Denniston walking tracks: Walking and tramping in Denniston area

Denniston walking track
Image: Baptiste Maryns ©


Explore the wild and remote environment of the Denniston Plateau. The historic sites provide a glimpse of times gone by.

Track overview

1.1 km - 4.2 km

Walking and tramping

40 min - 6 hr Easy: Walking track

Dog access

No dogs

About this track


Denniston is steeped in coal mining history. You can follow the same tracks that residents and miners did over a hundred years ago and explore the many relics still there.

Interpretation panels bring to life the history of Denniston.


Denniston Bridle Path

Time: 3 hrs up, 2 hrs 30 min down
Distance: 4.2 km each way

Signposted from Conns Creek Road behind Waimangaroa at the bottom end and Denniston township at the top, a bridle track makes a pleasant if steep bush walk. A short branch track near the top leads to the incline that carried coal down(and occasional cool-nerved passengers up). A lower branch to the Waimangaroa-Denniston road offers a shorter walking option.

Aside from the incline, which was used for the transportation of coal, the bridle path, completed in 1884, was the only means of access to Denniston. Travel along this route was either by horse, or on foot. 

This track is maintained as a tramping track with users requiring high levels of fitness and experience.

Sections of the track involve creeks crossings, slippery rocks and a narrow track on a steep slope. Creeks are subject to sudden high flows. Suitable footwear, experience and care is required.

Brakehead Walk

Time: 40 min loop
Distance: 1.1 km

Starting at the Brakehead, this 40 minute walk leads past 'The camp' Denniston's first settlement, and on to the Banbury Arch viewpoint, returning via the historic mine workshop site. Many relics from Denniston's past can be seen on this walk.

Town Walk

Time: 40 min return
Distance:  1.3 km

Starting at the 'school site' by the Friends of the Hill Museum, this 40 minute walk takes you through the old streets of Denniston township. Passing by the bowling green and beside old residential sections, brick chimneys are still evident in various stages of decay. The walk crosses the main highway and runs alongside the old Denniston-Burnetts Face rope road, before emerging again at the 'school site'.

Coalbrookdale Walk

Time: 1 hr return
Distance: 2 km

A good shingle road behind Denniston (still used by coal trucks) leads to the start of the walkway. This follows part of a roperoad that carried coal from the mines to the top of the Denniston Incline. Relics include tunnels, foundations, a haulage winch and the country's best remaining example of a mine fanhouse.

Getting there

Denniston is 18 km northeast of Westport. From Westport, follow SH67 north for 15 km. Turn right at Waimangaroa onto the road to Denniston. 

Know before you go

Safety is your responsibility. Weather conditions at Denniston can be changeable. Ensure you have suitable warm, water proof clothing and suitable footwear.

Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.


Paparoa National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 731 1895
Address:   4294 Coast Road
RD 1
Runanga 7873
Full office details
Kawatiri / Westport Office
Phone:   +64 3 788 8008
Address:   Russell Street
Westport 7825
Full office details
Back to top