The wild and wonderful West Coast of the South Island is a narrow strip of primeval forest between the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea.
Greymouth township is the ‘Heart of the Coast’, served by an airport, regular coach links with Christchurch and the stunning Tranz Alpine scenic train. The town’s central location makes it an ideal base for excursions to Punakaiki, Westport and Karamea in the north and Hokitika, The Glaciers and Haast in the south. Five of New Zealand’s National Parks and a World Heritage Area are found here amongst the Coast’s towering peaks, lush rainforests, raging rivers, grinding glaciers and brooding lakes.
Take your time exploring this region, as the list of outdoor adventure activities is endless. Here are a few:-
Get acquainted with Greymouth’s environs with local freedom walks and beachcombing
Semi-precious gemstones and weirdly-shaped driftwood is washed up on the stony beaches. Hector’s dolphins often swim off the Grey River mouth.
Stretch your legs on the easily accessible local walkways
The Point Elizabeth, Coal Creek and other local walks offer great bush and sea views.
Ask the Visitor Centre for details of local gold diggings
Many local streams are open for gold prospecting and interesting heritage areas can be explored.
Drive out to the tranquillity of Lake Brunner
Relax in this pristine area and enjoy some quiet fishing, boating, yachting or canoeing.
Visit Monteith’s famous West Coast brewery
Take a conducted tour of this historic site and sample some of New Zealand’s best beers.
Visit Shantytown just south of Greymouth
Ride the bush railway, try your luck at gold panning and enjoy the reconstructed gold-mining town.
Drive to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowhole
Marvel at these weird rock stacks and then visit the wonderful limestone cave formations at the Pororari River.
Drive on to Westport for more adventures
Visit the seals at Cape Foulwind, tramp the Charming Creek Walkway, try gold panning or sea and river fishing.
Drive south to the peaceful gold town of Hokitika
This onetime goldfield’s capital had 3500 rowdy miners and 102 hotels. See artisans working the ‘new gold’ – greenstone (jade). Greenstone jewellery makes a great New Zealand souvenir.
Visit Hokitika’s restored Carnegie Building with its Gallery and Museum
See the collection of gold-mining equipment and scale models. A working goldmine can be viewed at the township of Ross.
Take a night walk in Hokitika to see the glow-worms
On the edge of town is a charming dell with a natural archway of trees. Millions of sparkling lights make an unforgettable sight.
Continue south to the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers
Road access takes you close to the terminal face of both glaciers and guided walks on the ice are available.
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