It rains a lot on the West Coast, even more on the ranges. Rain does not usually stop us operating tours - come prepared for a wee summer shower to full on deluge and possibly very cold temperatures!
We do reserve the right to not operate in extreme weather hence why we need an NZ contact number with your booking - we will call if we're cancelling.
If it's a nice day? Refreshments, picnics, sunblock! Fantastic views on a clear day.
If it's a wet day? Your own wet weather gear and an extra layer for warmth! "No such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing" - Billy Connelly said something similar.
Sturdy, closed-in, non-slip footwear is compulsory due to the nature of the mine floor.
Our hard hats are 'one size fits all' for adults. They will not fit small children, or very small heads, so if you have cycle helmets please bring them. You're welcome to bring your own torch to supplement the cap lamp - definitely a good idea for the children or those with visual impairments.
Young or old, it depends on how mobile you are. There are no handrails and the walkways are not level.
The 500 metre walk down to the train is ok - the guide usually takes 30+/- minutes to walk groups from reception to the train station. It's the walk back up - it's a short, steep section of footpath to/from the train station area.
For the interactive Underground Experience - the walk up the tunnel to the interactive area is a gentle slope for 200 metres in extreme low lighting. The Gorge Express only go a maximum of 40 metres before returning to the train.
Unfortunately the gravelled footpaths, rail tracks and uneven surfaces mean that overall both tours are not suitable for people with significant mobility difficulties.
Both 9:30 am tours are definitely subject to minimum numbers of 4 adults (equivalent). The other times and tours have a minimum of 2 adults (equivalent). We'll let you know if we can or cannot take your booking when you send it through.
We have a maximum of 18-20 per trip - physical constraints of the carriage. We do cater for much larger groups - 93 has been the largest.
We'd like to think so. However it does depend on what the children will get from either tour as both have a lot of historical narration.
Children under 5, or who cannot walk by themselves, are not permitted on the Underground Union Experience. And teenagers wanting a thrilling, dangerous activity may not enjoy the experience.
All children 15 years and under must be accompanied by an adult.
So is one of the concession holders! She goes in by herself to open and close the mine, and comes out intact.
Never fear, if you start the tour then find you cannot go into the mine, or get part way and it all goes pear-shaped, we have strategies to help. You never know until you try.
Yes. Our tour guides are a variety of local coasters, North Islanders and one Englishman/Kiwi.
Also the ghostly holograms speak in Northern England English being the language of the miners here during the late 19th Century.
No. However, we have teamed up with Buller Taxis so you can book your tour and taxi through us. Quite reasonable rates although there are minimum numbers required.
To Denniston - Yes. On the tours - No.
We are covered by the Buller District Council rules relating to dogs, so please ensure you bring a leash and poop bag. There are no drinking water facilities here so water is also important.
There are also no rubbish disposal facilities here so please do the right thing.
We sell a small selection of soft drinks plus bottled water only. However, The Coal Face store in Waimangaroa has a wide range of items and GREAT PIES!
When venturing to Denniston, keep in mind that if the store is closed, you are at least 20-30 minutes from the next nearest convenience store.
The mine was opened in 1879 and for many years was used as the main haulage tunnel for other Denniston mines, remaining stable and undamaged for over 130 years. It has been geologically assessed and strengthened with modern roof support systems.
The mine has natural ventilation adits and is equipped with extensive safety equipment. The mine is inspected by a fully qualified NZ 1st Class Coal Mine Manager, is subject to monthly safety equipment checks by an independent person and is audited on an annual basis.
Our thanks to the contributors to the Denniston Development Project