Westport — a bustling town perched between a dramatic coastline, hill country and mountain ranges — is the perfect base ‘camp’ for the many walking and hiking trails throughout the surrounding Buller district.
Take a short walk, follow a hiking trail or a tramping track to discover wild seascapes and rivers, gentle rainforests, deep canyons and curious wildlife, or learn about days gone by on heritage trails to historic landmarks.
Dramatic coastal headland, NZ fur seals and lighthouse
An easy walk from sheltered Tauranga Bay leads to viewing platforms overlooking the seal colony. The track continues along the cliff top to the historic Cape Foulwind lighthouse.
Heritage trail, coastal wilderness, wildlife, wetlands
This new family-friendly trail for cyclists and walkers will soon connect Westport with Charleston via Carters Beach, Cape Foulwind and Tauranga Bay. Three sections are fully open with completion of six more sections during 2023/24.
Forest and river trail to a lagoon and swimming beach
Walk (or bike) through a beautiful bush reserve, then follow the Buller-Kawatiri River to the fishing port and over a boardwalk to great views of Westport, the river and mountains. An optional loop track continues to a lagoon and beach.
Coastal rock formations, ocean views
Charleston was once a busy gold mining community based around picturesque Constant Bay. The short loop walk above the historic harbour and stony beach leads to dramatic views of the ocean pounding against rocky cliffs.
Circuit through an abandoned mining settlement
Walk back 100 years on the Denniston Plateau (18km northeast of Westport) on a short loop track through the once infamous 19th century coal mining settlement where families eked out a precarious living in extreme conditions.
Coal mining relics, dramatic views from top of Denniston Incline
Check out the remains of the infamous Denniston Incline — once known as the 8th engineering wonder of the world — with its heart-stopping downhill tracks and breathtaking views across the coastal plains to the Tasman Sea.
Historic coal mining tunnels and relics
Follow the historic cable-car rope road that carried coal from the mines to the top of the Denniston Incline. Relics include tunnels, foundations, a haulage winch and New Zealand’s best remaining example of a mine fanhouse.
An uphill forest track, an abandoned gold mine
An old pack track climbs steadily through varied forest of rātā, rimu and kahikatea to the abandoned Britannia gold mine, complete with an impressive five-head quartz crushing battery and ancillary mining relics.
Uphill bush walk, coal mining relics, magnificent views
Nobody lives here any more but the infamous Denniston Plateau is still flush with old coal mining relics and the remains of the 19th century coal mining settlement. The steep bush walk up the old bridle path (the only access in days past) leads to the top of the renowned gravity-powered Denniston Incline and magnificent views of the coast below.
Bush tramway route to historic mines and sawmills, Mangatini Falls
Walk along an abandoned bush tramway through a forested gorge to spectacular views of the 25-metre high Mangatini Falls. Pass through old railway tunnels, over bridges, past the relics of old coal mines and sawmills.
An old gold miners’ trail, 21 bridges, 4 ghost towns
In Kahurangi National Park, this epic backcountry adventure travels through forested valleys, along steep alpine ridges, beside roaring rivers, via ghost towns and multiple bridges, between the rugged Upper Buller Gorge and coastal plains north of Westport.