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The township of Westport, once a bustling colonial centre, now services workers from the Stockton and Denniston mines. A quirky area with many creative locals, there are a number of spots worth visiting in the area.
The Star Tavern, located near the famous Westport landmark the Steeples, is a famous local watering hole.
Derek, the owner and proprietor of the pub, while welcome you warmly to his establishment. Grab your pint of choice (they have West Coast produced Monteiths on tap) and sit by the roaring open fire or play a game of pool. Remarkably Derek will probably remember your name next you visit.
The Townhouse, run by talented chef Emily Lucas, is a fine dining experience of the same standard you would experience anywhere in New Zealand. Emily, formerly owner of the famous Bayhouse restaurant at Tauranga Bay, has moved back into the township and lovingly restored the striking Townhouse in keeping with its Art Deco origins. The interior is cosy and welcoming and with fabulous coffee and freshly baked sweet treats available as well as brunch, lunch and evening meals and a wonderful wine list, The Townhouse is well worth making part of your coastal itinerary.
For something more authentically coastal, head to Jack’s Gasthof, a pizzeria off the beaten track near Charleston, 23 km south of Westport, at Little Totara River. Jack, originally a Berliner, emigrated to New Zealand around 20 years ago and brings his distinct style to the coast. Choose from a variety of mains – pizzas are Jack’s speciality however, with all the favourites including Funghi, Napoletana and Frutti del Mare (fruits of the sea). The organic vegetables served up are grown in Jack’s garden.
The Salmon Farm Café in South Westland, as the name suggests, farms salmon which can be purchased at the farm shop, or consumed in the café in a variety of salmon-themed dishes. Approximately one hour’s drive from either Fox Glacier or Haast along State Highway, the Farm is located at Paringa surrounded by a native forest. During whitebait season you can also sample some of this local delicacy.
Greymouth, the main city in the West Coast region, boasts a number of eateries. The Speight’s Ale House franchise recently transformed a heritage building opposite the Grey River, serving up hearty pub grub accompanied of course by Dunedin's finest brews.
Monteith’s Brewery has just moved into its cutting edge new building. The Monteith family have a colourful and long history of involvement with beer on the Coast, over 150 years. Book a tour around the brand spanking new brewery – this experience of course includes sampling some of the delicious locally brewed beer. The café is open from 10am until 7pm daily, offering up modern New Zealand cuisine, as well as tapas.
The Plateau café at Fox Glacier is popular with locals and visitors alike; head there to enjoy good food, service and an extensive selection of New Zealand wine and craft beer.
In nearby Franz Josef Glacier, Priya’s restaurant is one of the village’s most popular haunts. Serving up mouthwatering Indian curries and memorable naan, you will definitely find welcome sustenance after a big day on the glacier. You’ll find arguably the best coffee in Franz Josef at the appropriately named Full of Beans, as well as a selection of homemade cakes and pies. A great place to visit during your day exploring.
The hotel known as Formerly the Blackball Hilton is an iconic West Coast establishment, offering hearty food and accommodation. Blackball is an area rich in local history and The Blackball Hilton has been a West Coast landmark for over 100 years. Their delicious looking summer menu includes beer battered fish and chips, a Thai chicken and shrimp dish and sautéed scallops.
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