Visit Westport with Mighway

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Westport (Māori: Kawatiri) is a town in the West Coast region of the South Island of New Zealand. It is on the northern bank and at the mouth of the Buller River, close by the prominent headland of Cape Foulwind. It is connected via State Highway 6 with Greymouth, 100 kilometres (62 mi) to the south, and with Nelson in the northeast, via the Buller Gorge. The town is thought to have been named after Westport, County Mayo in Ireland, although the choice of name was no doubt also guided by the town's location. The population of the Westport urban area was 3,900 in the 2006 census, an increase of 117 from 2001. Including the surrounding area of Orowaiti, the 2006 population was 4,512. The Buller District Council gives a 2007 population of about 5,000.

Places to Visit near Westport


Coaltown Museum

Opened in June 2013 our new Museum will take you on a journey through gold rush days to the settling of the district and the early development of our mining industry, the lifestyle and living conditions of its people, the geology of coal, extraction and transport systems, to port and shipping developments serving our coal and cement industries.

Coaltown is a fantastic all weather attraction that appeals to every age. A great launching pad from which to explore the Buller District.

Colourful, modern displays bring to life coal extraction and transport from wild and remote places such as Denniston, Millerton, Stockton and Seddonville along with the living and working environment of the people who made it happen and called these places home.

Imagine yourself in the homes of those early pioneers, empathise with the women on wash day. Immerse yourself in our country’s earliest union struggles. Imagine a wild incline ride on our Q wagon’s 45 degree decent of the famed Denniston Incline. View the twenty ton braking drum used to control it. A simulated Mine will give you insight into the day by day working environment of a miner.

Our Maritime Display features attempts to tame the mighty Buller River and the construction and working of the port. A three cylinder triple expansion steam marine engine, formally driving the harbour drege SD Mawhera is on display, representative of the steam era that powered our early rail and shipping.

Special interest displays will be featured from time to time complementing our history and heritage offerings.

Kawatiri River Trail

The Kawatiri River Trail starts under the Buller River Bridge as you drive into town. The trail heads towards town through beautiful bush alongside the river, providing users with a unique perspective on the town’s major waterway. It exits the bush at the start of the wharves, and at this point heads across the railway lines to Palmerston Street (the main shopping street). Keep heading north along Palmerston St to the fishing wharves, from where the Floating Basin Boardwalk can be seen across the harbour. Head to the end of the wharves, drop down into the carpark / picnic area, and access the boardwalk behind the old Yacht Club sheds.

Once across the floating basin there is a short circuit (Harbour Loop) which provides stunning views of the town, river and mountains and some great photography opportunities. For those wanting to go further afield, turn right off the boardwalk and head alongside the Lost Lagoon to Shingles Beach, a small sand beach on the Buller River. The trail continues from here towards the beach, the river mouth, and the meandering tracks of Kawatiri Beach Reserve. Stop for a swim before heading back to town the way you came.

Campgrounds and Parks near Westport


Theatre Royal Hotel Kumara

Step back into yesteryear when The Theatre Royal Hotel attracted visiting troupes and entertainers from all across the world!

Built in 1876, at the beginning of the Kumara gold rush, the Hotel was the meeting, entertaining and playing place for the miners who had arrived in Kumara, from all around the world. The first owners were Annie and Otto Anderson. Otto was from Scandinavia and Annie from Germany. Prior to the first church being built, confirmations were held in the Hotel. A thirty metre theatre was added and travelling shows would come from England and America to perform. The famous New Zealand poet, Thomas Bracken, was a popular guest performer. Richard John Seddon was often known to take to the stage and sing.

Dancing girls were employed to “dance” with the miners. One of the rooms was sound-proofed, with walls lined with sawdust, which was used when more than dancing was required. When the gold was being struck, the message would be passed down to Annie to get the dancing girls ready, as “the boys were coming to town”.

When current owners Kerrie and Mark Fitzgibbon purchased the hotel in 2010 it was derelict, vandalised and in total disrepair. Two years were spent with local tradesmen working to restore and rebuild the old building, which holds many special memories for Coasters of today.

The Hotel was reopened in November 2012 and was presented with the HANZ Award for Excellence as the Best New/Redeveloped Accommodation Hotel in New Zealand in 2013. The Hotel has since been awarded the HANZ Award for Excellence as New Zealand’s Best Country Hotel in 2014 and again in 2015.

If you are on the West Coast don’t miss the opportunity to stop in for a drink, a meal, or spend the night! The staff will happily show you around and tell the tales of times gone by.

The walls contain many stories.

Visit Theatre Royal Hotel Kumara

Rainforest Retreat Holiday Park

Immerse yourself in the spectacular mountains and bush of New Zealand’s West Coast. Rainforest Retreat is a unique destination with varied options to suit the budgets and needs of all travellers.

Nestled in six acres of idyllic native bush, centrally located in the heart of Franz Josef Village, Rainforest Holiday Park offers a range of accommodation options.

On site facilities include Monsoon Bar & Restaurant with great tunes, cozy fireplace, cheap drinks and meal deals, hot bubbling spa pools, sauna, pool tables, BBQ area, internet access, laundry facilities. linen hire, waste station, children's playground and Sky Digital TV. Plus large, modern communal facilities blocks with TV lounge, commercial kitchen, spotless well equipped bathrooms and vending machines.

Visit Rainforest Retreat Holiday Park

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