Westport

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Greymouth

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Hokitika

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west coast history & heritage

If you love to discover gems and tales of old, there's plenty of history and heritage to soak up on the West Coast. The region early Maori called Te Tai O Poutini was valued for its precious pounamu jade. Later, Europeans came in search of other rich resources such as gold, coal and timber. They came by foot, pack track, boat and air. Many historic features they left are accessible today by road or on walks on the West Coast.

Learn about the gold, timber, coal, Maori and aviation history of the West Coast at the many heritage sites on the West Coast. Those listed below are easliy found, well marked and in many cases interpreted via information panels, brochures and books. Visitor Information Centres & i-SITES have further details on the history and heritage of the West Coast.

 Karamea Centennial Museum  Karamea Heritage Sites

KARAMEA CENTENNIAL MUSEUM

Exhibits include gold, timber, farming and early settlement.

FENIAN TRACK TO ADAMS FLAT

A historic track to gold workings and a replica hut.

Seddonville Heritage Sites

CHASM CREEK WALKWAY

A track on the old Seddonville branch railway line passes through a tunnel and across a bridge.

 Chasm Creek Track  Ngakawau Heritage Sites

CHARMING CREEK WALKWAY

Follows a railway line down a spectacular gorge, past coal mine and sawmill remains. Top end is 12km from Seddonville.

STOCKTON COAL AERIAL

The bucket line brings coal down from the Stockton plateau to the mine bins.

Granity Heritage Sites

 Road to Millerton

GRANITY MUSEUM

A former mines building next to historic coke ovens.

MILLERTON

A hilltop mining town ruin.

INCLINE WALKWAY

A track leads to part of the incline rail system, complete with coal tubs and tunnels.

 The original Denniston Incline

MINE SITES

Mine entrances, rope road formations, bathhouse remains and a dam wall.

Waimangaroa Heritage Sites

BRITANNIA GOLD MINE

A good walking track climbs through forest to a five-head battery.

CONNS CREEK YARDS

Relics at the foot of the Denniston Incline.

Denniston Heritage Sites

 The top of The Incline, Denniston Plateau

DENNISTON BRIDLE TRACK

Climbs ‘The Hill’, also giving access to the incline.

BRAKEHEAD

Relics and superb views from the top of the famous incline.

BANBURY ARCH AND THE CAMP

A short walk to an impressive stone arch.

DENNISTON MUSEUM

A former school building contains displays depicting the town and mines.

 Banbury MIne

DENNISTON TOWN WALK

A loop around settlement and mine sites.

BURNETTS FACE SETTLEMENT AND ROPE ROAD

Past Denniston via a good shingle road.

COALBROOKDALE WALKWAY

Roperoad formations lead to mines and fan house.

Westport Heritage Sites

 new Coaltown

COALTOWN MUSEUM

An essential stop before exploring the old coalfields.

BULLER COALFIELDS HERITAGE TRAIL

Links localities north to Seddonville.

HISTORIC BUILDINGS

The Coast’s oldest town has buildings from colonial to art deco periods.

Cape Foulwind Heritage Sites

 Walkway to old Cape Foulwind Lighthouse

RAILWAY AND QUARRY

Traces of the line and seaside quarry for Westport’s harbour works.

LIGHTHOUSES

The functioning lighthouse and foundations of the original are at the north end of the walkway to Tauranga Bay seal colony.

Addisons Flat Heritage Sites

CEMETERY

The last trace of a once famous gold mining town.

Charleston Area Heritage Sites

 Charleston

MITCHELLS GULLY GOLD MINE

An authentic operation with tunnels and battery.

CONSTANT BAY

A former goldfield harbour with a walk to the signal station site.

PIONEER CEMETERIES

Catholics and Protestants at the opposite end of town.

Fox River Heritage Sites

TE ANA O MATUKU  The original Fox River bridge, Great Coast Road

A sea cave occupied by travellers from the earliest days.

FOX RIVER BRIDGE

A timber truss bridge gives walking access to a former road tunnel.

Runanga Heritage Sites

MINERS’ HALL

Restored, complete with the original union slogans.

Greymouth Area Heritage Sites

 Steam train at Shantytown

COBDEN GUN EMPLACEMENT

Short climb from Wickes St to World War Two relic with town and river views.

MAWHERA VILLAGE SITE

Marked by a plaque beside the highway bridge.

TOWN HERITAGE WALK

Links significant buildings and other historic sites.

GREYMOUTH EVENING STAR MURAL

Headlines from local history. Mackay Street.

 West Coast gold mining history  © Grey mouth

HISTORY HOUSE

An extraordinary array of photos and relics on town, port etc.

COAL RIVER PARK

Relics and sculptures on floodwall and wharf celebrate the harbour and its main export.

SHANTYTOWN

The Coast’s most famous historical attraction with steam train, sawmill and gold panning.

WOODS CREEK

A bush walk with tunnels, water races and fascinating gold workings.

Kawatiri Junction Heritage Sites

RAILWAY WALKWAY

A track on the old Nelson-Kawatiri rail formation crosses a bridge and passes through a tunnel.

