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Drive Greymouth to Westport

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Greymouth to Westport
West Coast Self Drive Travel Guide.

Travel Information  Travel Facts
Distance: 97 km (60 miles)
Approximately: 1 Hours 20 minutes
Road Conditions: State Highway 6

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FuelPlease Note:
Greymouth is your last chance to top up the fuel tank if needed before heading north to Westport. There are no fuel stops between Greymouth and Westport on the Coast Road.

Greymouth - Punakaiki - Charleston - Cape Foulwind - Westport

From Greymouth driving north on State Highway 6, the Coast Road brings us to the classic mining town of Runanga. Set between the Paparoa and Rapahoe Ranges there are several state mines in the vicinity.

Coal Creek Falls
Coal Creek Falls.

Along the way you will pass "On Yer Bike" where much fun can be had riding the muddy trails on 4x4 bikes or karts.

The monument at the southern approach to Runanga commemorates two men murdered during a 1917 payroll robbery. The township also offers an interesting walk to nearby glorious Coal Creek Falls.

Coal Creek Falls Access:
From the State Highway in Runanga turn right into Seddon Street and then right again on to Ballance Street. Follow the AA signs from here.

This is an easy walking track through beech and podocarp forest. The round trip will take about 60 minutes.


Coast Highway
At Rapahoe ... the road meets the rugged coast.

The road north to Punakaki is breathtaking. White capped breakers and rugged rocks on one side, bush-clad mountains on the other side.

At Rapahoe north of Greymouth, the road North meets the rugged coast, providing spectacular views and photo opportunities of wild beaches and the tempestuous Tasman Sea all the way through to Punakaiki.

Approximately 9 miles north you come to the 9 Mile One Lane Bridge, the entrance and exit to this are steep and winding roads with tight corners, please take care. Slow down and be prepared to stop.

Although travelling north you have the right of way over the bridge, this is only yours if the road is clear.


Greymouth - Punakaiki - Charleston - Cape Foulwind - Westport

Punakaiki is famous for its pancake rocks and blow holes.


The centrepiece of the Paparoa National Park, the area is packed with a variety of stunning landscapes and offers many excellent coastal or inland walks among the many other attractions and adventures.

Seeing the Rocks and Blowholes is an experience you will remember, especially if the Tasman is a bit moody and the three blowholes are in action.

The blowholes are caused by the incoming tidal surge bursting through rock funnels and chasms that are said to date back about 30 million years being created by layers of limestone, overlaid by rock and clay. When the tide is right, and the sea is rough the blow holes are truely spectacular as the Tasman booms through them.

From Punakaiki the Scenic Drive continues following the coast line before winding round the Coastal ranges returning to the Coast briefly at Charleston.


Greymouth - Punakaiki - Charleston - Cape Foulwind - Westport

Constant Bay, Charleston
Constant Bay, Charleston

At Charleston, formerly a prosperous gold town, you can arrange underground rafting and cave exploring trips on the Nile River. It is hard to imagine that in it's hay day the township boasted over 80 hotels, a hospital and three banks.

The limestone caves on the nearby Nile river offer a unique Underworld Rafting experience. There are also the RainForest Train, Glow Worm Tours and Gold Mine walks to be investigated in the area.

Then it's back on the road and north west to Tauranga Bay and Cape Foulwind. To visit the Seal Colony at Tauranga Bay (14kms) on Cape Foulwind (13kms), take the left turn onto Wilsons Lead Road, the turning is well sign posted so you cannot miss it.


Greymouth - Punakaiki - Charleston - Cape Foulwind - Westport

Cape Foulwind Walkway
Tauranga Bay, Cape Foulwind Walkway

At the Cape we strap on the walking shoes to investigate the Walkway and Seal colony.

The Cape Foulwind Walkway is an easy to moderate walk that can take 30 minutes or 3 hours to cover the full walk.

Features include, the breeding Seal Colony, Lighthouse and spectacular coastal scenery. Which is all awesome even on an over cast day.

From here the journey is a short but interesting drive to Carters Beach, a good West Coast swimming spot before completing the journey to Westport.


The largest town in the Northern Buller Region of the Coast, Westport is known as a coal mining town and a base for outdoor adventures.

The local coal mining museum is a good place to learn more of the history of the town and region while experiencing the reality of being down the mine.

Westport Municipal Building
Westport Municipal Building

At the mouth of the mighty Buller River, the township can righfully boast as being the first port of the Coast.

Founded in June of 1861 by an adventerous storekeeper Ruben Waite, who established a small permanent settlement after exploring Buller. Waite latter helped in the establishment of Greymouth.

There are numerous side trips to be enjoyed in the region, and awesome adventures to be had on the Lower and Upper Buller enjoy your stay.


Welcome to Westport - enjoy your stay

This Guide Last Updated September 2010.


Driving Distance and Times


O The distances and times within the Travel Guides are based on travel at an average of 80 to 90kmph in good weather and light to medium traffic, allowing for a break of 10 minutes from driving in each full hour.

Allow extra time for:
Sight seeing, Heavier traffic conditions, Inclement weather and any other needs you have.

There are many factors beyond the authors and our control that can and will impact upon the true distance travelled and time taken to complete any journey.

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