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While the South Island's West Coast is well known for its magnificent scenery and glaciers, no visit to the area is complete without experiencing Shantytown.
The discovery of gold in 1864 led to a population "explosion" – from around 300 to almost 30,000 residents. Isolation, rugged terrain and extreme weather conditions produced stories of fortitude and ingenuity.
Shantytown tells these stories of New Zealand gold mining history through a fascinating mix of experience and displays. Ride the Steam Train along an original tramway through native rainforest, stop for a photo and watch out for the wekas! Our friendly loco drivers are happy to show you the cab.
Experience the sights and sounds of a working sawmill, watch the mighty sluice gun in action. Follow the races and flumes to the Gold Claim where our Gold Miner will tutor you to pan for your own gold – a strike is guaranteed – you might want to trade your gold in the village.
Beautiful short bushwalks make the rainforest easy to get into and experience at your leisure. The Village, borne of the gold rush offers delicious refreshments from Everybodys Tearooms, while the kids can enjoy the flying fox, or try their hand at the Gold-Rush Treasure Hunt. Explore the 30 shops and buildings that show a slice of life from the early days.
Stop a while and browse the Curio for gifts or send a postcard stamped with the Shantytown's own Post Mark. For a memento of your visit to Shantytown nothing is better than to grab a costume and get an old time photo. There is so much to see and do at Shantytown while learning about gold mining in New Zealand.
First conceived 40 years ago, the local community built and continues to be heavily involved in Shantytown Heritage Park. The Park is run by a Trust and all profits go back into the business. Highlights include:
The West Coast Event Centre's team is committed to providing a seamless service with the highest level of professionalism. With over 50 national and international conferences and over 500 other successful events under our belt, our team is well versed in event planning. With specialist local knowledge and innovative thinking, the team will strive to take care of every detail to ensure a successful event.
Nestled in the heart of a busy heritage attraction and museum is the West Coast's largest conference and events centre. Shantytown Heritage Park is home to the West Coast Events Centre which has two large facilities that can host small, intimate meetings to large corporate events reaching up to 650 delegates.
On-site catering, fully licenced bar, large carparks and the ability to offer several options as breakout rooms allows the West Coast Events Centre to host all types of events from weddings, day meetings, multiple-day conferences, gala dinners, tradeshows, balls and productions.