“There’s gold in them thar hills” is a 19th Century expression that is still alive on the West Coast.

Virtually every rock-bound riverbed yields secrets of heritage gold diggings. Fossick in the loose gravels of any tumbling mountain stream on the Coast and you have a good prospect of winning a small ‘colour’.

Visitors to the West Coast can have a personal experience of the 1860’s gold rush days at Shantytown. This authentic recreation of an historic gold town is located just off the main road, 11 km south of Greymouth. History comes to life here in the form of vintage steam train rides, horse and buggy jaunts, Cobb & Co Coach rides, a pioneer’s sawmill, a working gold claim and over 30 authentic and replica buildings.

A shrill blast from the 1896 steam locomotive ‘Kaitangata’ announces the train’s departure. You will ride back in time to a vintage sawmill deep in the forest. A photo stop allows time to inspect the venerable locomotive, which runs very smoothly and efficiently along the bush track.

Bus Pass New Zealand

Back in Shantytown, visit the Golden Nugget Hotel Saloon and the charming Everybody’s Tea Rooms. Admire the Old World decor and displays of china and glassware. Do the rounds of the livery stables, blacksmith, fire station, gaol and Chinatown’s shanties with their basic home comforts. Don’t miss the displays of precious stones and local crafts at the gem and mineral hall .

Join the modern-day gold rush at Shantytown, and pan for gold just like the prospectors of old. The gold claim is set in an original working mine, where a high pressure sluicing gun brings gravels down from the face. These gravels are then washed over a series of riffles in the tailrace boxes where the precious metal is trapped. Visitors can pan the gravels in water-filled tubs, to reveal specks of bright shining gold. They take gold poaching seriously here. Along the ‘Crittur’s Track’ warning signs tell intruders to ‘Keep Out’, and threaten that ‘any varmits caught robin the sluice box will get hung fast’.

This recreation of the rollicking ‘gold fever’ days makes a thoroughly enjoyable family outing.

By | 2016-11-26T18:58:56+00:00 October 7th, 2013|West Coast|1 Comment

About the Author:

Danny de Hek
Like most people, I have many passions, goals and dreams. As a self made business professional, my focus is helping my clients, associates and friends, build, strengthen and maintain their success. It would be fair to say I am in the full time business of building relationships and feel my purpose and skill is connecting the right people with the right people. My professional work tends to dominate my personal life, to the horror of my partner and business mentor. They both fully support me yet give me the hard truths when I need to hear this. I am always investing in my personal development to have a fulfilled work/life balance. I enjoy Target Shooting, Hiking & Mountain Biking to clear the brain and to take the guilt away when indulging at a quirky cafe for a cooked breakfast or brunch. My passion for travelling has seen me experience the world on many occasions, my next adventure will be doing the Tibet Rail Journey on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway from Lhasa to Golmud as long as they have Wi-Fi aboard ;-) I have many goals I still wish to achieve but am pretty chuffed that I have accomplished so many of these already.

One Comment

  1. 10 October 2014 at 3:18 am

    Really enjoy visiting Shanty Town when visiting the West Coast, it entertains the kids and always seems like there is more and more to see each time. While there, make sure you take your bike as well to have a go on the West Coast bike rides.

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