Reefton lies in a cradle of forested hills by the Inangahua River where roads from Greymouth and Westport converge on their way to the Lewis Pass and Canterbury. Born in a rash of speculation engendered by the deposits of quartz that gave the town its name, Reefton’s mining activity is now directed towards the deposits of coal that were so often found along with the gold-rich ore.
Indeed, it was the demands of the early gold-crushing machinery which first stimulated the development of the local coal mines. Their output progressively focused on domestic and more generalised industrial use as the needs of the gold miners dwindled. In recent years coal production has fallen. Among other local activities are timber-milling and farming.
By reason of its sheltered location, Reefton is remarkably free from winds, a situation that results in soaring summer temperatures at the price of intensified cold and mist in winter. Victoria Forest Park encompasses much of the gold- and coal-mining areas and numerous tracks lead to old gold workings. There is river swimming, trout fishing, canoeing, rafting, gold panning and hunting.
Viewpoint: There is an excellent view of the locality from Lookout Point. Turn left off the Reefton-Greymouth highway about 500 m from the Inangahua river bridge. Follow Soldiers Rd for about 1 km and turn left where signposted to follow a forestry road to the lookout. 5 km.