Blogs from Greymouth, South Island, New Zealand, Oceania


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

Day 18: Reefton to Kumara, 120km. The Donkey fools Headwind and Rain with the help of Showpony It was going to be a quickie, on asphalt, 80km from Reefton to Greymouth. The Donkey had decided to take another chicken route. The off-road option, called the Big River Trail, 56km long was introduced in the course book as a 5-7 hour challenging stage, not passable if it had been raining as there are several river crossings. Heavy rain was predicted for later that afternoon. The Donkey was convinced that he would not get through the Big River Trail by late afternoon, or late evening, or ever, for that matter, so he had a valid excuse. The Donkey had a ball on the asphalt of the back countries of the West Coast. Low hanging cloud and a bit ... read more
Somewhere between Reefton and Blackball
Formerly The Blackball Hilton
The Grey River

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

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Greymouth May 24th 2017

Nous restons à Greymouth plusieurs jours. Non pas qu'il y ait foule de choses à faire mais surtout parce que j'ai réservé 2 activités aux alentours et que c'est la seule ville proche proposant des parkings gratuits pour passer la nuit. Nous nous invitons tout d'abord à une petite balade dans la forêt près de la ville: coal creek. C'est boueux mais de saison, l'air est très humide comme vous vous en doutez mais ça valait le détour:superbe cascade qui doit être particulièrement sympa en été pour s'y baigner. Au retour, nous observons une fougère bouger toute seule sans doute l'esprit de la forêt ;-D Le samedi je n'étais pas certaine que ma première activité à Hokitika serait maintenue le lendemain car j'étais la seule à l'avoir réservée...Mais comme ma bonne étoile nous suit depuis le ... read more
Coal Creek
Coal Creek
Coal Creek

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Greymouth March 13th 2017

" Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer". Anonymous 12th March 2017 Nudging back onto Route 6 heading south seemed like a good enough moment to reflect on our three weeks to date in NZ. A few things stand out. Firstly, it is a beautiful country with sumptuous and stunning scenery. An elderly Swiss guy we met early in our travels told us that he had been doing the campervan thing in NZ over a number of years and for him there is nothing to beat the beauty of NZ. He has travelled widely. Secondly, everywhere one goes there is no doubting the huge value NZ sees in tourism. The brochures are very informative and the signage as one meanders along is excellent. And there is a helluva lot to see. In ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Greymouth January 7th 2017

Before leaving Invercargill, in the rain, we visited eHayes hardware. They have a great collection of vintage motorcycles and vehicles including some of Burt Munro's, they even had a replica of one of the motorcycles used in the movie The Fastest Indian. Drove through the Catlins from Dunedin to Invercargill, not as interesting as we thought it would be. Decided to stay in Manapouri rather than Te Anau, mostly because Te Anau was full. Found a nice place to pitch the tent, had to dry it out first. Booked a Milford sound fiord tour for Wednesday that included transportation from Te Anau. Woke up to sunshine, drove to Te Anau and boarded the bus to Milford Sound. Lovely drive 120km took 2 and a half hours! We had a number of stops on the tour, including ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Greymouth August 17th 2016

Murchison to Hokitika has a choice of 2 routes, via the coast road and Westport or through Reefton and the inland. Either way you get to go through Greymouth which is the largest city on the west coast. And home to Maccas and quite fast wifi. The road takes you initially along the Buller Gorge and at times we were 60metres above the river, sheer cliffs down to a fast flowing green river. Hard to think that the early explorers came through here in the early 1800's equipped with only a few Maori guides and the ability to live off the land. Many accidents occur along this stretch of road, the Murchison rural fire brigade gets called 2-3 times a week in the summer to attend to motor accidents. Coming into Greymouth you come into coal ... read more
displays and history

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Greymouth April 4th 2016

R: Our plans worked. We drove into the Christchurch car hire place and found Dave lurking in the car park, and Shannon sensibly hanging out in the office. It was raining after all. After a quick switch over of bags from one vehicle to the other, we were off in the RAV4 towards Springfield - which is a tiny hamlet with a pie shop, and a giant concrete model of a frosted donut, built to celebrate the Simpsons movie coming out, and it just sort of stuck. We headed on up towards Arthur's pass, which takes you over the centre of the South Island, and down to the West coast. As we did so, the weather closed in and the cloud level dropped... We stopped at Castle Hill, which has an impressive array stones sticking out ... read more
Castle Hill Portaloo
Castle Hill

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