Matakanui sits at the foot of the Dunstan Mountains. Once a bustling mining town, today Matakanui is a small ghost town. In the early days, from about 1863 the town was known as 'Tinkers' but by the 1890's the town was starting to be called Matakanui. Most of the town buildings were made of mud brick and only a few of the original buildings remain. What was once a dance hall became a general store that operated into the 1890's. The Hotel, rebuilt after a fire still stands and there is an old sluicing monitor gun just behind the street sign that remembers the miners that once worked in the area.