Blogs from Greymouth, South Island, New Zealand, Oceania


Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Greymouth December 8th 2022

This morning we left Richmond where we have spent a fabulous week with our dear friends Robin and Sandra. We have really enjoyed their company and their hospitality but … it is time to start heading home. To fit in some more sightseeing before leaving NZ, we drove west over the Southern Alps on State Highway No. 6. We stopped to stretch our legs at Hope Saddle Lookout and to photograph the Buller River at Gowan Bridge and Kilkenny Lookout. We finally glimpsed the Tasman Sea at Charleston before continuing south along the west coast with stops at Irimahuwhero Lookout and Coghlans Lookout, where we saw two pukeko chicks. Here I think we call them swamphens, which doesn’t sound quite so exotic? NOTE: I am reliably informed by a New Zealander (thanks Robin!) that these chicks ... read more
The Buller River from Gowan Bridge
The Buller River from Kilkenny Lookout
The view from Irimahuwhero Lookout

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Greymouth November 20th 2022

Mountains, lakes, waterfalls, sun, heavy rain, beaches, the sea and suicidal giant bumble bee’s – today had it all! We had an early start today, setting off from Queenstown just after 8am with a quick pit stop at the local McDonalds for a sausage and bacon muffin which was much cheaper (and probably nicer) than the hotel breakfast option! Other than the very nice bellboy/car fetcher who delivered our cases to the room and parked and retrieved our car, we were quite disappointed with the Crowne Plaza hotel overall, it cost an absolute fortune and was very dated, we also had an interconnecting room with a family with a small (very loud) child, so we didn’t get a great nights sleep either! Our travel plans today meant we had a very long drive ahead of us, ... read more
Lake Wanaka
Cardona Hotel
Fantail Falls

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Greymouth November 18th 2021

Bruner Mine Site It was explorer and surveyor Thomas Brunner who first identified coal seams on the banks of the Grey River in the late 1840s. By the 1880s Brunner Mine was the largest coal producer in New Zealand. Other industries grew alongside the extensive mine buildings and ever-expanding settlement, which included brickmaking and coke production. They were all serviced by a railway bridge across the Grey River. At the peak of production in 1901, 300 families lived here. Brunner Mine is sadly most remembered for its 1896 accident that instantly killed 65 men in one coal gas explosion. Families abruptly lost their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons. This led to new hardships caused by a loss of income, with grieving families struggling to pay for food, clothes, rent or mortgage. The disaster and the plight ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Greymouth January 29th 2020

Ještě než úplně opustíme Nelson a jeho okolí zvané Malborough, které je především známé svým vínem, uděláme malou zastávku v Národním parku Nelson Lakes. Místní jezera vynikají tím, že mají jednu z nejprůzračnějších vod na světě. Jezero, které jsme navštívili my se jmenovalo Rotoiti. Pramení zde jedna z nejdelších řek Nového Zélandu, Buller, která měří cca 170 km. Podél této řeky pokračuje naše cesta až téměř k pobřeží. Zastavujeme u Buller Swing Bridge, nejdelšího visutého mostu Zélandu. Měří 110 m a leží ve výšce 19 m nad kaňonem řeky Buller. Po pár krocích a odhodlání, že překonám svůj strach z výšek a mostů, jsem vycouvala zpátky na pevnou zem. Paní u vstupu nám navíc nabízela možnost si to zpět sjet na laně. Tak určitě :-)!! Pohled na samotný kaňon s řekou byl úchvatný a mohli jsme ... read more
Kaňon Buller
Místní pivo ve Westportu
Pancake rocks

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Greymouth February 26th 2019

21st February we left Manapouri, crossed the Eyre Mountains and went to Queenstown, spending two days there. It's a popular place, like a ski village, full of young people wanting adrenalin--fuelled experiences. We wanted to drive up beside Lake Wakatipu to Glenorchy, and visit Arrowtown, an old mining town. All the old houses were now shops and it could have been tacky, but it wasn't. The museum was quite good too. The whole country is geared to tourism, but the souvenirs are all tasteful, well made, reasonably priced and sold by genuinely charming people. The Airbnb where we stayed overlooked the lake with mountains in the background, and we found a fabulous place to eat in a microbrewery by Arthur's Point, where a single track bridge crossed the river where rafting is done. Leaving Queenstown we ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Greymouth 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 ... read more
Wild and rugged
Who can resist a proper steam engine
Sawmill at Shantytown

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Greymouth March 29th 2018

Our last driving day in NZ as we head 100 miles north to Greymouth. Our motel for the past 2 nights was all the reviews promised; damp, smelly and uncomfortable and it’s a relief to be on the road again. We leave North Southland and enter South Westland, or something like that, it’s all starting to blur a little. We take a break in Hokitika a small town at the mouth of the River Hokitika. A hundred plus years ago it was a boom town, epicentre of the gold rush. Now it’s struggling to find some sort of raison d’être. It seems to have settled with being a pleasant place to stop on the way to/from somewhere else and has rebranded itself We take a walk along the beach, where someone has made the word ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Greymouth March 15th 2018

Third note from the editor: The Donkey has asked me to thank all his family, friends and followers for their comments and encouragement which he has received along the way. Initially he was a bit anxious about it as he wondered if it could be considered assistance as it perked the Donkey up no end when at a low-ebb, which has been often, especially in the North Island, and it has motivated him to push on. But then he thought about it and concluded that his family, friends and followers don’t actually physically push him, or give him an electric bike, or carry his gear, or tell him were to go, when, once again he is lost, or anything like that, so he has come to embrace it and he wants his family, friends and followers ... read more

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