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Denniston Plateau

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Denniston historic remains Denniston historic remains

The plateau is a must-do visit where you will discover the narrative of what it was like to be a miner on the Denniston Plateau. The extraordinary uplifted plateau is a drive into another world where coal was king. The Denniston Plateau is home to one of the richest, high quality coal seams in New Zealand. For decades it was the country’s largest producing coal mine, with an estimated 12 million ton carried down the incline during its operation from October 1879 to August 1967. Denniston was created by coal and existed only to produce coal. With the mine’s closure, Denniston closed.

The town has disappeared into the efficient recycling world of the west coast with very little evidence of the residences and homes of over 2,000 people. Only two houses remain. Yet steps to nowhere, abandoned mining equipment is everywhere and extensive industrial foundations, house piles remind visitors of the disappeared people and town. Spectacular mist swirls around the landscape adding to the sense of closure and history where people once stood. Coal is still mined in the area today at the nearby Cascade mine and New Zealand’s largest opencast mining operation in Stockton.

Denniston incline

How to find Denniston

Denniston is approximately 30 minutes from Westport. Travel along State Highway 67 and turn right at Waimangaroa. From here the Denniston Hill road twists and turns for 8 km, taking around 15 minutes to arrive at The Denniston Experience. All roads are sealed. You are climbing 1.7 km over 600 metres in elevation. It is a great start to the Denniston journey.

Denniston Experience Underground Mine Tours is a must do part of the exploration of the coal mine. Over 179 metres of the Banbury Mine is a replica 1880’s mining site. There are hologram displays and interactive exhibits as well as working equipment. The atmosphere and sense of what it is like to work underground is faithfully portrayed.

Displays and lighting were installed in the walk around areas and cross cuts.

  • Tours: Operate daily
  • Open: Check availability
  • Admission: Fees apply
  • Book: Phone  0800 881 880

Weather on Denniston is sub-alpine

The weather at Denniston is sub-alpine and can change quickly, so please bring:

  • Sturdy closed in footwear (walking/running shoes are adequate)
  • An extra layer of warm clothes
  • A raincoat
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