Mawhera Heart of the West Coast
Greymouth, West Coast, New Zealand
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Heart of the West Coast
Greymouth is the largest town on the West Coast and has the turnaround of the TranzAlpine train journey, recognised as one of the top train trips in the world and one form of public transport that you'll actually wish took a little bit longer. Greymouth and the surrounding Grey Valley offer adventure activities, heritage attractions and guided nature tours. Cycle the easy West Coast Wilderness Trail or visit Shantytown, a replica of a 1880's gold town. Get muddy on a quad bike tour, go caving or whitewater rafting, head up the Croesus Track for a very scenic full day hike and then end your adventure with a good old local brew of Monteith's beer.
The Greymouth and Grey Valley area takes in Blackball, Nelson Creek, Stillwater and Greymouth.
For a good half day trip from Greymouth head to the iconic West Coast town of Blackball. This small town was the birth place of the New Zealand Labour party. Back in 1908 miners went on strike for three months to win a 30-minute lunch break. They won!
Nowdays it is more famous for The Blackball Salami Company, where they serve up "West Coast perfection". Colin at Kereru Crafts makes his own woodwork creations and another good stop is Formerly the Blackball Hilton Hotel, named after an infamous dispute with a certain international hotel chain. Apparently the ladies loos never fail to raise a smile.
The Croesus Track follows an historic miners pack track and is open to trampers and mountain bikers. You can either do the 45 minute walk to Garden Gully past an old miners hut or an 8 hour return walk to Croesus Knob. For the more adventurous, make this a two-day walk and stay overnight in a Department of Conservation hut.
There are several historical places of interest in Blackball to visit here including an old mine site and the Blackball-Roa Railway Line.
North of Greymouth, Nelson Creek, has a great community run campground complete with a playground, jump off point into a deep swimming hole and historic walks through a landscape of tunnels and tailraces created by the gold miners. Children love exploring the tunnels – just don’t forget to take a torch.
Stillwater township is a small town with a sad reminder of the area’s tragic history. A total of 67 men were entombed in the Brunner Coalmine collapse in 1896 and you can still see the Brunner Mine remains just 2km out of Stillwater heading towards Greymouth.