About Shantytown

The South Islands West Coast is well known for its magnificent scenery and glaciers, but no visit to the area is complete without experiencing Shantytown.

The discovery of gold in 1864 led to a population “explosion” – from around 300 to almost 30,000 residents. Isolation, rugged terrain and extreme weather conditions produced stories of fortitude and ingenuity.

Shantytown tells these stories through a fascinating mix of experience and displays. Ride the Steam Train along an original tramway through native rainforest, stop for a photo and watch out for the wekas! Our friendly loco drivers are happy to show you the cab.

Experience the sights and sounds of a working sawmill, watch the mighty sluice gun in action. Follow the races and flumes to the Gold Claim where our Gold Miner will tutor you to pan for your own gold – a strike is guaranteed – you might want to trade your gold in the village.

Beautiful short bushwalks make the rainforest easy to get into and experience at your leisure. The Village, borne of the gold rush, offers delicious refreshments from Everybodys Tearooms, while the kids can enjoy the flying fox, or try their hand at the Gold-Rush Treasure Hunt. Explore the 30 shops and buildings that show a slice of life from the early days.

Stop a while and browse the Curio for gifts or send a postcard stamped with the Shantytown’s own Post Mark. For a memento of your visit to Shantytown nothing is better than to grab a costume and get an old time photo. There is so much to see and do at Shantytown.

First conceived 40 years ago, the local community built and continues to be heavily involved in Shantytown Heritage Park. The Park is run by a Trust and all profits go back into the business. Highlights include:

Weddings, Conferences and Corporate Events

Our restored 1865 interdenominational church is a popular choice for wedding services, along with outdoor and indoor venues around the village. While firmly rooted in the gold-rush era, Shantytown’s conference and corporate events facilities are well and truly 21st century.

Shantytown offers a complete package that includes: