Our Stop At Shanty Town
Prior to reaching Hokitika we’d already decided to make a stop at Shanty Town. The stop was a bit of a “I guess we should have a look” attitude for me. My expectation was not high. How wrong could I have been. Shanty Town is a must visit. As a “living” historic venue I believe it puts the likes of Motat in Auckland to shame. The many buildings with all their associated paraphernalia, eg, the hospital, the print shop, the livery, fire station, general store etc. had so many things to look at and absorb. I went back to the jail twice to make sure I read all the available information about four deadly robbers who robbed and murdered miners and shopkeepers along the Coast.
The steam train trip into the bush was also good. It paused to allow photos at the end of its route, and then dropped passengers at an old sawmill. I loved that the mill had associated noise of saws and logs moving along through it. Some of the stories were heart wrenching. Written reports from boys who couldn’t wait to leave school and begin work in/for the mill – usually at 11 or 12. Some never reached 13.
At a cost of $32 for adults (or $26 for seniors) it is well worth the visit. I can’t recommend it highly enough. We spent more than four hours here. The lunch we had was incredible for the price we paid. Very surprising to get such a feed in a well attended tourist area.
After Shanty Town, the only notable site we stopped at was that of the Brunner Mine disaster where 68 miners were killed in the mine explosion in 1896. I couldn’t help but think about Pike River while we read. Mining can still hold hidden dangers, even today.