When returning your rental vehicle to one of our locations please ensure to re-fuel your hire car to the agreed level.
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A flight number is mandatory when picking up a car from Westport Airport. W meet pre-reserved hires of commercial flight arrivals only. No walk-ins accepted.
Arriving in Westport Airport from the cool Kiwi capital of Wellington, to the rugged West Coast corner of New Zealand, you’ll notice a change in the air. The climate becomes considerably wetter, the pace more relaxed, and the feeling far more remote. Next to better-known Hokitika and Greymouth (100-kilometres south), Westport is sometimes overlooked. But canny travellers are catching on fast to the sheer wealth of raw beauty, with its vast amounts of untamed nature to explore.
Surrounded by national parks, an explosion of wilderness tracks, gorges, lush native forests, fast-flowing rivers, the open sea and spectacular natural attractions; Westport provides ample opportunities for outdoor adventures everywhere you look. It’s a great base to indulge in some of your favourite pursuits. Wildlife spotting, white-water rafting, caving, jet boating, mountain biking, surfing and hiking. Just some of the compelling reasons you’ll want to stay awhile in Westport! Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy all the mod-cons of a thriving town, including delicious eateries, award-winning breweries and a swag of good galleries. And to round off the perfect package, Westport also comes with a laidback, welcoming vibe. From coffee to friendly cafes, it’s easy to refuel here.
If your plan is to get off the beaten track and restore your spirits in the wilderness, take the stunning road-trip 90-minutes north towards Karamea and Kahurangi National Park. Getting there involves one of the finest coastal drives you can experience, turning the wheels over all-sealed surfaces as you approach the spectacular views at the Bluff. This is one journey not to miss. Just imagine rafting wild rivers and exploring heritage-listed caves with fossilised moa remains, or encountering the Powelliphanta (a carnivorous snail). You’ll love discovering the superb diversity of landscapes: from alpine fields to coastal forests, the Honeycomb Hill Caves and the must-see Oparara Basin Arches, glaciated peaks to the oldest rocks. We recommend the Heaphy Track that heads from the roaring West Coast into expansive wilderness. Your hire car can get you to the best secluded places and to lush green wonderlands you’ve only dreamed of. Your big adventure starts at Westport Airport, and the road is your oyster!
Westport sits at the mouth of the mighty Buller River, the oldest settlement on the West Coast. It once shared a rich gold mining heritage with a string of towns in the area that has long since faded. Today, coal has become Westport’s ‘black gold’ in a thriving town of over 4,000 locals. Visit the popular Coaltown Museum to catch a simulated glimpse of a miner’s life working below ground. For a truly immersive attraction, jump on board the Denniston Experience and you’ll be able to see the historic mines and abandoned machinery littering the plateau. The train ride takes you along an old transport route above the stunning Waimangaroa Gorge, ending with a state-of-the-art simulation of an 1880s coal mine.
Westport’s heritage remains intact in the mining relics and tramway lines (both wooden and rusted metal) still etched into the landscape. You can follow the tracks of yore through tunnels, past milling and mine sites, as you hike or bike the Charming Creek Walkway. Cross the swing bridge over stunning Ngakawau Gorge, surrounded by lush bushland, before you arrive at the beautiful Mangatini Falls.
At Paparoa National Park, an easy drive to Westport’s south-east, you’ll encounter dramatic gorges, sculptured ridges, river canyons and unique rock formations. The famous Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki are a stunning coastal sight and the blowholes a thrilling feature. The Ballroom Overhang is another amazing natural formation – a large limestone outcrop that provides shelter or a place to camp overnight. Paparoa is also home to the Nile River Caves and its magical glow-worm residents, who you meet as you float through its dark tunnels and caverns. The Fox River Caves are another site well worth exploring. Above ground, the Pororari River invites you to take a kayak journey to experience the birdlife and serene ambience of the park.
Just a stone’s throw from Westport Airport is Cape Foulwind – named by Captain Cook after a bad day with the weather. Regarded as one of New Zealand’s best short walks, this scenic headland takes in wonderful coastal and mountain panoramas, with cliffs and a lighthouse in view. The highlight is the fur seal colony, but you may be lucky enough to spot orcas, dolphins and blue penguins here as well. With the wealth of natural treasures around Westport, it’s little wonder that the West Coast is referred to as ‘New Zealand’s best kept secret’.