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West Port - West Coast, New Zealand


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Is steeped in history and has ever-changing scenery with its rugged beaches, untamed rivers and gentle streams.

Historical mining sites in the area include Coaltown; a visit to Coaltown Museum will help you imagine life as it was for New Zealand's pioneering coal miners as you walk through a simulated underground coal mine.

Just 15 minutes from downtown Westport is the village of Waimangaroa - the gateway to the historic settlement of Denniston, located 600 metres above sea level with sweeping vistas of Westport and the surrounding landscape.

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Denniston was established in the 1800s by coal miners working on the Burnett's Face, Ironbridge and Coalbrookdale mines. Originally, the only access up 'the hill' was the steep bridle path, or a heart-stopping ride in a coal wagon up the incline. It's arduous and often treacherous access meant that many of the early settlers came down from 'The Hill' as they called it only once a year - some, particularly women, not for a decade or more. Today, shingle roads linking the original settlements provide vehicle access across the plateau. The remnant relics, mine sites, rope roads and townships remain as an evocative reminder of one of the har shest and most unforgiving environments in which to live. The plunge from the head of the incline is a view not to be missed. Life in the early days in Denniston is the subject of the book 'Denniston Rose', available in all bookstores.

Stockton and Millerton mines are also in the area.

Visit the seal colony at Cape Foulwind just eight kilometres south of Westport and then enjoy a coffee or a meal at the Bayhouse Cafe overlooking Tauranga Bay. The walk along the coastline from the seal colony to the lighthouse also is a easy to moderate walk with great coastal views.

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Just twenty minutes south of Westport lies the historic gold mining township of Charleston where you can explore the gold-workings or ride the Nile River Rainforest Train.

Charleston is also famous for its Glow Worm Cave Tour with Nor'West Adventures. A walking tour through one of New Zealand's largest caves will enthrall you with the wonderful glow worm displays, stalactites and stalagmites or take the cave tubing trip for even more fun and adventure. For more excitement there's jet boating, surfing, mountain biking, whitewater rafting and Argo 8-weel drive tours, horse trekking and kayaking.

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The West Coast