Reefton is a vibrant little country town with a huge heritage that’s enjoying a new day in the sun, and all thanks to the efforts of a committed local community. They’ve been busy renovating Victorian era shops, repurposing other buildings into smart accommodations and injecting new life into the old mining town.
Reefton’s Broadway is a charming mix of renovated early era street frontages, vintage shops and hospitable eateries.
Reefton — occupying river flats above the Inangahua River, between the Paparoa and Victoria mountain ranges — is the West Coast's only inland town.
Originally known as Quartzopolis, it was established circa 1870 to service the largest gold-bearing quartz reefs in the South Island. It later became a coal mining centre.
Mining brought riches, technology and innovation. In 1888, Reefton became the first place in New Zealand and the southern hemisphere to have a public supply of electricity and electric street lighting, ahead of the fashionable suburbs of London and New York.
Reefton’s great outdoors has many historic mining routes now used as walking and mountain biking trails.
Reefton’s Broadway is an enticing mix of small town charm with an eclectic variety of vintage and arty shops, hospitable eateries and heritage pubs.
Prominent among the newcomers in town, the Reefton Distilling Co. is gaining an international following for its innovative range of gins infused with botanicals gathered in the hills.
The Reefton Visitor Centre, with its replica Quartzopolis underground mine experience, is the best place to learn about the history of gold and the illuminating story of how Reefton got its famous lights. Or try some gold panning at The Bearded Miners hut just down the street.
In the hills all around town there are many historical places of interest, former mining sites and old relics, and kilometres of old tracks in the hills which have become a great series of walking and mountain biking trails.
Explore the beauty of the Lewis Pass area and soak in the scenic surroundings at the natural hot pools at Maruia Springs. Or go on a day out visiting the long deserted mining ghost town of Waiuta.