Explore Northern West Coast

Spend the day with Explore West Coast heading up the Great Coast Road stopping in at Punakaiki and the famous Pancake Rocks, travel up to Westport stopping along the way for photos. Time for lunch in Westport before going to the Coal Town Museum, Denniston mine site and Seal Colony.

Punakaiki Blow Holes & Pancake Rocks

The limestone formation driven by wild West Coast weather over millions of years. Stacked rocks looking like pancakes with the sea water forced up through blow holes formed in between the stacked rocks. This short loop walk offers magnificent views out to ocean, keep an eye out for Hector Dolphins. Look over into the surge pool if you dare! The first part of the walk is easily accessible and wheelchair friendly with good interpretation panels of the area. Follow the path on further, down stairs and around rock formations as you make your way around the track and back up to the carpark. A camera is an essential item for this natural wonder.


Situated near the mouth of the Buller River, Westport is the Northern West Coast’s largest town and offers a range of services you’d expect from a larger centre, including an airport. Dine, wine or enjoy a movie! Its central location makes it an ideal place from which to explore the surrounding area – whether its north for arts and crafts, west for surf and seals, south for the fascinating limestone landscapes of the Paparoa National Park, or east for gold and history.

Coal Town Museum

The various displays focus on the formation of coal, maritime history, unionism, the communities, transport and the men underground. It is a colourful and modern museum that brings the past to life and links the past to the present. A simulated underground mine will give you an insight into the working conditions of the miners.

Denniston Plateau

For many decades Denniston was New Zealand’s largest producing coal mine. It is Category 1 Historic Place.

In its time Denniston was one of the most isolated and difficult mining towns to live in the country. The current road was built in 1902, with the first access being either up a steep pack track or in a coal wagon up the Incline.

The fact that former inhabitants remember it fondly, and that people still choose to live there, speaks volumes for its past social values and enduring mystique.

Seal Colony

New Zealand’s most accessible seal colonies can be found just out of Westport on the edge of Tauranga Bay.

The 10 -minute track from the car park leads to viewing platforms directly overlooking the colony.

Several of our early explorers have had fun naming Cape Foulwind. In 1642 Abel Tasman the Dutch navigator called it Clyppygen Hoeck (Rocky Corner); Captain Cook an early English explorer, less than impressed with the wind which prevented him from landing, called it FoulWind. In 1827 the French Dumont Durville called it Les Trois Cloches (the Three Steeples).

Allow a full day, minimum booking of two people required for this tour to run.

Child age 14 and under, children must be accompanied by a paying adult.

Bookings are essential

Contact Greymouth i-SITE

Email: info@westcoasttravel.co.nz

Phone: 0800 GREYMOUTH