Our next stop after Abel Tasman on the 31st December was Greymouth which was a 5 hour drive from our last location! We planned 2 nights in advance in Greymouth as we had heard the drive down there was amazing and we might want to stop along the way. The scenery was beautiful and the West Coast Ocean road was just a long stretch of beaches and turquoise ocean was we drove.
The one place I had heard about was a place that everyone stopped along the way and this was the Pancake Rocks, which is about 40 minutes north of Greymouth. The rocks are located within a tourist viewing reserve area and they are piled high like piles of pancakes believe it or not! It was well worth the visit as the sea was surging into the little caverns and spaces below and as a geographer I really appreciated it! I was just a little bit gutted I didn’t think of the idea the couple in front of us had – they had a picture eating pancakes at the rocks. After a quick Calipo to cool us down we were back on the road to Greymouth.
It is a very small town which is the largest in the West Coast so the others must be tiny. It’s aptly named as it sits on the mouth of the Grey River. We stayed in a backpackers called Global Village and it really was brilliant, the decor was a fusion of African and Asian and they had thought of absolutely everything a backpacker might need! Our room was lovely and had its only little balcony.
As Greymouth is small there wasn’t really anything going on for New Year, it was quite refreshing really as I’m not a massive fan of New Year so it was nice to chill out! We went to Monteith’s Brewery which is famous on the West Coast and just ate Tapas (honey chicken wings, venison sliders and beer battered fries) and tried a brewery tasting tray (it worked out well as I loved 3 and Chris loved the other 3). I preferred the lemony citrus beers (girly I know) and Chris the European style (the boy loves his Peroni). After this we just chilled out at the backpackers to see in 2016 -Happy New Year everyone!
I can’t say there is loads to do in Greymouth but it is half way along the West Coast highway so it is used as a stop for many travellers, and also the famous TranzAlpine railway starts here. The one thing that it is famous for is its Shanty Town so we headed there on New Years Day. I really enjoyed it here, we took a ride on the old steam train, looked around the old buildings, waterwheel and saw mill and my favourite bit- panning for gold!
We had to pay extra to pan for gold and Chris didn’t really want to but I persuaded him it would be good fun. It is all for fun but occasionally tourists find little tiny bits of gold in their pan and guess what we did! We got to keep it and I think this changed Chris’ mind as he was pretty excited!
After this we went to do our shopping (very exciting) – it actually was exciting as we found a international section selling Yorkshire Tea (picture below- note he didn’t even looks this happy when he found the gold).
We had a quick trip to the river and sea front and then back to our backpackers to do some washing (woohooo).
The evening then consisted of drinking a bottle of Sav we bought from the winery when my family were in Napier and eating a honey and mustard chicken combo we cooked up ( we really are getting good at being backpackers). That was until the sand flies came out and we had to go indoors.
Next stop on the itinerary is the Frans Josef and Fox Glaciers (really excited).
Happy New Year everyone and thank you to everyone who has supported and read my blog so far, it means a lot.