Murchison Heritage Sites

MURCHISON MUSEUM

Displays in the former Post Office recall the devastating 1929 earthquake and other local history. (Please make a donation.)

 Lyell Cemetary  Lyell Heritage Sites

LYELL WALKWAY

Ghost town revived by photographs. Walk links cemetery, alluvial gold workings and stamp battery.

Reefton Heritage Sites

REEFTON VISITOR CENTRE

Features a mine engine and realistic ‘underground’ section.

 The Bearded Miners  HISTORIC TOWN WALK

Passes buildings dating from the town’s earliest days, including the School of Mines.

POWER HOUSE WALK

Recalls NZ’s first public electricity supply of 1888.

RAILWAY PRECINCT

Station, locomotive shed and (in town) a Fairlie locomotive.

CEMETERIES

In town and 3km south, graves of prospectors and miners.

 The Bearded Mining Company

ALBORNS COAL MINE

A track around remains of a small coal mining operation.

Big River Heritage Sites

GOLD MINE, BATTERY, SAWMILL AND COAL MINES

A remarkable historic complex, accessible via walking tracks.

Blacks Point Heritage Sites

 Blacks Point Museum

BLACKS POINT MUSEUM

Much mining and domestic memorabilia. (Please make a donation.)

MURRAY CREEK - LANKEY CREEK TRACKS

Link the reef mines that gave rise to Reefton.

GOLDEN LEAD WALKS

Along a water race with a longer option to a battery.

Blackwater Heritage Sites

A TINY SCHOOL

Marks a settlement with gold rush roots. (Donation please.)

Waiuta Heritage Sites

WAIUTA TOWN AND MINE

Relics of the Coast’s last great gold strike.

BATTERY AND POWERHOUSE

Foundations linked via a raceman’s track.

 Old Miners Cottage, Waiuta

PROHIBITION HILL

The top of NZ’s deepest mine shaft (879 metres).

Moonlight Heritage Sites

SLUICE GUNS

Hydraulic sluicing ‘monitors’ mark the Moonlight Road turn-off.

MOONLIGHT TRACK

Passes tailing walls, hut sites, water race and battery.

Blackball Heritage Sites

 Formerly the Blackball Hilton, Blackball

BLACKBALL TOWN WALK

Covers the town’s significant remaining buildings and other sites.

MINE SITE

Chimneys, ventilator and bath house shell adjacent to the road.

BLACKBALL- ROA RAILWAY LINE

Includes unusual timber bridges.

 Mt Croseus Track

CROESUS TRACK

Crosses the Paparoa range, passing gold workings, miners’ huts and a battery.

Nelson Creek Heritage Sites

NELSON CREEK WALKS

An unusual footbridge crosses to bush tracks through intriguing gold workings.

Red Jacks Heritage Sites

LOCALLY BUILT LOGGING LOCOMOTIVE

Beside State Highway 7.

Brunner Heritage Sites

 The Brunner Mine site and bridge

BRUNNER INDUSTRIAL SITE

Coal mines, brickworks and coke ovens linked by a suspension bridge.

BRUNNER DISASTER GRAVE

Last resting place for victims of New Zealand’s most deadly mine explosion.

Kotuku Heritage Sites

SCHOOL AND MINI BUNGALOW

Reminders of a former sawmilling settlement.

Lake Brunner Heritage Sites

 Moana Train Station

MOANA RAIL PRECINCT

A station, overhead footbridge and station master’s residence (now a café).

BAIN BAY

Bush walk to a former lakeside logging camp and wharf.

Greenstone Heritage Sites

CEMETERY

Scattered graves overlook the site of a vanished gold town.

ALBERT HUNT PLAQUE

Commemorates the Coast’s first payable gold rush.

Kumara Heritage Sites

 The historic Kumara Swimming Pool

HISTORIC DISPLAYS

Recall a late great gold rush and miner/politician R.J.Seddon.

SWIMMING POOL

A unique facility, formed among tailing boulders.

LONDONDERRY ROCK

A house-sized boulder amidst stacks of sluice tailings.

GOLDSBOROUGH

Mining tunnels and a gold panning area where a gold town stood.

STAFFORD CEMETERY

People of many nationalities lie in a genuine ‘Boot Hill’.

Hokitika Area Heritage Sites

 The old Goldsborough Cemetery

ARAHURA PLAQUE

Recognises the special status of the river to Maori as the source of pounamu (nephrite jade or greenstone).

CEMETERY

Graves dating from the gold days, plus a panoramic view.

LIGHTHOUSE

Restored timber tower on Seaview Hill, near the cemetery.

HERITAGE AREA

A replica shipwreck recalls the busy port and treacherous entrance.

 The historic Carnegie Building, now the Hokitika Museum.

CARNEGIE BUILDING

The columned library now serves as the visitor centre, art gallery and museum entrance.

HOKITIKA MUSEUM

Features displays, research archives and audio visual. (Entry fee.)

HOKITIKA TOWN WALK

Shop window panels trace site histories since the gold rush.

LAKE KANIERE WATER RACE WALK

Follows a system built for gold mining and now used to generate electricity.

 Lake Kaniere, Hokitika

RIMU LOOKOUT

A view over one of the country’s great goldfields.

