Once upon a time, folks piled into Kumara's two theatres, waltzing until dawn and roaring with delight at travelling circus acts that passed through this gold-rush town. But with the glittering 1880s long faded into memory, only a threadbare settlement remains, near the western end of Arthur's Pass (30km south of Greymouth). Thanks to local enthusiasm for Kumara's boom time, display panels around town tell stories of feisty figures from history while the Theatre Royal Hotel and other converted period properties offer a glimpse of life in the gold-flecked past.
In recent times Kumara's main claim to fame is as a supporter of the multisport Coast to Coast race (www.coasttocoast.co.nz). Held each February, the strong, the brave and the totally knackered run, cycle and kayak a total of 243km all the way across the mountains to Christchurch, with top competitors dusting it off in just under 11 hours.