Westport is a town of nearly four thousand people on the rugged West Coast of the South Island. It sits at the mouth of the Buller River, about a hundred kilometres north of Greymouth.
Westport is a town built on mining and forestry, and one of the best ways to appreciate that history is a visit to the Coaltown Museum, whose displays include a replica coalmine. After that you can take a guided heritage walk around the city.
These days the focus of the West Coast has turned to eco-tourism. In nearby Pararoa National Park, you can take a train on a narrow-gauge railway through the rainforest to a massive cave system that’s home to glow-worms. You can also try your hand at black-water rafting.
Westport is also handy to the Cape Foulwind Seal Colony. Here you’ll find purpose-built viewing platforms and plenty of information on the seals themselves and the hunting industry they once supported.