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Denniston Incline Walk

Home  »  South Island Walks  »  Waimangaroa  »  Denniston Incline Walk – Walk detail

The Denniston Incline walk is really interesting especially if you’re into history on the West Coast. It’s a steep, hard 1.3km walk that will take you around 3 hours.  Every steep I took I was standing next to another piece of Denniston coal mining history. Even looking over into the bush I saw a lot of old machinery rusting away, if only it could talk to me, I would sit there all day and listen to its exciting stories.

Quick Facts

        • Location: West Coast South Island
        • Distance: 1.30 kms
        • Time needed: 3 Hours
        • Difficulty: Hard
        • Wheelchair Access: No
        • Route: One Way
        • Elevation: 560m
        • Wet Feet: No
        • Toilets: Yes
        • Dogs: Yes
        • Mobile Coverage: Yes
        • Last Updated: November, 2019
  • Track Highlights

    The Incline and the view from to top

  • Track Quality

    Steep climb and very over grown, wear heavy long pants and shirt, a pair of gloves as well. One rocky creek to cross.

  • Hazards

    Unknown

  • Transport

    No

  • Water

    No

  • Driving Instructions

    Drive North up the coast for 16 Km to the village of Waimangaroa. Turn right into the village then follow the sign to Denniston Incline.

  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

    A 16Km drive into Westport

  • Area & Track History

    In 1879 the Denniston Incline was built to move coal from Denniston down 1.700 feet to Conn’s Creek. 14 wagons of coal per hour at 12 tons each speed along at 80 kph down the 1 in 1.69. Incline. The Denniston mining community of over 1500 people had only one way to get from Denniston down to Conn’s Creek and back, ride the 1,700 feet in the coal wagons. A lot of food and household goods and people never made the dangerous journey up to Denniston. When the new 5km Bridle Track was opened in 1858 It was forbidden ride the coal wagons. In 1967 the incline was closed because of the drop in coal sales and the expensive repair work needed to keep the Denniston incline operating. After moving 12 million tons down the Denniston incline it was decided to close it down and use trucks to move the coal down the new Denniston Road.

  • Best Things To Do near this walk

  • Map location of Denniston Incline Walk

    Map of walk

Points of interest along the walk

In the map above, if you zoom in on the walk, you’ll see all the following track points and their location. Each point has photos along with a description about each one.

Point 1: Denniston Incline

From Highway 67 you need to turn in to Waimangaroa village, turn left onto Banbury St then left on to Conns creek Rd. Drive the 2km onto Conns Creek Yards.

Point 2: Middle Brake

The only challenge was getting across Conns creek, no wet feet but big rocks. From there it is a big climb up the Denniston incline to the middle brake. There was a bit of gorse to push though, as for the incline you need strong boots to dig into the ground for grip. You will also see a few coal trucks that have broken away and crashed in to the bush. I enjoyed looking around the middle brake. Every steep I took I was standing next to another piece of Denniston coal mining history. Even looking over into the bush I saw a lot of old machinery rusting away, if only it could talk to me, I would sit there all day and listen to its exciting stories.

Point 3: Denniston Incline Breakhead

The extremely steep climb from Middle Brake was just as exciting, tin shacks, wire ropes, coal trucks, steel pipes and steel trestle littering the Denniston Incline. At 12 shillings a day the miners would have had a hard life. At the top of the Denniston Incline Breakhead there is a lot to see, so give your self time to walk around. I was told that they were running an under ground tour somewhere up there, so look into it when you arrive in Westport. To get home I scooted around to the Denniston Bridle Track, 5m away and took the 2 hour down hill run instead of being picked up at the car park.

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Contact info

Denniston 7891, New Zealand

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