Hotels in Greymouth (South Island, New Zealand)
Hotels in Greymouth
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Let Greymouth be your base on New Zealand’s west coast
Anchoring the West Coast region of New Zealand’s beautiful South Island, Greymouth and its hinterland are awash with colour. Found at the mouth of the Grey River, this coastal town brimming with hotels, motels and amenities once supported a native Maori carving industry that processed precious greenstone, a form of jade. Subsequently, a 19th century gold rush attracted European settlers seeking their fortunes. With improved transport links, today’s tourism brings visitors in to admire icy blue and white glaciers nearby or to explore scenic protected landscapes that are rich in wildlife and perfect for walking or cycling.
See Greymouth’s attractions and museums
As the largest town in the West Coast region, Greymouth possesses a smattering of museums and attractions that travellers can enjoy without venturing too far from their hotels. About seven miles south of Greymouth visitors can experience a day in the life of a gold rush settler at Shantytown Heritage Park. Part museum and part recreated 1860s town; this famous attraction founded by local heritage enthusiasts features a period pub, steam train, butcher, bank, hospital, blacksmith, sawmill and even a jail. There are also interactive foundry displays, gold panning lessons, period clothing exhibits and holographic theatre shows.
Greymouth also boasts several museums within the town boundaries. Occupying historic premises in Gresson Street, the History House Museum uses countless pictures and old documents to chronicle Greymouth’s jade-carving and gold-mining heritage as well as the rise of dairy farming, eco-tourism, coal-mining and forestry industries that have replaced them as the economic backbone of today’s community. Elsewhere, the Left Bank Art Gallery in Tainui Street predominantly showcases jade carvings, pottery and paintings by contemporary Kiwi artists and artisans from the West Coast region. The revamped local brewery, Monteith’s Brewing Company in Herbert Street, is worth a visit too. Producing beer since 1868, its tipples are sold nationwide and there are regular tours and tastings.
An unforgettable train journey
One of the world’s most scenic train journeys calls at Greymouth railway station, making it straightforward for travellers to ride the rails across the South Island. The TranzAlpine service uses the famous Midland Line to connect Greymouth with Christchurch on the eastern coast. It takes about four-and-a-half hours each way, slicing through the glorious mountain scenery of the Southern Alps. Along the 139-mile route, there are numerous bridges, four viaducts and 19 tunnels, the longest of which is the Otira Tunnel. It became the longest tunnel in the British Empire when it opened in 1923. With oversized windows on many of its carriages, this service is ideal for photographers because it passes the amazing Waimakariri River gorge and the picturesque highlands around Arthur’s Pass.
There is much to see and do north of your hotel in Greymouth along scenic State Highway 6. About 40 minutes up the coast in Punakaiki are the Pancake Rocks. Thanks to walkways and wheelchair-accessible paths, visitors can get among these unusually layered limestone rock formations hugging the coast. At high tide, the sea often erupts through vertical blowholes that have been eroded by the water. Punakaiki is also the gateway to beautiful Paparoa National Park, home to mountains, valleys, remote stretches of coastline and caves like the Metro Cave with its grottos illuminated by glow-worms. The subterranean cave system can be visited on guided walking or rafting tours. The park also offers wildlife-watchers the possibility of glimpsing seals, dolphins and whales near the shore.
Easily accessible in Cobden just north of Greymouth, walkers won’t want to miss the Point Elizabeth Walkway, which snakes its way for about three miles along coastal cliffs to a lush and forested headland beneath the Rapahoe Range. Along the way, look out for a Tasman Sea viewpoint and the world’s southernmost palm tree plus picnic tables and an abundance of birdlife. The northern trailhead at Rapahoe also boasts a beach and a pub.
Discover glaciers and more outdoor activities
Two of New Zealand’s mightiest glaciers are located within moderate driving distance of Greymouth at the Westland Tai Poutini National Park, which lies about two hours’ drive to the south along State Highway 6. This protected landscape, part of the wider Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Site, contains wild coastline, a wealth of animal life, rainforests and rugged mountains. The road journey from Greymouth offers occasional glimpses of New Zealand’s highest peak, the 3,724-metre Aoraki/Mount Cook, but the standout attractions of the park are the Franz Josef Glacier and the Fox Glacier. Guided tours are a safe and popular way to see the glaciers, which dramatically tumble down from New Zealand’s loftiest peaks. The impressive Franz Josef Glacier finishes its descent down the slopes at less than 300 metres above sea level, while the imposing Fox Glacier is about eight miles long.
Just five minutes’ drive from Fox Glacier village, walkers and photographers will love Lake Matheson, which is enclosed by a walkway and offers famous reflections of Mount Cook in its serene waters. Another popular lake can be found at Moana, roughly 30 minutes’ drive inland from the hotels and motels of Greymouth. With a reputation for good fishing, Lake Brunner also welcomes walkers who can enjoy paths around the water’s edge. If you fancy an adventure on two wheels from Greymouth, then head for the West Coast Wilderness Trail which, when complete, will take cyclists south through coastal rainforests for 86 miles to Ross.
Hotels in Greymouth
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