Hike or bike The Old Ghost Road, watch seals play in the waves and go whitewater rafting on the mighty Buller River in this coastal town of the South Island.
Westport is the gateway to the North West Coast and is surrounded by a wide range of awe-inspiring nature, from the Buller River beside it to the Paparoa Range behind it.
The town is about 1.5 hours north of Greymouth by car and has about 4,000 residents. The main attraction here is the nature directly surrounding the town. Set out on foot along the Kawatiri River Trail and to the Kawatiri Beach Reserve. Many of the tracks were finished in early 2017 to provide better views of the river, wetlands and beach and the abundant birdlife that flocks here.
Head west of town to the dramatic Cape Foulwind, named so by explorer James Cook in 1770 after his ship was blown offshore. Hike along the well-maintained Cape Foulwind Walkway to the Cape Foulwind Seal Colony viewing area. Spot flightless weka birds, which can often be seen on the path and keep scanning the ocean for jumping dolphins.
Experience one of New Zealand's best-kept secrets by hiking or biking along The Old Ghost Road. This much-praised multi-day trail takes adventurers across soaring peaks and through moss-covered forests along tracks that cling to the mountain slopes. One-day adventure tours are available too, even one that drops you off by helicopter halfway along the trail with your bike.
Keep your adrenaline flowing by rafting or jet boating through Buller Gorge. For a more sedate experience, drive along Hawk’s Crag beside the river or take a walk over the Buller Gorge Swingbridge.
Finish off back in town by sampling a craft beer at the small West Coast Brewery. This gives you a chance to appreciate what humans can make with nature, while reflecting back on the untamed nature that abounds in this spectacular area.