Westport Car Rental Deals
Big savings on car hire at Westport Airport
* Some rental car suppliers may charge a credit card fee for amounts payable on arrival.
Car Hire Options at Westport Airport
Car rental choices are very limited at Westport with very limited flights into this small provincial airport by Sounds Air. The airport car rental brands we offer are limited to Hertz and Thrifty.
If you're wanting more rental company options then consider picking up a rental car from either Greymouth or Hokitika where we have many more car rental brands available for your to choose from.
To maximise your savings it's a good idea to book your car early, especially for travel during peak periods. Just put your travel details into the Quote box at the top of the page to instantly compare a huge choice of vehicles at the very best prices.
Maximum Choice. Best Deals.
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Best deal we could find after looking at all the rental car websites.
Quick and easy
Best site to compare car rental prices and get the best offers
Easy, I had no problems at all. Prices seemed to be ok. I didn't check others. Definitely recommend.
Better prices and variety than going direct
Best car hire rate I could find. Recommended to a friend and she said same.
Very easy to use. Really good specials for a run around car. Would recommend.
Easy to compare the different rental companies in one place. Lots of choice which is great. Prices seemed cheaper than other sites including when I looked at booking direct
Second time I’ve used MateRates. Always a good deal.
Great value! I'll be telling my friends.
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Westport Airport Car Hire Tips
Why it makes sense to rent a car
Westport is a sleepy small town near the top of the South Island's rugged West Coast and a popular tourist spot.
You really need a rental car to get out and explore the many attractions here. Having a rental car gives you the flexibility and freedom to travel at your own pace and roam further afield exploring this stunning part of New Zealand.
The isolation of the West Coast means there's a very limited number of rental cars available and these can sell out quickly during peak periods. So if you plan to pick up a rental car in Westport we recommend booking as early as you can.
We offer some suggestions at the bottom of the page about places around Westport you might want to visit. Having a rental car makes getting to them easy.
Driving from the airport
If you're picking up a rental car in Westport it's likely that you'll be doing a one-way rental and returning the car in another part of the country.
Driving north takes you to isolated Karamea and start of the famous Heaphy Track through the Kahurangi National Park. Many travellers next stop after Westport is Nelson.
Heading south from Westport towards Greymouth, you'll pass the famous 'pancake rocks'. The Punakaiki pancake rocks and blowholes, where columns of water shoot skyward from rocks that resemble giant stacks of hotcakes.
There's plenty to explore around Westport before heading further down the the West Coats through Hokitika and onto the famous Franz Josef and Fox glaciers. Going further south will take you to the Haast region, an area so spectacular UNESCO made it a "World Heritage" area. From here you could drive on through to Queenstown or Christchurch where you could drop off your rental vehicle.
Return with a full tank
Stop at a nearby petrol station and top up the tank before returning your vehicle. The extra 5 or 10 minutes this takes will definitely save you money.
If you return the car with the tank not full then the rental company will charge a high price to top up the tank. These charges can be excessive, such as a $2.50 a litre surcharge on top of the fuel cost. Not a nice surprise to later find this charge on your credit card.
As you can see from the map below there's a handful of petrol stations in Westport.
A rental car gives you the freedom and flexibility to make the most of your time exploring the West Coast region from Westport. Here are a few of the attractions you might like to consider checking out. For more ideas, check out the West Coast Tourism website....
With a seal colony, lighthouse, dramatic views and a coastal walkway — Cape Foulwind truly has it all. You may also spot blue penguins and sooty shearwaters around here.
This headland was named by Captain Cook after he encountered strong gales and winds here in the 1700s. It was Abel Tasman who was the first European to see the cape, however, and an old astrolabe (a navigational instrument) erected in his honour can be seen overlooking Tauranga Bay.
The seal colony here is a breeding colony so there’s always something to see at any time of the year — the females never leave and there are often playful pups basking and frolicking around the rocks. However, the summer months when it's a lot warmer are when the males arrive and spend time ashore without feeding, during mating season. It’s one of six breeding colonies on the West Coast and one of the most accessible in all of New Zealand.
A walkway stretches from Cape Foulwind south to Tauranga Bay, passing steep bluffs, sandy beaches and green pastures. It takes about an hour and a half to complete. From Tauranga Bay, it’s a short stroll to the seal colony viewing point. You’ll also find picnic facilities, toilets, and informational displays here.
You can choose to continue all the way to the Cape Foulwind lighthouse, in which case you may want to arrange transport at the other end (or commit to a 3-hour round trip). The tower is in much the same shape as when it was first built; the foundations for the original lighthouse (as well as the old keepers houses) are visible in front of the current one.
