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in WESTPORT / Reefton etc & what to look for.




ON THE MARKET or is it?

The South Island NZ

Westport town

If you have had enough of the North Island or the hussle & bustle of the cities & want to downsize, retire or basically slow down then Westport on the West Coast is a reasonable option & choice depending on your circumstances. Other towns include Reffton & Grey & coastal outlying areas that may appeal to those who want away from the city & North Island craziness as at November 2019.

But be careful as there are a few hidden factors you need to consider. Houses range from do one up at $100,000 to the nicer ones $350,000 upwards can be an atraction. But THERES NOT MANY JOBS if you think your cash won't sustain your living. Just remember building materials are basic so any fancy items you may have to drive to Nelson to purchase or call Placemakers etc if they have runs to Westport then order. It pays to have a pickup or a trailer if doing that but also landscaping materials doing larger areas of ones homes best have a trailer & obtain tour landscaping items from Nelson as everything brought in is topped with an additional cost.


Westport Council & law office Westport



1/. TRANSPORT: Westport is isolated. Nelson in the North & Greymouth in the South are your main bases. There are no INTERCITY buses to Picton & the Buller Gorge road is 91kms to Murchison with no roadside help then a few more hours to Picton if wanting to head up the North Island on the Ferry. A total 285 kms via state highway 63 & state highway 6. approx 3 .3/4 hours by car is a long way but good stops on the way before the Wairau Valley at the Lakes which are part of Ngati Apa Ki Te Ro Ta boundary. Every picturesque to see the cleanest water lakes in NZ..

You need a good reliable car & best buy out of the area if coming down to live. The only one Caltex Gas station does supply many car accessories & can get items in for your car as no Supercheap or Repco here. You can go online with Supercheap & they will courier to you but do your sums as there is a cost for courier. Always fill your car up/have extra oil if need be & water---if heading out there are no gas stations for a ways south to Greymouth at the Z station 100kms & inland to Murchison 91 kms away they have a Mobile Gas station. If you have a mobile phone put the NZ Map GPS as then you don’t use google & know where youre going FOR FREE no data then. Its easy to miss the turnoff before Murchison coming to Westport & you will head towards Christchurch if you miss this right turn bridge crossing here just out of Murchison--easy to do???. There is also no railway anymore & bus service with Intercity only runs once a day but check at the Information Office on the main street of Westport where the bus leaves.

2/. Dont expect everything you have in the city being here eg. No warehouse, no Placemakers, no Bunnings or MacDonalds; Burger King or Kentucky.

3/. Driving from Murchison to Westport you do not seem to see many dead wildlife on the road or even birds flying when you drive thru the native virgin bush areas. However this is sad to see as we note many 1080 poison signs on gates on this stretch. DOC has devastated the area of native bird life or for that matter any wildlife?? but you check for yourself. VERY SAD.


PO in Murchison



  Westport is a small town but the people are nice. You have the seal colony and Carters beach which is popular for the seal colony and walks & then the other tourism sites like Pancake rocks and the serene scenery. It seems to be a haven for Nelson/Blenheim folk who can sell up & have cash to spare living in Westport. The town has an assortment of shops but not many jobs apart from Talleys fish packing in the season. The town lost the mines & golden bay cement works & around 1500 people lost their jobs. Many decided to leave for work or had too. Whats left is an assortment of houses good and bad for the taking but remember whats cheap may hit you on the expenses you will need to pay for everyday living depending on your circumstances. If from out of town best place to stay is the TripInn Hostel. Its cosy and warm & the owners are excellent & can help guide you on the dos and dont's. You wont get that staying at a local Hotel or Motel and meeting the many tourists is a good way to coverse.

However there are good courier services for you to go online to get items brought in. They have a Post Office, ANZ & Westpac Bank & TNL for all your trucking needs as they run up and down both islands and provide an excellent service. If you need a phone book you need to contact Telecom as the Post Office no longer gives these out. There is no IRD [ Inland Revenue ] based in Westport but Greymouth agents come up and you can make an appointment by calling the IRD for help. There is a WINS Office in town; a nice RSA & a Buller Club for those who wish to meet new people. Whitebait and flounder fishing in the Buller river is the bonus for those who like to fish. As we all know Whitebait from here is the best in the country.


