Denniston Walkway

  • 4 hr 30 min return by the same track
  • Easy

A pleasant forest walk up onto an historic coal mining site, and views of the dramatic Denniston Incline.

Denniston Walkway: Key information
Walking time
1 day
4 hr 30 min
Return by the same track
Return by the same track
July 2023: one 5-min deviation around a slip is a bit harder. This is 45min in from the bottom car park. Grades explained
No bookings — open access
No — open access
Denniston Walkway: Find it
Conns Creek Road, off SH67, Waimangaroa
40m – 580m
Altitude change 540m

The famous Denniston Incline was constructed in 1878-79 as a cable railway in order to extract valuable coal deposits from the Banbury Mine on the plateau above Wamangaroa. The mine closed in 1968, and the railway lines have gone, but the path of the Incline is still there, with gradients up to 1:1.3. Wrecked runaway coal cars still litter the forest either side of the incline.

From the car park, a bridle track sets off on a gentle gradient, leading easily up to the Denniston Plateau. After 30 minutes a side track leads to the "1 mile log" car park on the Denniston Road. The track carries on, crossing a rocky cascade and meeting the Incline's middle brake (1 hour 30 minutes from the start). Beyond here, the track zigzags up the steep hillside, ascends old stone steps up onto the hard sandstone plateau and eases into Denniston through light forest (2.5 hours from start). 

The mine site area has been carefully restored, and there is ample to explore and read. There is an impressive view down the path of the Incline. 

(It is possible to descend the course of the Incline itself although somewhat hazardous and much more difficult than the walkway. The first section is very steep but it soon eases. Keep well away from the unstable trestle bridge. A vague trail skirts around it, leading through forest on the true right and comes out near the Middle Brake. The final section is steeper and gorsy, eventually coming to the remains of the bridge over Conns Creek. You can cross the creek on the true left of the Incline, climbing up to a short section of track past the final bucket. Time down: 1 hour 30 minutes.)

The car park at the bottom of the Incline has a crane and hopper, as well as handsome drystone walls.

July 2023: after being closed due to slips for several years, the track has reopened. Generally easy with one 5-min moderate section bypassing a slip. DOC walking times are generous 

This track needs a photograph.
ID 5219

About this track

Added 27 March 2010 by matthewmatthew. 2 revisions, most recently 25 July 2023 by HansNZHansNZ.
50 views in the past year (4 per month).