Denniston Plateau

As tourists flock to New Zealand in ever increasing numbers to ogle at the spectacular scenery and open spaces the country is famous for, other non-scenic attractions are now being added to the list of “things to see” in this small South Pacific nation.


The South Island town of Westport is located at the mouth of the Buller River on the storm ravaged west coast. With the discovery of coal deposits around the area in the 1870s, a railway was built from Westport along the coastal flats to the Mokihinui Mine. When a rich coalfield was discovered high up on the Mt. Rochfort Plateau, 600 metres above sea level, the challenge was how to transport the coal to Westport. The problem was solved in 1879 with the construction of the remarkable Denniston Incline. This allowed coal to be shifted down the steep mountainside to Conns Creek where a regular steam locomotive belonging to New Zealand Railways, took the loads to Westport, 19km away. read more