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Introduction

Explore what was once one of New Zealand's most productive coal mines, or discover gold mining relics, coastal scenery or a waterfall on walks in the area.

Place overview

Activities

  • Mountain biking
  • Walking and tramping

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Find things to do Greymouth area

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About track difficulties
About track difficulties

Heritage sightseeing

Ramble round the ruins of the old Blackball Coal Mine site make for an evocative industrial heritage experience, or visit the restored Brunner Bridge. The Brunner Mine Historic Area combines fascinating history, extensive mining ruins, a great natural setting.

Read more about Greymouth's heritage.

Gold fossicking

A recreational gold fossicking area has been established at Nelson Creek, you are invited to bring a goldpan and have a go at fossicking, no licence is required but your respect is appreciated.

Getting to the gold fossicking area: From the true right end of Nelson Creek swingbridge follow the track left to the first creek you come to, follow up Gows Creek the Prices Creek about 400 metres by way of easy flats and creek-crossings until you reach a signpost indicating the start of the gold panning area. The area follows up Prices Creek bed for 1 km. Another fossicking area is located up Claughesys Creek, this area is not signposted, inquire at the Greymouth Office for more details.

Fossick with care for the environment:

  • Be informed of all statutory regulations that govern prospecting activities in New Zealand.
  • Prospect only in the permitted area.
  • Only drive your vehicles on tracks and roads open to the public.
  • Do not remove or damage any shrubs or trees, and minimise damage to ground layer vegetation.
  • Restore the ground as you found it. Backfill any holes you dig and replace any leaf litter as it was as best you can.
  • Equipment for excavation on the land other than hand tools may not be used. Never use explosives.
  • Don't disturb, destroy, interfere with or endanger an archaeological site or place of cultural significance.
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    About this place

    History and culture

    Ramble round the ruins of the old Blackball Coal Mine site make for an evocative industrial heritage experience, or visit the restored Brunner Bridge. The Brunner Mine Historic Area combines fascinating history, extensive mining ruins, a great natural setting.

    Read more about Greymouth's heritage.

    Getting there

    Travel down SH6 via Westport or turn off SH6 at Inangahua Junction and drive down via Reefton on SH69 and SH7. You can also get there from the south using SH6. 

    Those arriving on the West Coast using SH73 over Arthur's Pass need to turn right onto SH6 at Kumara Junction. 

    Walks in this area are accessed from SH6 to the north of Greymouth or from SH7 to the west. Backcountry areas can be accessed from local highways and roads. Often access is through private land.

    There is also the TranzAlpine train which travels from Christchurch to Greymouth return each day.

    Know before you go

    You should wear comfortable footwear and take wet weather clothes as the West Coast is known for sudden changes in the weather.

    Weather conditions can change rapidly - rain can make even small streams rise quickly, and slips and damage to bridges can occur. Before starting out it is best to check with your local DOC office for the latest weather and track conditions.

    In areas where gold mining has occurred it is advisable to keep to the track as there could be mine shafts scattered through the area, many often covered by vegetation.

    Contacts

    Māwhera / Greymouth Office
    Phone:   +64 3 768 0427
    Address:   17 High Street
    Greymouth 7805
    Email:   greymouth@doc.govt.nz
    Full office details
    Reefton Visitor Centre i-SITE Information Centre
    Phone:   +64 3 732 8391
    Address:   67–69 Broadway
    Reefton
    Email:   reefton@i-site.org
    Full office details
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