Seek Adventure: 6 Best Things To Do In Westport, NZ

things to do in westport nz
| 3 min read

New Zealand is known for its beautiful scenery and local history, making it the perfect place for adventurous souls. There is no better place to experience that than in Westport. Located on the west coast of the South Island, Westport is a small town with big character. A four-hour drive from Christchurch, Westport is worth the trip. A former mining town with Maori roots, Westport is home to a number of activities that will make your New Zealand experience unforgettable. The warmest months are undoubtedly in New Zealand’s summer (November to March), but you can still do these activities in the winter. Just bring a warm coat along!

1. Take some surfing classes

Learn to surf from a professional
Source: Pixabay

Located just 15 kilometers (9 miles) south of Westport is Tauranga Bay, home of West Coast Surf. Start your day on the beach watching the waves roll in and the ocean stretched out in front of you, with rocks protruding far out in the bay, as you learn the basics of surfing. At 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. every day, they offer starter packs, perfect for beginners.

If you already have some surfing experience, you can join the pro-pack class which provides tips, a wetsuit, and a surfboard. If you are a seasoned pro, West Coast Surf can provide you with a wetsuit and a surfboard. Make sure to bring your lunch along or grab some grub at the local ‘Bay House Cafe.’ Or, make this a full-day excursion and bring your hiking boots to trek to the local seal colony just north of the beach. Ride the waves all day with this easy and inexpensive way to seek adventure!

West Coast Surf

Address: 299 Tauranga Bay Rd, 7892 Cape Foulwind, New Zealand

Price: from 60 USD (surfboard and wetsuit full day hire), 63 USD (starter pack) and 90 USD (pro pack)

Website: West Coast Surf

2. Do a tasting at the local brewery

Source: Photo by user New Zealand Defen... used under CC BY 2.0

In the heart of Westport lies West Coast Brewing, a charming spot to taste a variety of local brews. In tune with the local vibe, West Coast’s beers are all locally and naturally made. You can make your way there after a day of adventure for a couple beers on tap, or contact them via their website before you go to book a tour of the brewery itself and learn about brewing culture on the South Island! Whether you’re looking to try a Punakaiki Pilsner or the Franz Josef Caramel Ale, West Coast is a fun place to spend an afternoon and learn about the local brew.

West Coast Brewery

Address: 10 Lyndhurst Street, Westport, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

Website: West Coast Brewery

3. Bike the Old Ghost Road

The Lyell Range seen from The Old Ghost Road trail
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bobby Ketchum used under CC0

The Old Ghost Road is a slice of adventurer heaven. A forgotten miner’s trail that was transformed into a biking and hiking trail, you can spend half a day, a full, or even complete a four-day adventure on Old Ghost Road. At 85 kilometers (53 miles) in length, this trail can be done in a day on a mountain bike, or take your time and spend a night or two on a tent site (two people), at a private summer sleep out (up to four people), or in a communal hut bunk (one person).

This is a great activity to do individually, or make it a group adventure and bring along some friends. You’ll spend your time biking through a variety of environments, including valleys, river gorges, and mountains. Experience New Zealand at its finest, and immerse yourself in nature on the Old Ghost Trail.

Old Ghost Road

Website: Old Ghost Road

4. Partake in Johnny's Journey

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

One of the most sought-after and unique tours in Westport, this tour takes you through the Awakari Valley, land privately owned by Johnny Currie. Johnny will guide you across the land where you will observe pancake rock formations, wild red deer local to the area, and an ancient Maori cave along with his commentary on the local history. The natural surroundings of the rainforest are truly amazing, making the five to six-hour tour fly by in no time at all. This tour is done in a vehicle that takes you across the varied terrain, stopping at certain points to explore the area. We recommend the early morning tour (7 a.m.), as you’re more likely to see the various wildlife.

Johnny's Journey

Address: Westport i-SITE Visitor Centre, 123-125 Palmerston Street, 7825 Westport

Price: from 110 USD (150 NZD)

Website: Johnny’s Journey

5. Learn about the local history

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Spend an afternoon learning about local history at the Coaltown Museum located in downtown Westport. The museum will take you through the diverse history of Westport in five sections: mining, maritime history, transport, local communities, and unionism. This small museum is definitely worth a walkthrough as the best way to understand the area’s economic rise and fall.

Coaltown Museum

Address: 123 Palmerston St, Westport, New Zealand

Price: from 7.50 USD (10 NZD)

Website: Coaltown Museum

6. Retrace the steps of miners

Mountain Bike On Denniston Plateau, Westport, New Zealand
Source: Photo by Flickr user TRAILSOURCE.COM used under CC BY 2.0

With the historic Cape Foulwind Walkway closed indefinitely, a great way to trace the steps of the historic miners is through the Denniston Plateau tour. This guided tour takes you through five historical locations of the Denniston Plateau, starting in Westport and making its way across the Plateau over five hours. This tour will not only inform you of the extensive mining history of the area but provide phenomenal views of the coastline.

Denniston Plateau

Address: Westport i-SITE Visitor Centre, 123-125 Palmerston Street, 7825 Westport

Price: from 95 USD (130 NZD)

Website: Denniston Plateau

Endless possibilities on the coast

Westport offers a unique mixture of history and adventure, welcoming those who want to learn more about the local history while they explore its natural wonders. The ocean views, rocky cliffs, mining tracks, and beautiful greenery mixed in with the eclectic local culture make Westport an excellent destination to explore.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our Privacy Policy for more information on how we use your data

Emma Fingler is a travel enthusiast, novel writer, and political junkie. Fascinated by all cultures, religions and political landscapes, Emma is constantly researching a new topic, and expanding...Read more

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Westport
Good things are meant to be shared!