Bordered by forested hills and the Tasman Sea, Greymouth is the perfect place to begin your exploration of the South Island’s west coast. Immerse yourself in the excitement of New Zealand’s gold rush at Shantytown Heritage Park, buy carved jade artwork and enjoy a Monteith’s beer. Use Greymouth as a base to explore the Paparoa National Park.
Pan for gold and investigate a 19th-century mining town at the recreated Shantytown, located 10 kilometres (6 miles) south of Greymouth. Head back into town to visit History House Museum to see photographs and records of New Zealand’s pioneering life. Gold miners bought the land from the Māori people for a pittance of what it was worth, until the late 1800s when the Māori Parliament determined that no more Māori land would be sold.
Wandering Greymouth’s streets, you’ll come across plenty of galleries displaying the many types of New Zealand jade, known as pounamu, carved into traditional Māori designs. Jewellery and sculptures featuring this bright-green stone are unique souvenirs.
Beer and cider lovers won’t want to miss Monteith’s Brewery Co., operating in the area for almost 150 years. Learn about the brewing process, including occasional mishaps of trying out new recipes. Monteith’s specialises in creating innovative flavours; sample many of these at the brewery’s bar.
Head north on the coast road to discover craggy granite mountain ranges, blowholes and layered geology at Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki, a beach town on the edge of the Paparoa National Park. Ride a horse along the beach, take a night tour of the Westland petrel breeding grounds to see fuzzy grey petrel chicks or rent a kayak to paddle along the Pororari River between sheer gorge cliffs and forest.
The TranzAlpine Rail runs from Greymouth to Christchurch, a route with incredible views of New Zealand’s wilderness, from snowy mountains to dramatic gorges and lush forests. The trip takes 4.5 hours, with an open-air viewing carriage and in-car dining. By car the route from Christchurch takes about 3 hours.
Beaches, Beers and Glaciers
After a convenient shuttle from your Christchurch hotel to the train station, take a seat aboard the world-renowned TranzAlpine train. This 4.5-hour journey traverses the South Island from coast to coast, passing through the rolling farmland of Canterbury Plains and over the breathtaking mountain landscape of the Southern Alps.
The Monteith's Brewery tour starts out in the Beertopia Room which houses our very own Monteith's Museum. Here you'll get an introduction into the heritage and rich stories of the origins of Monteith's, starting in 1868 right here on the West Coast.
Get muddy and feel the adrenaline rush as you tackle off-road trails on a sturdy, rugged buggy. Get behind the wheel or opt to ride along as a passenger, splashing along your choice of 3 forest tracks deep in the woods of the West Coast.
If you have a few days free to see the sights of the South Island, this tour gives you a look at some of its most beautiful scenery. With plenty of free time in Christchurch, a cruise along the Akaroa Harbour, and a spectacular train ride across the Southern Alps, you can see the best of the country.
You’ll be wowed by Gary the Glow-worm on Greymouth’s amazing Glow-worm Cave Tour. Step into his galaxy world of glittering glow-worms like stunning stars in the night sky. Get right up close and learn about Gary’s amazing lifestyle and his romantic side.
Jump on a quad to charge along off-road trails through the woods, plowing through muddle puddles, crossing streams, and zipping along forest tracks. Tackle the West Coast's wettest terrain on this adrenaline-pumping adventure that's fun for the whole family.