Big River



For more information contact:

Reefton i-SITE Visitor Centre

67-69 Broadway, Reefton, 
Buller 7930, West Coast, NZ

0064 3 732 8391



25 km south of Reefton at an altitude of 670 m, Big River is testimony to mans' relentless search for gold. It is reached either via walking or mountain biking along an old pack track from Waiuta, or by 4WD from Reefton along an old dray road that was pushed through steep country in the 1880s.

Today you can easily spend a full day exploring remnants of the old township, wandering along water races, making the trip up to the Big River dam site and inspecting the large double acting Robey steam-winding engine in the reconstructed (2000) engine shed. The engine once lifted mine tubs containing gold-rich quartz up the 602 m mineshaft to the surface for processing.

Behind the engine house, wind your way up the track to the restored poppet head standing above the mineshaft. From this vantage point you are rewarded with spectacular views out to the Grey River and the Paparoa Range.

A further 30 minutes walk from the poppet head along the track that leads to the Inangahua River is the Big River sawmill. Here you can see the sawmill remains and the Robey boiler under slung steam engine that was abandoned when it closed back in the 1920s.

Access to Big River from Reefton is via a challenging 4WD road or as a two day tramp along the Big River track which links Waiuta through Big River to the Inangahua River on SH7. You can overnight in the 30 bunk Department of Conservation hut at Big River.

Mountain biking is also a popular choice for getting into Big River, either along the 4WD road from Reefton or along the Big River tramping track from Waiuta. A mountain biking loop from Reefton - Big River - Waiuta - Reefton is achievable as a two-day trip.


Accommodation with a golden past

Reefton's gold rush in the 1860's helped to establish many of today's exisiting buildings and accommodation providers. As well as charm and history, you can also stay in modern hotels, motels and B&Bs or take in the serenity at the local camping ground or DOC sites. 


Many menus, coffee's & wine lists to try

The rumbling stomach is easily satisfied with a range of cheap and cherry through to gourmet cafe's, restaurants. Or if you are looking to cook up a storm yourself we have got your ingredients covered at our grocery stores and supermarket...


On the way, between Greymouth & Nelson

Reefton is the West Coasts only inland town located among the spectacular Paparoa and Victoria ranges. The town lies alongside the wild Inangahua River and is surrounded by the Victoria Conservation Park which at 180,000ha is New Zealand’s largest...


A destination with lots to see and do

Rugged native scenery, a rich and well preserved heritage, a tourism hub, a relaxed pace and a natural adventure playground at its doorstep - Reefton in the buller region of the West Coast of NZ, is a place for everyone to enjoy - be it for a day or two, a week or a place to call home...



Victoria Park




Big River




Living History


Heritage tours


Reefton Cinema