The Guide to Westport on a Budget©
The Guide to Westport on a Budget

The Travel Guide to Westport on a Budget


A Budget Travel Guide to Westport

Welcome to the West Coast! Most travellers’ journeys through the West Coast begin with the northern town of Westport. This small town has a proud mining heritage, the remains of which make an interesting feature of hiking the trails around the area or to learn more about in the town’s museum. Nevertheless, mining isn’t the most exciting for some, so if art galleries or perhaps cute seals are more your thing, there are some cool attractions with those too.

Plan your budget trip complete with cheap accommodation, budget activities and cheap eats with this travel guide to Westport on a budget.

Budget Tips for Westport

  • While there aren’t huge savings to be made between seasons, you’ll find more tours running in summer (October to April)
  • Westport is easy to get around on bike or on foot, but some of the out-of-town attractions will require for you to have your own transport
  • Stay in self-catering accommodation to save money on food – there are New World and FreshChoice supermarkets in the town centre
  • Stay in one of the budget hostels for the cheapest room prices – they’re pretty good in Westport
  • For private accommodation, check out the cabins at the holiday parks or one of the cheap hotels
  • Freedom camping is allowed on North Beach as long as you have a certified self-contained campervan
  • Complete your Westport itinerary with the free and cheap things to do.

For more general budget tips, check out the 11 Ways to Save Money When Backpacking in New Zealand.

The Guide to Westport on a Budget©

Free Activities in Westport

Westport might be a small town but its rich in natural wonders and historical attractions that are free to experience. One of the highlights is the Cape Foulwind Walkway, a 1h15min easy-going walk along clifftops with a lighthouse and a seal colony. Alternatively, if you don’t mind travelling further afield, the Charming Creek Walkway is an epic walk with waterfalls and mining relics. Learn more about Westports walks, all of which are free to do, in the 9 Best Walks in Westport.

For something more relaxing, Westport has a few quaint art galleries worth discovering. The Whanake Gallery & Espresso Bar teams up great coffee with the artwork of a local artist and photographer focussing on the West Coast’s natural beauty. Alternatively, the Art Hotel is not only a budget accommodation in Westport but an attraction in itself. Check out their dedicated contemporary art exhibition space.

For a bit of a road trip from Westport, head north to the fascinating historical site of the Denniston Plateau. Several walks in the area lead to all sorts of interesting nooks between the Denniston Incline and its amazing views to the long-forgotten coal trucks and railways abandoned in this once-bustling mining area. Check out the walks available here, and see other 10 Interesting Historical Places on the West Coast

For more free activities, like a Buller Gorge road trip or the Kawatiri River Trail, see the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Westport.

The Guide to Westport on a Budget©

Cheap Activities in Westport

Sure, some attractions around Westport have an admission fee but most of them won’t set you back too far, like the Coaltown Museum! Whether you’re a history enthusiast or not, the sight of the giant eight-ton coal truck perched in the centre of the exhibition is an impressive sight. Delving into the mock-up mining tunnel and seeing all of the equipment the miners used to use is also pretty cool, especially as it’s only around NZ$10 entry.

On your way in or out of Westport, don’t miss the Buller Gorge Swingbridge, the longest swingbridge in New Zealand and providing access to some stunning bushwalks. Crossing the bridge over the dramatic scenery of the Buller River and doing the walks costs around NZ$10 per adult. You can also hire a goldpan for around NZ$12 to try your luck at not having to use our budget travel guides anymore!

Finally, another cool cheap thing to do is in Charleston. The Nile River Rainforest Ride is operated by Underworld Adventures and takes you deep into the forest of the Paparoa National Park. See spectacular limestone and granite cliffs on this train journey reminiscent of the old bush trams that once worked the area. The experience is around NZ$25 per adult.

For more cheap activities like mini golf, check out the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Westport.

The Guide to Westport on a Budget©

Cheap Eats in Westport

Everyone’s got to eat but it doesn’t have to be too expensive in Westport! If you want to try the local eats, head to Black Shark Takeaway & Cafe (232 Palmerston Street) for Kiwi fish and chips or Grumpys Takeaways (Corner Cobden and Derby Street) to try the West Coast’s famous whitebait fritters.

There’s also no lack of cafes in Westport, such as Katrin’s (15 Rintoul Street) specialising in German and Dutch treats including homemade bread, German coffee, Curry-Wurst, Bratwurst, Haribo and German butchery products, as well as Dutch cheeses. Gibby Cafe (194 Palmerston Street) is also a popular option serving the usual Kiwi cafe suspects including savoury pies.

Finally, a decent Indonesian feed can be found at Gado Gado (298 Palmerston Street) for a large range of Asian favourites as well as the odd real-fruit ice cream, burgers and coffee.

More About Westport

That’s it from the travel guide to Westport on a budget. Check out even more money-saving tips in The Travel Guide to New Zealand on a Budget.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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