LAKE MAHINAPUA

Paddle steamer and timber truss rail bridge.

Ross Heritage Sites

ROSS INFORMATION CENTRE

Audiovisual, scale mine models and all-weather panning area.

 Old gold mining hut, Ross

WALKWAY

Follows an old water race to the historic cemetery overlooking town.

CURIO ROOM

A fantastic collection of onetime everyday objects. Free of charge.

Hari Hari Heritage Sites

TRANS TASMAN FLIGHT

The first solo flight from Australia, by Guy Menzies in 1931, is commemorated where he landed.

 Old Wharf Building, Okarito  Okarito Heritage Sites

WHARF SHED

A reconstructed remnant of gold rush shipping days.

DONOVAN ’S STORE

Restored upon The Strand, the gold rush main street.

 Okarito Historic Hostel

SCHOOL

A century-old building, now restored as a youth hostel.

Franz Josef Heritage Sites

HENDES GALLERY

A wrought iron cliff-side structure on Roberts Point track.

ST JAMES ANGLICAN CHURCH

Famous for glacier views that come and go.

TATARE TRACK

Through old gold workings to intriguing tunnels.

 Gillespies Beach  Gillespies Beach Heritage Sites

CEMETERY

The only tangible trace of another former gold town.

GOLD DREDGES

Parts of two machines that worked the sand for gold.

TRACK TUNNEL

Driven through a coastal cliff along the diggers’ beach highway’.

 Knights Point

KNIGHTS POINT LOOKOUT

Scene of the highway opening in 1965.

Haast Heritage Sites

HAAST VISITOR CENTRE

Covers aspects of history from Maori travellers to modern roadmakers.

HAPUKA ESTUARY WALK

Panels interpret historic aspects of Open Bay Islands, viewed from the track.

 The Wharf, Jackson Bay  Jackson Bay Heritage Sites

WHARF

The Coast’s most southern settlement boasts its sole sea wharf.

LONELY GRAVE

The earliest known European burial spot on the West Coast.

INFORMATION SHELTER

Interprets history from early Maori to a disastrous Government settlement of the 1870s.

 QR code  More Information on West Coast History & Heritage Sites

Heritage West Coast have an amazing Augmented Reality app available to download from their website - learn about the stories from yesteryear and see how the buildings looked from years gone by as you travel around our region.

For more information on West Coast History & Heritage sites please visit:

We have listed 8 History and Heritage products. You can search by name, place or quality ratings

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Discover fascinating stories of real New Zealanders and experience a recreated gold-rush village. West Coast isolation, extreme weather and rugged terrain produced stories of fortitude and ingenuity. Shantytown tells these pioneering stories through a fascinating mix of experience and displays.
Ride the Steam Train through native rainforest, experience the sights and sounds of a working sawmill, watch the sluice gun...

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The Hokitika Museum is a regional museum located in the heart of Westland and housed in the historic Carnegie Building.

Audio-visuals provide a great introduction to the West Coast while exhibitions tell stories of pounamu, tangata whenua, the gold-rush, whitebaiting and more. Don’t miss the giant Meccano model dredge or the quiz for kids! Open 7 days.

The museum has a great...

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From $3

TripAdvisor rating: 4.5

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating: 4.5 based on 58 reviews.

The Nile River Rainforest Train Is a short interpretative train journey through primeval rain forest whilst seated in small open sided carriages. The journey takes you in to the magnificent Nile River Canyon & passes through the “The Lost World” film site. The train will wait at the “Soft Rock” Terminal while visitors take a short 200 metre forest walk...

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Westland Greenstone specialises in the design and manufacture of quality New Zealand Jade Jewellery, Sculptures and Ornaments. We produce a wide range of traditional and contemporary designs and are prepared to guarantee the authentic New Zealand origin of our products. You are welcome to enter our carving room to view our Carvers at work. Paua, Bone and other jewellery also...

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TripAdvisor rating: 5

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating: 5.0 based on 4 reviews.

Hokitika is the home of Pounamu. NZ’s largest range of quality and affordable Pounamu/Jade carvings and sculptures are on display in our spacious modern retail shop.

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TripAdvisor rating: 3.5

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating: 3.5 based on 14 reviews.

Come coal mining with us.
Enjoy a fully guided tour into an original 1880's underground coal mine.
Kitted out with a hard hat, lamp & raincoat a narrow gauge train takes you along the spectacular Waimangaroa Gorge and then 170 metres uphill into the oldest of Dennistons' mines.
Advanced audio visuals bring the experience alive with the sights and sounds that would have...

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From $95

TripAdvisor rating: 5

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating: 5.0 based on 26 reviews.

Coaltown is brand- new museum dedicated to telling the stories of the pioneers who battled our rugged environment in search of a better life.
The Buller District has a rich history and our brand-new museum which opened in June 2013 is dedicated to telling the stories of the pioneers who battled our rugged environment in search of a better life.

Displays:

Westport...

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Greymouth

Discover how the pioneers lived and developed the West Coast. Research facilities available.

Open 10am - 4pm week days & summer weekends.

Entry: Adults $5 Children $2

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