 Do your sums: Rates are dear eg. $NZ 2900 to start—that’s worse than towns in the North island? Power try to have LPG gas Infinity as bottles are delivered & cheaper than power Hot water. Pulse Energy are good & telecom and FLIP for Internet seem OK but over to you to work out. The downside is many want a fixed plan & keep away from a 24 month plan as you have to pay to get out of the plan. We have heard some bad reports from My Republic??? not helping people we know. Fibre is slowly going in at at Nov 2019 but many streets yet to finish and you can see on the map when you google the fibre info for Westport from telecom.

Older houses still have HW [hot water] cylinders but these consume too much power esp 60s houses or before & worse if no insulation as it will up your costs for extra heating. Avoid them if you can. Check wiring if TPS updated cabling & your metre board if any circuit breakers & if the wiring is old. Outcalls range around $80-100 and hour and a rewire could set you back at $10,000 or more.

Many hotpoints may be old & wooden older homes will have mildew underneath the floor over the years. A repile average job are priced around $500 per pile so a house youre looking at around $25,000NZ+. All pre 1960s houses if not on concrete foundation will have the old wooden piles which do not come up to spec.

Make sure you have insulation under the floor & in the roof & walls but state homes may have solid walls so cannot install wall batts. Its Ok if your recladding the home with gibboard to insulate the walls. New rules for renting require 8” insulation top and under & get a Meth report to make sure its drug free. This should be on the seller.


A huge fireplace in the TripInn Hostel heats all the water in this hostel

using coal--fantastic 3 stage wetback in 400 gallon tank runs heat all night. A great place to stay to meet tourists etc and hosts are excellent---our recommendation for those who need accommodation while they view the housing market as very central location



Add all your monthly bills: Food, travel; car & home insurance, Insurance [100 sq m approx $1000 p.a.];Car wof & reg yearly; odd jobs like gardening or fixing jobs like fences, paths etc you wish to do, power, Internet, Phone, Rates, school fees, clothing; doctors; repairs to vehicle; & any other costs you can think of—add $50 a month for things you forgot.

Now x12 gives you the yearly cost then x5 to see the costs for a 5 year period. Now add these costs to the price you paid for your home & see if now the RV of your home has increased by this amount in 5 years? Then you will find your market value of your home and whether it was worth the time & effort to buy as your home should have increased. Trouble is if no work continues in Westport or say Talleys pulls out it can go the opposite way & attract a bad element due to the low house prices causing a social problem?? This is the risk one takes as who knows what things will be like in 5 years time. A new Chinese waste Company may help alleviate the shortage of work if they take on kiwi workers -- but knowing Chinese they like to bring in their workers or allow for auotmation to keep away from government costs like ACC levies, OSH rules etc??? Automation can run 24 hours yet staff may require 2-3 shifts??


Main street Westport


Westport have an 8 bed SMALL hospital fully equipped & the Health Centre next door to see a Doctor is very good & no worries about an appointment or to register unlike places in the North Island. If youre elderly & require further hospital care they will take you to Greymouth and they do have a retirement home here. There is a St Johns Ambulance service here & remember Greywouth is 100kms away south. If youre a younger couple then no worries schools are OK. Westport is flat and easy to get around & reasonably safe from crime. The roads are not conjested as one would think and people not in a hurry like in the city.

There are 2 supermarkets New World & Fresh Choice covers your every day needs and prices are no different than other supermarkets around the New Zealand. Mitre 10 for handman equipment and garden items are OK as well for timber sales. If you want to buy coal go down the gorge road past Berlitz Café & the Heaphy coal you can buy direct from the mine if you have a trailer etc. Smaller lots there is a wood and coal merchant. All businesses run off the main street so easy to find. There are no Kentucky Fried Chicken; MacDonalds in town etc but a lot of food places including 2 Thai run takaways. Newspaper has a Local news media charge $1.20 for 5 days Mon-Fri or you can apply online to receive. Odd copies are available in supermarkets and dairys. There is a good computer supplier in town and many small nick nak shops like Bedding etc which are OK.


Always check the council about flooding as closer to the coast it does flood including near the main street but looking North towards the bridge on the river is OK. They will have a folder on the house you want showing area & any additions. Ask about sewerage and what you receive for the rates. These can be paid weekly, monthly or yearly but they are not cheap compared to other towns even in the North Island. Near Talleys by the coast we are told some areas do flood so make sure you check on the flooding areas before you buy. This is important during the winter rain season but the council will have a map and show you the flood prone areas. Climate is milder than before but talk to farmers in the area who will tell you what its like on a true everyday basis. In fact the climate has is now a lot milder as at 2019 & one must remember Westport does not get blasted by the Southerlies as the west coast of Nroth Island gets. If you need a lawyer there are 2 to choose from by the Council building and we heard both are very good.

