Denniston Plateau

An historic guided tour exploring the coalmining towns on the Denniston Plateau.

Denniston Plateau

The Denniston Tour takes the visitor to the coal plateau high above the coastal flats. Here underground miners toiled extracting high quality coal and there are many amazing relics from the mining era. Denniston is an area rich in history, unusual landforms and outstanding scenery.

Tour details

Duration: 5 hours
Departure time: 9.30am
Departs from: Westport i-SITE Visitor Centre (see map)

Trip is weather dependant and requires a minimum of 6 people. For smaller groups contact us on 0800 688 937.

After a 20 minute drive north from Westport we arrive at Conns Creek located in the spectacular Waimangaroa River gorge. Here coal wagons that came down the famous Denniston Incline arrived at the rail line.

Then it’s onto the winding road up the coastal escarpment with great views to the coast below. Arriving at Denniston, 600 metres above sea level, we take time to view the coal mining relics and excellent information panels at the top of the Denniston Incline. Look down the incline to Conns Creek and be amazed at the steep grade. A short walk through lush forest leads to a clearing where the Banbury Arch, a man-made arch on the old rope road, comes into view.

We then drive through the remnants of the once thriving town of Denniston.  Not much is left here but 100 years ago Denniston and the adjacent settlements of Burnetts Face and Coalbrookdale had a population of 2,000. Only a few people live on the plateau now.  The Friends of the Hill museum is our next stop and here we have lunch and inspect more information about life at Denniston in its heyday.

From the museum we travel across the rocky sandstone plateau and above the extensive underground mines. The Unimog then climbs up to Mt Rochfort (1040 metres above sea level) from where superb panoramic scenery to the coast below and the rugged mountains to the east is viewed.

Departing Mt Rochfort, we travel back across the plateau and then down the escarpment arriving back at Westport 45 mins later.

What to bring