Coaltown Museum

Buller Region

Westport's 'black gold' is paid homage at this remarkably interesting museum, adjoining the i-SITE. A replica mine, well-scripted display panels and an excellent selection of photographs and pioneer ephemera allow for an informative trip into the coal-blackened past. Best of all are the Denniston displays, including a whopping brake drum and panels explaining the daily tribulations of miners.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Buller Region attractions

1. Denniston Plateau

10.28 MILES

Six hundred metres above sea level, Denniston was once NZ's largest coal town, with 1500 residents in 1911. By 1981 there were eight. Its claim to fame…

2. Mitchells Gully Goldmine

11.69 MILES

For a true taste of the region’s gold-mining past, swing into this former mine, 3km north of Charleston. You'll get a friendly primer on the 1860s mining…

3. Pancake Rocks

28.53 MILES

Punakaiki's claim to fame is Dolomite Point, where a layering-weathering process called stylobedding has carved the limestone into what looks like piles…

4. Reefton Distilling Co.

28.69 MILES

Every gold-rush town needs a still, and Reefton's got a goodie in the form of this operation that makes use of foraged botanicals and spring water sourced…

5. Bearded Mining Company

28.76 MILES

Looking like a ZZ Top tribute band, the straight-talkin', bearded fellas at this recreated high-street mining hut rollick your socks off with tales tall…

6. Blacks Point Museum

29.87 MILES

Housed in an old church 2km east of Reefton on State Highway 7, this museum is crammed with prospecting paraphernalia.

7. Golden Fleece Battery

29.95 MILES

Up the driveway from Blacks Point Museum is the still-functional Golden Fleece Battery, used for crushing gold-flecked quartz. Ask at the museum for entry.