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Shantytown Heritage Park

316 Rutherglen Road, Charleston, West Coast
Accessible Educational Indoor Outdoor Sight Seeing Tours Walking
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Explore the Village – Shantytown

Thirty Shops and Buildings to Explore.

With two village streets filled with shops and buildings to explore, you’ll find fascinating stories of life in the early years of colonisation both on the West Coast and New Zealand.

Gold Panning

Gold Panning is our speciality!

Catch gold fever and pan for your own gold. Our gold panning team will tutor you to find your own piece of ‘colour’. Or you can try your hand at ‘wild’ panning, grab a pan and haul your own shingle out of the sluice area, then pan in the ponds – try your luck, nuggets have been found in them thar hills.

Ride the Steam Train

All tickets to Shantytown include a ride on one of our vintage steam or diesel trains. Our first train departs from the railway station at 11:00am, followed by a second trip at 12:30pm and our final journey of the day at 2:00pm.

On either the 1877 L-Class, 1896 improved F-Class Kaitangata or 1957 TR 107 Diesel, you will take a short trip through lush native rain forest along the Infants Creek Tram line which follows an original sawmill tram track of the 1800’s. The 1.5 km track travels to a photo stop at the end of the line, where you will find information about saw-milling in the area and maybe see a few weka – a native NZ flightless bird.

On the return trip your Train will stop at the Infants Creek Sawmill where you will disembark and take a short walk to our gold claim and sluice area. The mighty sluice gun is fired up four times per day. You’ll watch this giant water cannon blast gold bearing gravel from the cliff face, then follow the water races to the gold claim where our gold mining team will tutor you to find your own gold! When you have panned your gold (guaranteed a strike) another short bush clad walk will have you back in the heart of the Town. More details on our trains…

Museum – Our Collection

With over 10,000 objects, 2000 photographs and 1000 archives our collection is vast. Items originate from 1850 to 1940 and include an array of objects from small day-to-day household items to large mechanical items such as Steam Engines.

Although Shantytown officially opened in January 1971, the West Coast Historical Society had been collecting relics since 1968. Local families and businesses have kindly donated most of the objects and photographs giving our collection an authentic West Coast provenence . We hold some rare and significantly important items which include, bankers gold scales, early settlers furniture, West Coast photographs, Chinese relics, gold mining equipment and vintage clothing.

Stay Kiwi members save 10% off entry.

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