Published: November 1st 2009October 14th 2009
Greymouth, October 14 - 18
Having missed out on river tubing in Waitomo because of flooding we decided to stop in the small town of Greymouth on the west coast as this was somewhere we could experience floating down a river in a giant rubber ring.
We stayed at Duke backpackers which was a lovely hostel providing free soup in the evening and toast for breakfast. It was run by a friendly Israeli who made us feel really welcome and had its own bar where Simon beat me at pool.
Greymouth is not an especially pretty town as we discovered on a walk to the seafront that took us through an industrial estate and ended at a pier constructed from graffiti-covered chunks of concrete. But it is home to Monteith's brewery so we signed up for the tour which, for $25, included dinner at a local pub. Bargain. So we toured the brewery, unfortunately there wasn't any beer in the big vats so we just walked around empty humongous metal containers. But we did get to try seven different types of Monty's beer and the brand new cider which Simon was pleased about as he doesn't like beer.
Then we were allowed to pour our own favourite from behind the bar. Like the wine tour we ended up a bit tipsy and were looking forward to our Kiwi grill dinner. Thankfully it was fabulous. We can highly recommend the Railway for food - it may look like a bit of a dive but the staff are friendly and the food is delicious.
The main event in Greymouth was the river tubing. We did it with Wild West Adventures and were the only two people on the trip. Before setting off we had to get dressed up in the most ridiculous ensemble you can imagine. Long johns, thermal tops, t-shirts, thick socks, another top and then waders followed by a wetsuit jacket. Once we were bundled up like Michelin men we were given a gimp mask to put on - I'm not kidding this could've been the very same headgear that Tarantino used in Pulp Fiction. Setting off down the river bank was a bit of a mission when you can barely move because you are swaddled up like a baby but we made it without falling over. The tubing itself was good fun. The water wasn't too
deep but we still managed to do some jumps into it with our tubes. Simon couldn't seem to keep hold of his though and ended up jumping in with his tube flying off in the other direction - he got a big bruise on his bum from landing on a rock. It was quite peaceful floating down the river with the cliffs either side and waterfalls dripping down. Simon became a mother duck for the day when a paradise duckling took a shine to him. It had obviously lost its parents and would follow us along and then wouldn't leave Simon alone. It even jumped up on his belly at one stage. The best part of the tubing was sliding down a steep bank into a deep bit of river on something that looked like a dinner tray. A lot of fun. Then we went into a glow worm cave which was a bit scary because it was pitch black and quite narrow and I have no idea what kind of animals live on cave walls but I didn't want to find out.
After the morning of tubing we were able to enjoy a glass of wine in the
giant hot tub at the Wild West HQ which was bliss. The trip also taught us that you should never pee when wearing thermals and waders - it doesn't go into the water it sloshes around in your wellies which isn't pleasant at all.
There are more photos below