Welcome to Runanga – “Home of Champions” and abound in West Coast history. Runanga is a small settlement approximately 7kms north of Greymouth on the West Coast of New Zealand on State Highway 6. It is known locally as the “Home of Champions” as many sporting greats and folk heroes from NZ hailed from this small township – marathon runners, representative league players, rugby representatives, NZ bowls champion, NZ tennis, badminton and basketball representatives, cabinet ministers from the first Labour Government and first union officials – whew and that is just to name just a few.
Runanga was originally a Government town, in that it came into being specifically to house the miners and their families who were employed at the nearby State-owned Greymouth Point Elizabeth mine in the early 1900s. The State mine was a Liberal government experiment in State-owned industry. This was the first ever State built mine in NZ and you can find remnants of the old boiler room in the bush together with the old rope road, entrance to the mine and stone drive – all fascinating pieces of West Coast and NZ history.
The Runanga Miners’ Hall still stands proudly in Runanga. The Hall has national significance as a rare surviving Miners’ Hall and as the birthplace of the Federation of Labour and the Labour Party in NZ. The hall and its predecessor are associated with key founders of the miner’s political movement who became significant politicians in New Zealand and Australia. It was the first co-operatively built hall in the country and represented an early example of the co-op movement, which became popular in the 1930s to 1950s. Currently fund raising and discussion is ongoing in relation to restoration of the Hall to the benefit of the whole community.
Aside from the history, Runanga and the surrounding area is a great place for exploration – walks, hikes and mountain biking, sea fishing, river fishing and horse riding. Coal Creek Falls is a lovely native bush walk to view a stunning waterfall. Rewanui incline walk or bike ride follows the old train line from Dunollie in the back of Runanga, through a couple of tunnels up the seven mile valley to the site of Rewanui a history coal mining area. Point Elizabeth walking track is down the road starting at Rapahoe and goes through to Cobden at the northern end of Greymouth, through native forest and along cliff faces with great views out to sea.
This area is also the start of the coastal drive from Greymouth to Westport, part of the coastal drive of the West Coast that was named one of the top ten coastal drives in the world by Lonely Planet.
For the more adventurous there is rafting, jet boating, cave rafting, quad biking, back country horse trekking or tramping with backcountry huts. There is plenty of accommodation in the area from camping grounds, hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts – something suitable for all budgets.
Come and see for yourself – come and explore our slice of paradise.
Entry written by Jan Macdonald of Breakers – boutique accommodation offering bed & breakfast, beachfront location overlooking the Tasman Sea, on the start of the coastal drive from Greymouth to Westport. This 4 star establishment is also rated Enviro-Silver and ranked No.1 by Tripadvisor for B&Bs/Inns in Greymouth.