We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

The Denniston Experience

Certificate of Excellence
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Your filters are still active.
There are no pins in your viewport. Try moving the map or changing your filters.
Sponsored by:
Get directions
Address: Denniston Plateau, Denniston, Westport, New Zealand
Phone Number: +64 800 881 880
Website
Improve this listing
Today
9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Closed now
See all hours
Hours:
Sun - Sat 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Description:

New Zealand's only underground coal mining experience!

Enjoy a fully guided...

New Zealand's only underground coal mining experience!

Enjoy a fully guided tour into an original 1880's underground coal mine. Kitted out with a hard hat, lamp and raincoat your journey begins with a short guided walk from the carpark to the railway station. A narrow gauge train takes you along a section of the old coal haulage route, with spectacular views over the Waimangaroa Gorge and then into the mine. Advanced audio and visuals bring the experience alive, with the sights and sounds that would have been usual back in that time. Have a go at your allocated mining job; hewer, trucker, clipper, maybe you will be the shot firer. Learn of the myths and legends of the early coal mining culture. Watch a ghostly miner hologram to understand the harsh life of an old time Denniston coal miner.

Open every day! The onsite office is often unmanned - Please phone to book in advance.

read more

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 78 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 68
    Excellent
  • 10
    Very good
  • 0
    Average
  • 0
    Poor
  • 0
    Terrible
Amazing experience

We showed up in mid jan (peak summer) and it was raining and freezing cold - it really set the scene for how hard these miners were. The guide was just awesome, super knowledgable... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed 3 days ago
Gus M
via mobile
Add Photo Write a Review

78 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language
Level Contributor
4 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

We showed up in mid jan (peak summer) and it was raining and freezing cold - it really set the scene for how hard these miners were. The guide was just awesome, super knowledgable about all of the ins and outs of mining and the denniston mine itself (having worked there when he was 15). The mine itself was stunning,... More 

Helpful?
Thank Gus M
Auckland, New Zealand
Level Contributor
38 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Spending nearly two hours in a real coal mine with a real coal miner is something quite extraordinary. The Denniston plateau is one of New Zealand's formative locations, not only for coal, but also for the rights of women, the education of children, the strength of the labour unions and the creation of the welfare state that made NZ what... More 

Helpful?
Thank 367john
Vienna, Austria
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Coal mining and associated engineering might sound a bit dull for some, but rest assured the "Experience" will turn a dusty topic into a great adventure for kids of all ages - from 5 to 95 (agility permitting!). History really comes alive as you take the railway into the old mine workings, and with a bit of role play experience... More 

Helpful?
Thank SteveXNZ
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
166 reviews
56 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We found this on trip advisor and decided to go and have a visit. It's not very well advertised unfortunately but we had a great experience. The journey up the mountain is fun to get there, and when you do, you see so much of the old above ground workings and the information boards are really interesting. John, ex miner,... More 

Helpful?
Thank stevesmith10
Wellington, New Zealand
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Four adults and 2 grandchildren 11 and 8. Thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Outstanding and educational. Grandkids had so many questions. To experience a major part of NZ past this is a must do trip.

Helpful?
Thank billybob927
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
16 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We did the Gorge Express train ride, which ran into the mine entrance. In the mine, we were shown a couple of the tunnels where mining was done. Nigel Slonker, the tour operator and guide, is an experienced miner who has worked in a number of different countries. He knows what he is talking about and addresses visitors as equals... More 

Helpful?
Thank John14450
Wellington, New Zealand
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

With a guide who used to work in the mine, this is a superb attraction. You get minecart rides, the opportunity to really experience life underground. An absolute highlight of our trip around the South Island. exciting, educational and awe inspiring. our kids (11 and 8) loved it as they got to play real, life, Minecraft! Just fantastic!

Helpful?
Thank RyanDay
Auckland, New Zealand
Level Contributor
27 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

This was a fantastic experience for the adults in our group. The guide, John, was very knowledgable and entertaining. Our children did not find the experience as entertaining, but still enjoyed it

Helpful?
Thank scutty1
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

The Denniston experience is well worth the trip to Westport. We went in our family group plus grandpa and with out exception are now raving. The tour guides (John and Nigel) were droll and entertaining and our daughter added to the drama by truly believing she was the shotfirer. Worth going even if it's bucketing down.

Helpful?
Thank Rebecca P
Huntly, New Zealand
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Amazing half day attraction based on historical facts, events and locations. This was the highlight of our visit to the West Coast without doubt. Nigel the tour guide is so experience, knowledgable and leaves you in no doubt about the safety of the underground mine, so have no fears.The hands on experience you can partake in, are very realistic.The underground... More 

Helpful?
Thank exminer73

Travelers who viewed The Denniston Experience also viewed

Westport, West Coast Region
Westport, West Coast Region
 
Westport, West Coast Region
Westport, West Coast Region
 

Been to The Denniston Experience? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of The Denniston Experience and other visitors
1 question
Ask a question
Papamoa, New Zealand

See all questions (1)

Questions? Get answers from The Denniston Experience staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Will you pick up and drop off at my hotel?
  • I have a family of 7. Can your tour accommodate all of us together?
  • How should I dress for this tour?
#