The Buller River

West Coast, New Zealand

 

The Pancake Rocks and Blowholes

Punakaiki, New Zealand

 

Cape Foulwind

Seal Colony

 

Pancake Rocks

Punakaiki

 

Coal Mining

West Coast

 

The Buller River

Hawks Crag

 

Beach at Punakaiki

West Coast, New Zealand

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Local Attractions Around Westport.

There is plenty of unique local attractions in the Buller region!

Cape Foulwind Seal Colony

One of New Zealand’s most accessible seal colonies, not far from Westport on the rocks of Tauranga Bay; and only 15 minutes drive from River Garden Retreat. The 10-minute walk from the car park is suitable for wheelchairs and leads to viewing platforms directly overlooking the large, year round seal colony. The path continues on to provide a 45 minute to 1 hour walk, also with spectacular views of Tauranga Bay, the Tasman Sea, The Steeples rocks, limestone cliffs and historic quarries and finishes at the Cape Foulwind Lighthouse.

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The Pancake Rocks and Blowholes

Only a 30 minute drive from River Garden Retreat you can gaze in wonder at Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks and Blowholes, where columns of water shoot skyward from rocks that resemble giant stacks of pancakes. Located at Dolomite Point, the Pancake Rocks walkway is a loop track that winds from the main road, through the native rainforest, into flax and coastal vegetation as it nears the rugged coastline. Dolomite Point and its Pancake Rocks are predominantly limestone, worn and sculptured by the weather and sea, leaving unique stacks resembling pancakes layered on top of each other with deep sea chasms between.

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Coaltown Museum

The Buller District has a rich history that Coaltown Museum (re-opened in June 2013) is dedicated to telling the stories of the pioneers who battled our rugged environment in search of a better life.

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Local Activities:

Solid Energy Center

The Solid Energy Centre is the place to go both to relax or do some serious swimming. The 25m 8-lane lap pool, hydrotherapy pool with ramp and leisure/toddlers pool will ensure all your aquatic needs are taken care of. The fitness center has a variety of cardio equipment and resistance equipment to meet your needs. In addition to the major sporting options, the Solid Energy Centre has a variety of other facilities that are available for hire to the public. They include: a Hockey Turf, the Indoor Stadium, the Holcim Multipurpose Room, the Club Room, WestReef Squash Courts. Large Reception with light refreshments available.

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The Denniston Experience

Learn how life was like over 100 years ago as a miner on Denniston Plateau! Join the underground union experience tour for a truly unique and interactive mine experience. Take a train ride along the old coal transport road high above the dramatic Waimangaroa Gorge and 170 meters into the first of the historic 1880’s Denniston coal mines.

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Underworld adventures

Underworld Adventures was created to provide four distinct internationally acclaimed cave experiences: Underworld Rafting & The GlowWorm Cave Tours are adventures in one of NZ’s largest unmodified Cave Systems complete with spectacular Stalactites & Stalagmites creations & galaxies of GlowWorms that are unequalled on our planet. Adventure Caving is a full-on exploration style activity in a superb sporty active water cave complete with abseils,climbs,crawls and squeezes.

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Wild Rivers Rafting

Raft the legendary Buller River Earthquake Rapids, the section with the most whitewater in the breath taking Buller Gorge. Adventurers will experience plenty of white water action. Challenge yourself at the “swim” rapid and the optional 8 metre cliff jump.

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Birdwatchers Estuaries

It is birdwatchers’ and photographers’ paradise around here! There are several estuaries in and around the area with plenty bird life to watch and take photos of. There are over 40 bird species to spot including pied stilts, black swans, oyster catchers, blue herons, and occasionally a white heron. You can walk for miles, and follow small tidal inlets. View many birds and the night stars from River Garden Retreat.

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Charming Creek Walkway

We know you’ll love the Charming Creek Walkway it has an amazing bush scenery, the colour the smell and the sounds, and then there is the story of the Watson Brothers, two early Scottish settlers, who carved out the private railway the track is formed from.Their coal and timber operations ran from 1914 to 1958. Their memories are buried in the mining and railway relics along the way, with a swing bridge and two short tunnels thrown in for excitement and a sense of mystery.

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Truman Track

Just 30 minutes from River Garden Retreat you’ll find the Truman Track. Rated as one of the finest short tracks in New Zealand, this stunning track is a favourite of both locals and tourists. The short walk takes you through contrasting landscapes of rainforest, flax and barren sea cliffs, a short time later the track leads you down onto an incredibly scenic beach on the edge of the Tasman sea. A picturesque bay awaits you with a small waterfall and huge caverns where you can see the remains of fossilized creatures embedded into the cliff face.

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Denniston Plateau – 9 tracks for mountain biking!

Denniston is the perfect location for mountain biking, offering 9 exciting rides. Track surfaces vary from gravel roads to rocky tracks and some short walking sections. All circuits have sections of track that range from Grade 2 (easy) up to Grade 3 (intermediate). Take in the magnificent views as you pedal.

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The Old Ghost Road Mountain Biking

In the North West corner of the South Island of New Zealand a ghost is awakening. A long-forgotten gold miners’ road is being revived as a tramping and mountain biking track. Connecting the old dray road in the picturesque Lyell(Upper Buller Gorge) to the mighty Mokihinui River, then joining the Charming Creek Walkway and the Denniston Plateau, the 160km Old Ghost Road traverses virgin native forest, tussock tops, spectacular coastal escarpments and forgotten valleys.

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Fishing

Buller is a fisherman’s paradise. The Buller and its tributaries are one of the countries finest brown trout fisheries offering a diverse range of fishing for a large population of trout that often grow to trophy sizes. Fish from the many coastal beaches.

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Hunting

In the Buller area the department of conservation manages about 300,000ha of public conservation land between Punakaiki, the Buller Gorge and north to Kahurangi Point. The area includes Paparoa National Park and part of Kahurangi National Park.The area is extensively forested with large river valleys and low alpine areas. Some Valleys have maintained walkingtrack access and back country huts. There are remote places to explore with neither tracks, footbridges or huts.Hunting for red deer, goats, feral pigs is popular throughout much of the area. If you’re interested in hunting then let us know. Jim is one of NZ’s serving firearms instructors and a seasoned hunting guide,always looking for the next adventure!

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Wedding Venue

Weddings & Functions

The River Garden Retreat is the perfect venue to hold your next function from weddings to company retreats. We have a wide variety of packages…

Weddings Functions