Shantytown Heritage Park
At the Shantytown Heritage Park, learn about the early years of European settlement on the West Coast. Ride an authentic steam train, pan for gold the way prospectors did in the 19th century, and check out an old-fashioned sawmill. Or, wander around the model Gold Rush–era town, then go for a walk in the rain forest.
Save time and money by purchasing your ticket online. Entry includes a ride on the steam train, a holographic theater show, and a sluice gun demonstration. There’s a separate fee for gold panning.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Shantytown Heritage Park is a must-do for history buffs and families.
Take a waterproof jacket—the West Coast gets a lot of rain.
The on-site café serves beverages, snacks, and meals.
For a fun memento of your visit, have an “old time” photo taken in period dress. Booking ahead is recommended, and essential for Saturday visits.
How to Get There
Just off State Highway 6 (SH6), Shantytown is 6 miles (10 kilometers) south of Greymouth and 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Hokitika. The easiest way to get there is by private vehicle—follow the signs.
When to Get There
Shantytown is open all day, year-round (except on December 25). The last steam train departs about an hour before closing.
The Wildfoods Festival
If you happen to be on or near the West Coast in March, don’t miss the annual Wildfoods Festival in Hokitika. As the name suggests, you’ll find food that many people would consider “a little wild” or out of the ordinary, such as bugs, snails, and different kinds of entrails. There are also plenty of non-wild foods available at this family-friendly event.