Visit Greymouth, Westland, NZ

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  • Greymouth is the largest town on the West Coast, and one of the oldest, with many heritage buildings. The area has a history of gold and coal mining, which has opened access to remote areas now used for tramping, mountain bike riding, and white-water rafting.

    Until the late 1850s, Greymouth was the site of a large settlement of Maori, who knew it as Mawhera. The modern town sits astride the Grey River, and is notable for its many historic buildings dating from the late 1880s and through the early decades of the 1900s.

    Almost directly across the Southern Alps from Christchurch, Greymouth is a gateway to South Westland’s rainforest and glaciers, as well as to northern Westland and the Nelson region.

    Accommodation in Greymouth (NZ)

    Greymouth has a good range of hotels with central locations. There are also numerous motels and bed & breakfast establishments.

    Campers and backpackers are well-catered for, with several holiday parks, motor camps and backpacker lodges.

    For self-catering accommodation, there are holiday homes for rent, as well as luxury self-contained apartments and cottages.

    Luxury lodges and farm stay providers are found in surrounding areas.

    Transport around Greymouth

    Greymouth’s small airport is served by regular weekly flights from Wellington and Westport, to the north.  Light aircraft charter flights are available from nearby location, such as Mount Cook, Wanaka and Queenstown.

    The TranzAlpine scenic railway journey from Christchurch terminates at Greymouth, stopping en route at Lake Brunner. This is an unrivalled way to see the South Island from one coast to the other, travelling through the spectacular McKenzie Basin and across the mountains at Arthur’s Pass.

    Greymouth is about 30 minutes’ drive north of Hokitika, to the south, and 3 hours’ drive west from Christchurch. The city of Nelson is 3.5 hours’ drive northwards.

    Inter-city coach services regularly travel to Greymouth from the south, east and north. There are also local shuttle bus services from Hokitika and other West Coast locations.

    Within Greymouth, local bus, shuttle and taxi services provide transport. Motor cars, campervans and mountain bikes can be hired from within the town.

    Tourist Activities around Greymouth

    Greymouth’shistory and heritage can be explored at a historical museum within the town, as well as by visiting a re-created 1860s gold mining town, located 10 km south of the town. Some of the most notable historic buildings include the old Courthouse and Railway Station, dating from the late 1890s. Tours are available to see the old Monteith’s Brewery, which served the West Coast for more than 100 years.

    Greymouth is home to many artists and craftspeople, including painters, photographers, woodworkers, stone carvers and fabric artists. Their work can be viewed and purchased at local galleries and craft shops.

    Mountain biking and walking trails often follow routes created during the gold rush era, in which explosives were used to blast tunnels and create paths along steep rock faces. Scenic flights and helicopter tours are another way to appreciate the sights of the region.

    Some of the Westland’s best white-water rafting is to be found on rivers near Greymouth, and guided trips can be arranged easily. These include black-water rafting (or cave rafting) and other adventure activities such as zip line rides.

    Off-road 4WD and Argo 8-wheeler tours in bush areas around the town are popular. There are more sedate river boat cruises available, on which passengers enjoy local food and New Zealand wines. A number of eco-tour operators are based in Greymouth, along with hunting and fishing guides.

    Greymouth, and nearby towns such as Blackball and Hokitika, has a number of annual festivals, including a motorcycle street race, held in March, and festivals based around gardens, food and arts.

    There are many walking tracks within Greymouth, and many more within easy reach. The Point Elizabeth walk – about 3 hours return – is a coastal track that is recommended for its views.

    Greymouth is known as a surfing location, although the sea is often rough. It is also renowned for its salt-water fishing, and there are fishing charters available from Greymouth’s harbour.

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