The West Harbour area extends from Ravensbourne through to Aramoana. Port Chalmers is the oldest area, being settled in 1844 as the deep-water port for Otago and was considerably boosted by the 1860s gold rushes. It has become the container port for the lower half of the South Island, handling exports of meat, wool, logs, sawn timber and woodchips and the import of general cargo and vehicles. Tourist ships come to Port Chalmers from October – March.
Aramoana was earlier known as the North Otago Heads, and later as simply ‘The Spit’. There was some Maori settlement in the vicinity. The settlement was established in 1884 with had a store and school from 1885-1887. Te Ngaru is a small settlement of homes and cribs bordering the harbour’s edge, farmland, cliffs and steep hillsides. It is 7km from Port Chalmers and 2km from Aramoana village.
Burkes was named for Colman Burke’s brewery, located there until 1882. It formerly had a wharf and railway station.
Careys Bay has fishing and boat-building industries and it was settled about 1849.
Deborah Bay was first settled by saw-millers in 1849 and the bay is the home for most of the harbour’s keeler yachts.
Maia means ‘a Maori warrior’ and was opened for settlement by private developers. It used to have a railway station and now has a school.
Ravensbourne was settled in 1854, and it includes the Ravensdown Fertiliser Works and wharf, and Foliafeed.
Roseneath, named after a town in Scotland, is a residential area, with a small remanant of market gardening. At Kilgour’s Point the Harbour Board and others formerly operated a quarry. Blanket Bay has seen significant development of market gardening.
Sawyers Bay was the earliest sawmilling district in Otago and whalers worked there in 1840. Its industries include Globe Fisheries, market gardening and small light industrial businesses.
St Leonards development was one of the conditions of the construction of the Port Chalmers-Dunedin railway in 1872.