Banbury underground coal mine
1879-1890, a place all but forgotten.

Unfortunately the tours will remain closed indefinitely due to a change in regulatory mining requirements.

Updates will be posted to this website as information comes to hand or the situation changes.

Underground Union Experience Tour

Take a train ride along the old coal transport road high above the dramatic Waimangaroa Gorge and walk 200 metres into the first of the historic 1880's Denniston coal mines. State-of-the-art audio and visual effects simulate the harsh life of a Denniston miner. Here you will perform your allocated miners job; putting up pit props, shovelling coal, more...

A truly authentic, unique and interactive mine experience

Hardy souls..
..lived and worked in the windswept bleakness of Denniston`s infamous mountain plateau on New Zealand's wild West Coast. Midst the endless tapping of picks, creaking of props and earthy black soot of ever present coal dust from an 1880s coal mine, a proud and close-knit community formed within this remarkable land of contrasts.

Plunge deep...
...into the darkness of one of New Zealand's oldest sources of energy and industrial innovation.

...your own pioneering spirit tagging into the Banbury mine and becoming part of its underground workings - swinging banjo shovels, clipping coal tubs, erecting pit props and imagining the extremes of life at the coalface.

Banbury 1879-1890 - New Zealand's only authentic and interactive underground coal mine still open to the public. Take a journey inward at the place all but forgotten.

Denniston History

Learn why Denniston was considered the "8th Wonder of the World" and either loved or loathed by locals.

Other Activities

Explore walking and mountain biking around Denniston, along with other natural West Coast attractions.

What visitors say about The Denniston Experience

Fabulous Trip. Memorable!
Don & Noelene - France
Don was amazing.  Thanks so much
Yvonne & John - Northland
Great Guide! Thanks Don
Christine & John - UK
A first -
The best! Ta
Dicky Wollard - Hong Kong
The Milnes - Christchurch
Excellent tour!!
Barbara & Neville - Waikanae
Great Trip
Brilliant experience
Utumapu Family - New Plymouth & Oz
Best tour we've done in a while
Riach Family - Whangaparoa
Incredible Hardship!
Richter Family - Germany
Greg & Matt - Tasmania
What a fantastic tour.
Thanks heaps.
Blattner Family
So glad we went!
Louisa & Roger - Christchurch
Amazing Experience
Anne & John - Hastings
It was great!!! (smiley face) Thanks
Kris - Auckland
Great, very well done
Paul & Lois - Levin
Excellent tour!
Charlotte & John - Wanaka/Canada
Unbelievable -
What incredible hardship!
Birchs - Auckland
Very informative!
John was a terrific guide
Gardner's - CA, USA
Great Learning!
Julie - Auckland
So worthwhile and interesting
Murray & Shirley - Masterton
Very educational, highly recommended
Houghton's - Christchurch
Absolutely amazing and interesting
Loved it
Robb/Keen/Biggs Famly
Alan & Linda - Hamilton
Great knowledge of the mine
Wan Family - NSW, Australia
Great Experience ...
... And knowledgeable guides - Highly recommended
Richard - Christchurch
Unbelievable unique experience
Did the short experience
Sharon - Christchurch
That was amazing!
What a tour, what an eye opener of the olden days
Basset Family - Canada
Great Experience
Ashburton Vintage Car Club (22 folks)
Thank you very much
Yvonne & Roger - Switzerland
Fantastic experience
Loved it
Sonia - QLD, Australia
A step back in history
Lloyde & Gwen - Nelson
Well worth the tour
Don is fun!
Peter & Lynda - Nelson
Thanks for the long talk
Marco & Luuk - Netherlands
Rene - Canada
Really fabulous tour ..
and guide!
cynthia - hamilton
Double fantastic :)
irina - moscow
Really enjoyed, great people
Excellent trip (Gorge Express), very informative
Well worth it!
Great trip underground
It was amazing!!!
Amazing and informative experience
Excellent heritage experience
Amazing trip and staff
Val - Te Puke
Brilliant Experience, a must do!
Phil & Robyn - Dunedin
Best thing ever
Amber - Blenheim
Terry & Jo - West Melton
Bloody Marvellous
Wayne - Marshlands
Very Interesting
We learnt a lot
Jemimah & Elijah - Blenheim
Amazing experience
Tania - Queensland
Just the best experience
Christine - Rotorua
Brilliant. Sobering
Mike - Wellington
Fab tour
Very interesting and poignant. The interactive part was great fun.
Len & June - Rep of Ireland
Brilliant. Will tell the world!
Faye - Dunedin
Thank you!
Very impressive and informative
Sarah - Hamburg
Outstanding guide
A great experience but I would not like to do it [mining] as a job
John - Wellington
Absolutely Awesome
Mitch, Tania, Sophie & Emily - Australia
Fantastic Tour!
Tony - Rotorua
Better than Minecraft
Great for the family
Eva, Warren, Flynn and Luke - Dunedin