Local Attractions – Heritage


The old coal mining town of Denniston sits at the top of the Denniston plateau, which provides a stunning view of the coast on a clear day. Coal mining started at Denniston and the nearby townships of Burnetts Face and Coalbrookdale in the late 1880s. The coal was brought down from the plateau on a cable railway known as the Denniston Incline, an amazing engineering feat in its day. Some relics remain and the interpretation boards give a fascinating insight in to life there. The area holds special interest for those who have read Jenny Pattrick’s historical novels ‘The Denniston Rose’ and ‘Heart of Coal’.

Location: 25kms east of Westport
www.Activities Denniston

‘The Denniston Experience’

Enjoy a fully guided tour into an original 1880’s underground coal mine.   Your journey begins with a short guided walk from the carpark to the railway station.   A narrow gauge train takes you along a section of the old coal haulage route with spectacular views over the Waimangaroa Gorge and then in to the mine.     Learn the myths and legends of the early coal mining culture accompanied by advanced audio and visuals and gain an understanding of the harsh life of the old time miners.   Bookings essential.   CURRENTLY NOT OPERATING (March 2017)

Location: 25kms east of Westport

For more information visit www.denniston.co.nz

Coaltown Museum

Take a journey through the history of the Buller District and learn the stories of the pioneers. See displays of early coal mining, gold mining, timber milling and maritime industries, including one of the original wagons from the Denniston incline suspended at the actual angle of descent and the steam engine from the bucket dredge SS Mawhera which is still in working order.

Location: 123 Palmerston Street, Westport (next to the Clocktower Building)

OutWest Tours – Johnny’s Journey

Follow the story of John Albert Currie, a West Coast legend, and his life ‘off the grid’ in the Awakiri Valley.   Meet Johnny and enjoy the history, beauty and wildlife as we travel through the West Coast back country where red deer roam free in their natural habitat.

Location:  Pick up from accommodation available.


Mitchells Gully Historic Gold Mine

Walk through tunnels dug 150 years ago, see the mighty water wheel and stamping battery, learn about Charleston’s vibrant gold mining history, see and hold real gold, feed eels and wekas.

Location: State Highway 6, 26km south of Westport, 40km north of Punakaiki