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Coaltown Museum

123 Palmerston St
New Zealand


Once you have driven over the Buller Bridge you are on the main street of Westport- Palmerston Street
Stay on this street until you reach the clocktower building on your right at 123 Palmerston St.
The Westport I-site and Coaltown Museum is located next door to the clock tower.

Coaltown Museum

The Buller District has a rich history and our brand-new museum which opened in June 2013 is dedicated to telling the stories of the pioneers who battled our rugged environment in search of a better life. 


Westport is a town built on coal extraction from wild and remote places like Denniston, Stockton and Millerton where daily life was a struggle and comfort a luxury. 

The various displays focus on the formation of coal, maritime history, unionism, the communities, transport and the men underground.  It is a colourful and modern museum that brings the past to life and links the past to the present.

 On display we have a huge “Q” Wagon used on the world-famous Denniston Incline. This large 8-ton coal wagon is perched at 450 showing the grade of the steepest part of the Incline.  We also  have a 20-ton brake drum used to slow the wagons as they raced down the Incline. 

A simulated underground mine will give you an insight into the working conditions of the miners.  Our collections of photographs and objects will paint a picture of the hard daily life, not just for the miners but also the families that called these wild and remote places home.

There was only one practical way to get the “black gold” away from the coast for sale to the world's industries and that was through the port at Westport. 

Our Maritime Display shows the attempts to tame the mighty Buller River and turn it into a usable port to get the riches out to the rest of the world.  Here you will see a 2- storey high triple-expansion steam engine from the bucket dredge SS Mawhera.

Our current revolving exhibit is a private collection of cameras from around the world owed by local man Graham Howard.  The collection covers from 1885 through to the mid 1990's and is accompanied by a collection of photographs taken by local photographer Dan Moloney in the early 1900’s.

Planning is underway for an exhibition in 2015 to commemorate Bullers contribution to WW1, anyone wishing to contribute to this or any exhibit should contact the museum.

Coaltown is a fantastic all-weather attraction that appeals to all ages. Coaltown and Westport are a great launching pad for exploring the Buller District.

Current Promotion

Adults $10.00
Children $2
Pre School Free

General Info

Payment Options:


Open 7 days a week

April – November Winter Hours
10am to 4pm weekends and 9am to 4.30pm weekdays
December - March Summer Hours
9am - 5pm 7 days a week

offered for organized tour groups 10+, please contact us below.

Contact Details

123 Palmerston St
New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 789 6658

or The Westport I-site


Contact Us