Shantytown Heritage Park
Shantytown Heritage Park Review
On the southern outskirts of Greymouth, Shantytown is a lively, in-your-face reenactment of an industrial town of the 1880s. This is how the settlers who stayed on after gold rush days would have lived—minus the electricity, running water, and paved entry road. It was all about steam in them thar days as you'll discover. (There's even an official '"Steam School" here, teaching how to drive steam-driven engines.) Except for the church and the town hall, most of the buildings are reproductions, including a jail, a blacksmith shop, a railway station, and Chinatown. This was the site of the world's last major gold rush, so gold is also a feature. Gold-digging displays include a giant water jet for blasting the gold-bearing rock and soil from the hillside, water races, and a stamper—battery-powered by a 30-foot waterwheel—for crushing the ore. You can pan for gold for a very good chance of striking "color." Travel along an old bush tramline on a bone fide steam train (four trips daily) and check out other heritage trains. Watch a 3D holographic show in an old parlour/theatre. See why a foundry was so important in the interactive display created with the help of the movie design gurus Weta. Entry fee includes a brochure (14 languages available). Take a break in the cafe, or share a picnic on the shady lawns then go back for more.
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