REALTIES Don’t be fooled. Do your homework slowly.

If looking at a house ask the following if looking at pics on the net:

1/. If looking on the internet ask----When were the pictures taken & is the house in the same state as the pics. Check if they use a wide angle lens to make the rooms bigger than you think? Make sure power is on & water is on for you to test. If not do not bother to check further as just like buying a car you wouldn’t pay $100,000 if you cannot hear the motor running even though they say it goes?? If you cannot do a pre inspection report before hand over then like a car without hearing the motor you don't buy??????.

2/. Do not sign any tentative contract until all the things you want are to your standard & then only post an offer which must be accepted by the vendor. Start low & don’t listen to the agent if he jacks the price up. It’s the vendor who decides.  Check the RV value of the home--- these give an indication of houses sold in that area or steet. The Govt valuation will be lower but rateable values are about to change as house prices are going ballistic caused by immigrants coming to NZ numbering over 1m people who need homes---supply demand. Note all things that need attention then write out a contract of these items you want fixed before you buy. Make sure both the agent and the vendor signs & do not pay or confirm a contract until these are done. Once you pay its hard to get anything done or return payment as that will cost you also? If paying cash you needn’t post a deposit? As cash talks. But do not even post a deposit until those items you want are covered & signed & you are double happy. If they say other offers on the table so be it... don't get caught cause all an agent wants is his/her commission. Each item you add on what you want specify each not overall.

3/. Check hot water cylinder if old & too big or too small for what your family need--12-15 yrs max for a hot water cylinder. Electrical Power is not cheap & if gas infinity then you save on the hot water bill. Check if insulated & house has had a meth test. Ask for the tests & if the place was rented? Your water check toilet, shower, vanity & taps for leaks & pipes and if ok

4/. Check the power meter box for circuit breakers & wiring & any splitter box in a garage including the earth stake outside as some get stolen as copper? All appliances must be in good working order if you buy at the price asked but get your lawyer to recheck or you ask & may have to pay to have inspection of wiring, water lines etc??.

5/. Wood houses check piles—very important as many homes need repiling. Go around & look at the levels & check for any rot, Check roof for movement or sags; windows if hard to open or close; doors not closing properly; levels along the walls & if outside buildings have they got a permit. If you want a LIM report you pay but read the contract & ask to take it away before you sign as realties have a few pages in fine print. Check the section & lean/slope where water goes in & out of the section during rains & most of all talk to the neighbours. All houses before 1960 era will need repiling so be aware of this....

6/.  Multi burner is best otherwise use a wood burner but have fire bricks inside if using coal. Strongman coal gives off a high heat and looks shiny. Heaphy coal  lower grade but you can mix. There are woodlot sales here but remember some items are a lot dearer than the North and wood to buy is not cheap @ $300 a load—you will go thru 2-3 loads in a winter so thats $900??? give or take. Go to the coal mine if you have a trailer & they will load.

7/. Storage. Yes they have here but remember getting your furniture down to Westport costs so ask local companies like TNL over the railway line in town by New World. They are excellent and can move either side of the island. Also ask Sollys a private company also who can help..

8/. Legal fees around $1300 - $2000 for conveyancy but check yourself [$100,000 -200,000 home]. Ask first before you commit.

9/. Rates go to council & ask what you receive for your money & if any increases forseen & when then check insurance costs.

10/. Have a budget on buying the home --lawyer --- costs to move in--- to your living costs & any items you feel need to be considered. Once you buy then you cannot fall back. Do the sums & you will enjoy your new home in Westport.


ANZ Bank in Westport



LASTLY don’t be caught out viewing in summer. It might be nice & lovely in the sun but winters are winters and you might not like the change. Being away from other places after being in the city may get you down so take your time & if you think this is for you OK. This year Westport just had 4 frosts so not too bad......Its entirely up to you to decide
as you know best but hope these little pointers will help you in your decision.

Westport is a lovely place and affordable if you have a job here or if you are retired.


The prestine Ngati Apa ki te Ro Ta Lakes on the way to Westport

have the ourest waters in NZ.


International law help ask us







"Westport a small town on the west coast with houses at affordable

prices & tourists in summer "



Please note the writeups on 1080 belong to those of their writers & promoters. If USA can ban it why doesn't NZ. We publish on this website to make those aware of wildlife and birdlife species slowly being depleted & are a non profit org. Make the world know that wildlife deserves its place & we acknowledge those who are helping the world be a better place
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