Hotels in Westport, New Zealand
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Westport: Worth Its Weight in Gold
Westport, NZ is a charming town situated at the mouth of Buller River, on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Its history is not lengthy, as this town only prospered after gold miners journeyed here in search of treasure in the 1860s. Even though the gold rush has ended, Westport continues to thrive due to the booming coal industry. Today, it is also a popular destination for outdoors enthusiasts thanks to its beautiful nature. Some popular activities here are white water and underground rafting, kayaking, and jet boating. The weather tends to be rainy most of the year, making February, the driest month, the most popular time to visit. Hotels are quite busy during this time, so making plans is a good idea if you plan on travelling then.
Put on Your Hardhats
Even though then “gold”-en years have passed, Westport still celebrates its history as a mining town to this day. Even now, there are many gold fossicking areas all around the city and tourists come from all over to experience the rush themselves. Gold quickly faded but mining never ceased to be part of the people. Instead, it changed its focus onto coal instead. A source of pride for the locals, coal mining helps this town thrive to this day. It should be no surprise to anyone that Westport opened the Coaltown Museum, solely dedicated to the history of coal mining in the Buller District. It’s an excellent pit stop for the entire family, and features interesting, informative exhibits. If you’re looking for a peaceful way to spend a couple hours in the afternoon, make sure to stop here. It is located next to the Visitor Centre near Victoria Square, a central part of town with lots of hotels. Another one of the most popular attractions near Westport is the Denniston Mine, located just north of the city. Built in 1880s, it’s a must-visit for travellers who are looking for a memorable holiday. Denniston Mine hosts a unique, interactive tour that begins with taking a mining train to the old mining town. Once there, you’ll enjoy an immersive experience of being a miner for a day, with hard hats and everything. Travellers highly recommend this tour.
Where the Wind Blows
About six miles west of downtown Westport lies Cape Foulwind, an incredible piece of Mother Nature’s architecture, and a major headland on the Tasman Sea. It was named by the famous Captain James Cook after his ship Endeavour almost suffered a crash due to the area’s “foul winds”. The area is now popular for its landscape and wildlife. The headland boasts a lovely coastal walkway with beautiful views and stunning scenery. The route takes just over an hour one way and is not a challenging one. Hold on to your hats though. As the name suggests, the area is quite windy. The trail begins at a lighthouse, and runs through to Tauranga Bay, which is home to a large fur seal colony, and is considered a highlight of the area. On your walk, you may also spot dolphins, whales, and orcas. Near the lighthouse, you will find a small business district where you can enjoy a lovely dinner after your walk. This area also offers many accommodation options, including hotels and B&Bs. On your way to the Cape, you can also enjoy a stop at Carters Beach, the only safe swimming beach on the west coast of NZ.
Buller Gorge is a popular destination for outdoors enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies. It is located about an hour-long drive from Westport, and a trendy attraction amongst tourists and locals alike. Swingbridge Adventure and Heritage Park offers many activities that will make your outdoorsy holiday far from average. While rafting and jetboating are the norm here, many visitors come to trek across the Buller Gorge Swing Bridge, the longest one in NZ. If that’s not exciting enough for you, you can zip line across instead. If you’re looking for something more peaceful, make sure to bring your hiking boots so you can explore the park’s many nature trails. For a fun family activity, you can also try your skills (or luck) and go gold panning.
Price rangefrom $39to $351
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