In its heyday, this Coal Mine was a bustling network of tunnels filled with men, pit ponies, coal dust and dim lights. Deep below the surface the miners geared up in hardhats and cap lamps toiled, digging the valuable black coal used to power steam ships and railway networks.

The Experience

Enjoy a fully guided tour into an original 1880’s underground coal mine.

Kitted out with a hard hat, lamp and raincoat 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 into the mine.

Advanced audio and visuals bring the experience alive, with the sights and sounds that would have been usual back in that time. Have a go at your allocated mining job; hewer, trucker, clipper, maybe you will be the shot firer........ Learn of the myths and legends of the early coal mining culture and discover the lost mining language of banjos, sprags and devils. Watch a ghostly miner hologram to understand the harsh life of an old time Denniston coal miner.

Booking/Departure Details

  • Tour Duration:

    2 hours from the Denniston carpark.   

  • Please arrive 30 minutes prior to tour departure for ‘gearing up’.

  • Availability: Contact us for tour times 
Usual tour times are 11am and 2pm, however please 
call us as we may alter these to fit in with customers

  • Price: Adult $95   Child $65 (5 to 14 years)

    Seniors $86 (New Zealand Gold Card holders only)

    Family $260 (2 adults and 2 children)

    Enquire about special school and charter booking rates

    We are unable to take children under 5 years old on this tour

  • Booking: Seating is limited and advance booking is essential

    Phone: 0800 881 880

    or +64 21 936 094 for international calls

Physical Ability

Visitors must be able to walk unassisted for 1/2 hour, some of which is graded. 

Minimum age is 5 years and all children under 15 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.

What To Bring

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

  • Sturdy footwear (walking/running shoes are adequate)

  • Clothes comfortable for walking in

  • An extra layer of warm clothes

  • Camera

  • Any medication you require

Visitors will be provided with a hard hat, headlamp and a waterproof jacket.

Book now phone 0800 881 880

Mine Safety

Click here for further information about safety at the Denniston mine.


Highlights Include:

  • A rail journey along the spectacular Waimangaroa Gorge and into the mine
  • A fully guided tour, including the simulated sights and sounds of 1880's underground mine life
  • A unique interactive underground experience playing the role of a miner
  • An insight into early underground coal production and transport
  • A ghostly hologram tells the stories of some of Denniston`s famous inhabitants

  • Tagging in and out of the coal mine

The Brake Head

We value our visitors' comments. Here's what they have said on Trip Advisor:

“Workin in a coal mine!”

Reviewed November 19, 2012

Booked this tour at the Westport i-site (excellent NZ visitor centre network). My Dad who is a Westport local (for the whitebait!) really enjoyed this tour as our ancestors had worked at Denniston in the early 1900s. The price seemed high at first but afterwards we realised it was fantastic value. The staff were hilarious and made the experience even better and one of the guides had even worked "the incline" himself. A life in the day of a coal miner recreated. The work put into this tour is great, we especially loved the ending (can't spoil it!) and the train ride brilliant, even the drive up the hill! Highly recommended PLUS glow worms!

Visited October 2012


Perth, Australia

“Incredible Experience”

Reviewed January 16, 2013

This attraction is not cheap but worth every $. Those of you scared of mines as I was will find the ceilings very high and quite obviously very very sound so I didn't feel nervous or claustrophobic. The guides were so very interesting and we could choose 'coal mining 'jobs to give us some idea of what it was like working down there. Information about how the mines were excavated, coal hauled out, clever simple inventions and on the surface interesting machinery everywhere. You can see where the incline is and it would be wonderful if that could be restored. Our guide was an ex miner and he took us down in a little train. Wouldn't have missed it for anything. You are provided with jackets and hard hats but it is a dry mine.
You can drive/walk around Denniston - nearly always misty, still a few houses left. Lots of walkways and there is just a feel about the place which makes it so different to other parts of the West Coast.

Visited November 2012


Wellington, NZ



For general information and bookings contact:
The Denniston Experience
Free Phone: 0800 881 880


Operated By: Stelvio Ltd
Box 21-720
Auckland 0650
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