Denniston Coal Mining Historic Area
The Denniston Plateau is a large area filled with walking track, mountain biking tracks and even 4WDing tacks. It is also home to the Denniston coal mining historic area, which is a fantastic place to visit to learn all about the coal mining in the West Coast.
Denniston Historic area is about 18 km northeast of Westport, you can walk up to the historical area via the 3hr one way Bridle track if you wish. This track is a very steep incline but view full walk which follows the old path used back in 1884 up to the Denniston township historical area.
We decided with two young kids just to drive to the top and look around from there. Once you get to the top, just off the car park you will find a range of very well presented information panels, these are full of great information and stories on the gold mining in the area.
You will also find the Kiwi Guardian post just off the side of the car park, I have to admit that this was a little disappointing that the post was right there in the car park and not within the historical area its self.
Once we had a good read of some of the sign posts by the car park we headed off to do the Brakehead Walk which is the loop that takes around the whole historical area to explore all the displays.
This full loop takes about 40min - 1hr to explore while looking around.
The views from the top of the hill were incredible !! even with a haze covering the area from the Australian bush fires it was still an incredible sight.
We took our time exploring around, walking up and down all the wee side tracks and exploring all the historical ruins.
Looking down the old Denniston incline and hearing/reading the stories of miners riding the carts down to Conns Creek, definitively makes you appreciate the life we have now.
It definitely pays to take your time and check out all the week side tracks along the way as some of them have some incredible sights to offer you.
The placement of some of the restored coal carts make for stunning photos, kids can explore all around, touch and feel the old machinery. One thing to keep in mind is there is a lot of exposed metal so keep an eye on wee ones hands.
There is also some incredibly large drop offs, and though most things have rails on them there are still a few areas young kids could get in to a bit of trouble if not careful.
The large stone archways that created bridges on the mountain top for the carts and trains to cross are amazing, and the way nature has started to grow over areas and claim it back makes for some stunning photos.
We explored around for over an hour checking everything out, and even in the height of summer it got a bit chilly when the wind picked up. I would recommend carrying a bag with jackets for all no matter what time of year, the weather could change very quickly up the hill.
I think Denniston is a definitively a must visit if your in the area, it is all completely free and a fantastic place for kids to learn a bit about the coal history.
"It was so cool to look at all the old stuff, i liked the big carts the best" Meika O'Donnell , aged 7yrs
Kiwi Guardian Link
What to Bring
- Jackets, all year round
Time and Distance
Approx 40min -1hr to explore the historical area
- Easy walk for most kids, not overly pram friendly but you could push it around parts of it.
- Keep wee ones close as lots of drop offs and sharp bits
There are a range of paid tours you can go on, inquire at the local I-Site.