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Published: December 2nd 2018
(Cj writes) The west coast of New Zealand: home of vertiginous mountains, snow-capped in the near distance; wild coastline littered with driftwood beaches; hand more midges than any sane person can possibly cope with. But not a lot else: the ‘townships’ appear to be little more than half a dozen houses spread over a moderately large area. Even the big tourist draws of the Fox and Franz Josep glaciers are little more than a collection of shops selling hiking and helicopter trips, plus a couple of cafes. I realise that I’m a dyed-in-the-wool townie, but how can anyone live a life where the local ‘bookshop’ (if there is one) has only two or three shelves of books plus the same of toys, stationery and a couple of other unrelated product lines?!
Anyhoo... we left Haast in our trusty motor and went off in search of Greymouth - the largest town on the West Coast - to find ... more of the same! But fewer midges, thankfully. We had booked a room at a motel about 7km out of town, which turned out to be not only the best hotel in the area, it also had the best restaurant. (Boy, am
Wild and rugged
So was the beach at our hotel near Greymouth
I looking forward to Nik’s cooking!). However, the drives on the West Coast have been spectacular. Steve and I have shared driving honours fairly evenly, so not too taxing for either of us (and it makes a nice change to properly drive the twisting roads through the mountains rather than tame city streets).
SC writes: Today were were up early, breakfast in the hotel - ok - and then out so that we could be at "Shantytown" when it opened at 08:30. Think a NZ version of Beamish.... Lots of reconstructed old buildings, oldie worlde shops etc and a proper steam engine and train ride into the forest for exploration of mining and logging. The sun shone and we enjoyed this well curated attraction for several hours before it was time to drop of out hire car in Greymouth. Today, Sunday the town was mlre alive and we spent an hour in the local markets.. Lots of Locals trying to sell us (obvious tourists) all sorts of stuff...all fine but we really have no room in our luggage now for anything. Actually I did find yet another fish fridge magnet inthe market. locally produced and unique.
the car, all good, and checked in for the the next key part of our trip. That is the Trans-Alpine train, from Greymouth back to Christchurch... This gets great reviews and the weather is good, so here's hoping.
Tot: 2.081s; Tpl: 0.051s; cc: 13; qc: 27; dbt: 0.0268s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.3mb