Buller District Council

About Buller

The Buller District is a beautiful place. With an enviable climate, laid-back lifestyle, and friendly community vibe, the Buller District is a great place to live, work, and visit.

Covering 8,574 square kilometres, the district boasts two national parks, one forest park, and two heritage areas, all offering the opportunity to experience peace and tranquility or excitement and adventure. Our district is unbeatable in its diversity.

From sea to alpine Buller has it all photo by Richard Rossiter

Stretching from Punakaiki in the south to Karamea in the north, and inland as far as Springs Junction, the district is home to a population of just over 9,500.

The Buller District Council is the territorial authority for the northern West Coast. The Council’s goal is to promote the well-being of its local communities. It has a wide range of responsibilities under the Local Government Act.


Westport is the West Coast’s second biggest town and Buller’s commercial and administration centre. Situated on the mouth of the mighty Buller Kawatiri river, it is home to around 5,000 residents. Westport has a commercial port and airport, with daily flights to and from the capital city, Wellington.

Westports focus on major industry has shifted in recent years. While Bathurst Resources Ltd is one of the largest employers in our community, a lot more focus and community drive is being put towards tourism and horticulture. Westport is forever growing, changing and adapting to the needs of our District.

Westport is the perfect place to base yourself to explore the Buller District. Whether you are looking for relaxation, amazing scenery and great food, or a thrill packed action adventure, Westport has something for you. Born from the rush for gold and later coal, the area still has coal mining running through its veins.

Westport Tiphead photo by Richard Rossiter


A two-hour drive north from Westport is Karamea. A popular tourist destination, Karamea boasts the spectacular Oparara basin with its limestone arches and caves and the Kahurangi National Park with the famous Heaphy Track. The close community of around 650 people supports horticulture, dairy farming, and tourism industries.

Oparara Arches photo by Nimmo Gallery

The area is packed with opportunity to experience the wonder of the environment. Walking, tramping, mountain biking, caving, fishing – it doesn’t matter if you are looking to fill an hour or a week, the small community of Karamea welcomes travellers seeking the road less ordinary.

Photo by Richard Rossiter


An hours drive from Westport, Reefton is located at the heart of the magnificent Victoria Forest Park. Founded in the 1860s with the discovery of the nearby goldfields, Reefton became the first town in the southern hemisphere to have a public supply of electricity in 1888. The strong population of over 1,500 cherish the town’s historic past and the township features many heritage buildings.

Reefton offers a raft of walks, historic sites, and on and off-road driving opportunities. If you don’t feel like venturing off the beaten track, check out the Miners Hut on the main street for a real mining experience!

Historic Reefton photo by Nimmo Photography


Nestled at the foot of the Paparoa National Park, the small coastal town of Punakaiki is home to around 70 full-time residents. Midway between Westport and Greymouth (an easy 40-minute drive), Punakaiki is one of the most visited conservation areas in New Zealand.

Punakaiki offers the opportunity to enjoy craft shops, cafes, and some amazing beachside accommodation. One of the most popular attractions is the Punakaiki pancake rocks and blowholes walk. A short 20-minute loop walk, it is one of the most accessible tracks available and is suitable for wheelchairs and prams. The blowholes are most spectacular when the sea is rough, but the dramatic views of the rock systems and the township of Punakaiki are worth a visit even on the calmest of days.

World-famous Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki

Find out more about Buller:

District Map
Moving to Buller
Freedom Camping in Buller


Live Cam