Westport is the name of the town that was a western port of New Zealand. The town was born out of the coal and gold mining industries. Coal in particular. Westport has had a colourful history of which there is an abundance. History is on display everywhere in Westport. The Museum at Westport is a must visit that gives a really great insight in days past. Shipping in particular.
Westport is currently suffering the impacts of ‘green’ global decisions more than most. The town, as so Greymouth is sitting on rich reserves of fine grade coal that can’t be touched.
Westport is located 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 to the south, and with Nelson in the northeast, via the Buller Gorge. The seal colony and Tauranga are nearby and are worth the excursion.
The first white settlers came to Westport in 1861 as gold miners and while gold brought initial interest the area soon became much more famous for coal mining, still a dominant concern in the region today.
The first railway of the area was being built as early as 1874, extending from Westport up to 18 km to the coal fields that serviced the then busy ports. Westport boasts a number of hotels that thus far survived the history.
Westport as a town and history is a must visit, and to allow for Karamea and Denniston allow a minimum of two days.