocks & Blowholes at Punakaiki, Paparoa National Park. Exceptionally interesting rock formations viewed from a paved trail, much of it wheelchair accessible.
- Barrytown - a hamlet with a gorgeous beach and a great vibe
- Greymouth - the next sizeable town to the south, 1 hour 30 minutes (98 km)