Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Waiuta Ghost Town

Reefton, West Coast

Submitted by Nicky Armstrong

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Grunt Factor: 40 ?

Gnarl Factor: 44 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote

Out and Back

Undulating, some big hills

Native bush

Open tussock/grasslands

Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Moderate Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +9.5%

Average Downhill Gradient: -9.4%


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Estimated Times to Run







This is a classic West Coast trail run. It starts and ends in the fascinating ghost town remains of Waiuta and the Big River mine site provides the turnaround point, complete with historic relics. There is the Big River DOC hut to check out for all those hut-baggers out there and there's even a patch of unexpected tussock tops with views of the mountains just before you drop down to the Big River Mine. The trail can be muddy in places after rain, but is generally maintained to a high standard.

With a bit of forward planning and a couple of vehicles this could be run all the way through from Waiuta out to the Lewis Pass Highway near Reefton. Check the Department of Conservation website for more details.

Waiuta ghost town, Big River mine, Big River DOC hut.

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Small gravel car park at the start of the track. Most likely reasonably safe due to it's remoteness.

38 km

40 minutes





Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

DON'T DRINK THE WATER! Seriously, historic mining activities have left the waterways in the area heavily contaminated. Take your own which can be refilled from the water tank at Big River Hut (at the turn around point).

The track is muddy in places at the best of times so be prepared.

Trail Legend


Alicia Paulsen

has completed Waiuta Ghost Town once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Perfect trail running. Suggest ignoring the recent, steep & overdone diversion around a small 3metre slip.

Mike McManaway

October 3, 2022

Track in good condition overall, with some muddy sections and bike ruts. It is dog-friendly with a permit from Greymouth DOC. Had the track to ourselves - lots of birdlife. First 8 or 9km through undulating forest. Last stretch is mostly open. Worth exploring the Big River Mine site below the hut.

Sharon Davis

December 20, 2021

Absolutely supberb trail. Very well maintained and 100% runnable if you are fit. There is some steady climbing but nothing too steep. Beautiful trail with enough roots/rocks to make it interesting but not enough to slow you down.
Lovely bush and heaps of birds.
The trail is also perfect for MTB.

Kirstine Collins

July 31, 2021

Surprisingly good quality trail, gently undulating through forest most of the way, breaking out into the open about 1km before Big River hut with a neat boardwalk section over the Pakihi. As well as Big River, the trail passes a few former mine sites on the way. Also expect to see/hear lots of bellbirds, fantails, grey robins and kereru... but very few humans. Plenty of roots and a few muddy puddles, but all very runnable and no major obstacles. I went for a wee lap of the fascinating abandoned Waiuta town at the end of the run to have a nosy round the place and add on a few kms.

Catriona McWhirter

May 5, 2019

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These overlap with this trail to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate activity for each.

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