So you have found yourself in Greymouth? Were the beaches of Abel Tasman and the Franz and Fox glacier too amazing for you? Was the scenery so dramatic that you simply need a break. Greymouth is the place for you! When I last visited and was a less than enthusiastic 19 year old I hated the place, but here I am writing a blog and recommending that you stay more than the overnight stop that most people make! Okay, so Greymouth is not the most exciting place in New Zealand. It is unlikely to win any awards for just about anything, but I can honestly say I have enjoyed the 2 weeks we have spent here and I feel compelled to write a little guide in case you stop by and feel like a rest or your car breaks down and you end up spending a few days in this West coast town.
What should you do?
Well if your car has broken down then you should probably get it fixed. If you just fancied a stop from the stunning New Zealand scenery then here are a few tips to fill your Greymouth days. The town is situated at the mouth of the river Grey, no prizes were awarded during the naming process. It is about 45 minutes South of Punakaiki and it’s pancake rocks and about 40km north of Hokitika.
This is probably the town’s most famous attraction and it is worth a visit. You can go on a tour, we didn’t manage this as our working hours at the hostel seemed to fall during most of the tour times on different days. If you do go on the tour you can save yourself $2 by booking at the i-site! The brewery does make a nice cider that is far too drinkable and the bar itself is a nice place to hang out – their chips are awesome.
Stay at the Duke
The Duke hostel was our primary reason for visiting Greymouth. We were HelpX’ing here and it is a pretty nice place to stay either for a few days or even if you’re just passing through. The paint work might add to your Monteith’s hangover, but the place certainly has character and I can safely say that Dory the owner ensures the hostel is kept pretty damn clean. You also get free soup at 7pm, free toast and jam in the mornings, free unlimited wifi (not that common in NZ) and free bike hire – I am actually starting to sound like Dory.
Let loose with the strimmer:
If you do want to HelpX here then you’ll be mainly cleaning, folding the seemingly endless laundry or on reception duty, which is also basically just cleaning but less structured. We managed to escape the routine on one day and got to garden.
Walk or cycle the wilderness trail
The trail passes through town and continues on down the coast all the way past Hokitika to Ross. We never made it down that far but we did follow the trail out of town and down to the Tasman sea and along the coast. The beaches are full of driftwood and the waves are powerful, not quite the type of beach you go to paddle on but still very pretty. A lot of people reported sightings of dolphins playing just off the coast. We didn’t spot any on our visits but did spot a 5 or so playful dolphins up in Punakaiki at the pancake rocks.
Visit Punakaiki and the pancake rocks
These strange looking rocks apparently formed 30 million years ago. Today they are home to a 20 minute DOC walk. The pancake rocks, so called cause of their layering are well worth a visit and are situated about 45 minutes up the windy coastal road. If you do this on a sunny day the views are brilliant
Visit Hokitika and its gorge:
Hokitika is just down the road from Greymouth, it has an awesome gorge that is well worth a visit. The waters are milky green and blue, apparently it changes on different days. If you’re brave enough you can even take a dip in the waters. Beware of the sandflies though.