You will find Cape Foulwind and Tauranga Bay about 16 km from Westport — a fuss-free drive from the town centre in your rental car. Simply follow Cape Foulwind Rd all the way to the coast.
Old Ghost Road
The Old Ghost Road is a former gold-mining route, recently revived as a trail for hikers and bikers. Westport is the base for The Old Ghost Road; its two trailheads are about 2 hours' drive apart from each other in your rental car. If you’re feeling intrepid, they are 2 to 3 days apart when riding, or 4 to 5 days if tramping. To learn more about the area’s rich mining history, keep an eye out for information plaques and relics along the track.
At 85km, The Old Ghost Road is New Zealand’s longest continuous single-track, stretching from Lyell to Seddonville, via the Mohikinui River gorge. It comprises landscapes of all descriptions — soaring mountains, deep gorges and valleys, and thick rainforest.
While it is remote and beautiful it is also demanding, and shouldn’t be undertaken upon a whim. There are more than a dozen bridges that cross over rivers and creeks along the Old Ghost Road trail, and a handful of other land bridges. However, there are still waterways that may flood after heavy rain. Spanning altitudes from near sea level to alpine ranges, conditions can vary greatly and swing in an instant, so it’s vital to be prepared for any type of weather — even in summer.
The Old Ghost Rd is an advanced (grade 4) mountain biking trail with variable natural surfaces — in places it is steep, narrow and challenging. Some sections may be easier to walk. Mountain bikers are advised to start at Lyell (near the upper Buller Gorge) and ride from south to north in order to enjoy the best experience.
Trampers need a reasonable level of backcountry experience. The direction in which hikers tackle the Old Ghost Road is less important than it is for cyclists, so take your pick.
There are six huts placed along the Old Ghost Rd — bookings are required ahead of time. Given the nature of this trail, you will need to bring all your own provisions as there are no stores en route.
The oldest town on the West Coast, Westport’s fortunes were largely built on the coal mining industry. The mines were at remote and rugged places like Denniston, Millerton, Stockton, and Seddonville, but the only way to export the coal was from the port at Westport.
Recently opened, this modern museum tells Westport’s story from the gold rush days to early settlement, with a focus on lifestyles and living conditions, the coal industry, and the town’s maritime history. It includes interactive displays and plays vintage footage from the Denniston Incline – at the time, an engineering super feat in what was once the biggest coal mine in the country. An estimated 12 million tons of coal made their way down the incline during its operational lifespan, from 1879 to 1967.
With the recent closure of the Denniston Experience, which provided an interactive underground tour of the historic Denniston coal mine, the new museum’s simulated mine display offers visitors the next best way to experience the daily working conditions of an early coal miner.
Displays include a huge 8-ton coal wagon used on the world-famous Denniston Incline, perched at 45 degrees to show the grade of the steepest part of the Incline; and a 20-ton brake drum used to slow the wagons down as they raced down the Incline.
The museum’s maritime display includes a 2-storey high triple-expansion steam engine from the harbour dredge SS Mawhera. Photographs and objects tell the story of the port’s development to serve the local coal and cement industries.
Coaltown Museum is at 123 Palmerston St in Westport and is open seven days a week.
Based in Charleston, 30 km south of Westport, Underworld Adventures offers a raft of thrilling tours. Pick-ups from your Westport accommodation may be available, otherwise, it’s an easy drive in your rental car!
The narrow gauge Nile River Rainforest Train promises an epic journey in open carriages through ancient rainforest. Taking riders through the awe-inspiring Nile River Canyon in Paparoa National Park, the route passes through several sites from the BBC’s The Lost World film production. Stretch your legs on a walk to the impressive Nile River suspension bridge and inhale the pure air. The park is full of amazing and otherworldly limestone formations, from caves to cliffs, and will have you craning your head at every turn.
Speaking of those limestone caves, you can combine a trip on the Nile River rainforest train with a tour of the Nile River caves. Venture into this maze of caverns, as masses of glow worms reveal themselves in the grotto. The Te Ananui cave system is dry at the upper levels, and home to numerous stalagmites and stalactites, while the lower ones have been shaped by the flow of underground streams (boots are available so your feet don’t get too wet).
Rafting is yet another option for exploring this area. In the lower levels of the cave system, you’ll climb into an inflatable tube before emerging into the gurgling Nile River rapids.
For the daring, more extreme thrills can be had on the adventure caving tour option. This expedition involves abseiling and clambering over boulders, climbing ladders and scaling waterfalls, and even crawling through narrow passages. It’s a real workout, taking you through waterways and dry caves for the full spectrum of underground adventure.