Caves, Glow-worms and a zipline flight
Go to the bright green building next to McDonalds as these guys are really helpful. I did their blackwater rafting trip. We were actually on tubes and not in a raft. Some of us started the trip with a zipline ride. We had to slide off the top of a cliff attached to the flight wire and zoomed down ovwer the rain forest. It was awesome. Then we hoped on our tubes and floated down this moss coverd river canyon. It was beautiful with some gentle rapids that were fun but not too challlenging. We then floared into a long cave with glow-worms in the roog. They are truly amazing. When we got back to their base we got a spa and a beer and muffin. It was great, we stayed as long as we wanted. They then had free internet so I could do some bookings for my next few days and they recommended some local things to see on my way south and I even got a voucher with some deals on it.
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Paparoa National Park
The Paparoa range is made out of granite and limestone underlies it. It's most know by the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes that are shaped that way by wind and water. The Pancake Rocks look like stacks of pancakes and if the wind and tide are right, water can blow up between them. There's a nice 20 minute walk around there. You can also walk the Truman Track there (30 minutes) to a bay where pinguins live, although I haven't seen them. Watch the tide if you're strolling along the beach, you may not be able to come back.
Take the Trazalpine to Christchurch
Your train wil depart from Greymouth in the afternoon at around 1:30 pm and pass Lake Brunner, a world class trout fishing lake, before crossing the Taramakau and following the Otira River to entrance of the Otira Tunnel. Construction of the 8.6 kilometres long tunnel began in 1908 and took a total of 12 years. Digging was extremely slow, just 4 metres were considered to be a good day's progress. When it finally opened in 1923 the tunnel was the seventh longest in the world.
Emerging from the tunnel you will arrive at the village of Arthur's Pass, elevation 2428 ft, a popular base for the visits to the Arthur's Pass National Park with its hiking, climbing and skiing alpine activities. Leaving Arthur's Pass hug the banks of the Waimakariri River passing the Craigieburn Forest Park, which contains the two ski areas of Craigieburn and Broken River. Emerging from the Southern Alps the railway passes through the rural service towns of Sheffield and Darfield both named after towns in Yorkshire, England by early settler John Jebson.
Continue across the Canterbury Plains to reach Christchurch.
Visit the pancake rocks and see the blow holes
We took a cab to the same as public transport in NZ is pretty handicapped in the tourist season! A journey of abt an hour brought us to these rocks, we spent a good 2 hours there soaking i these strange formations. Punakaiki is the service centre for the Paparoa National Park - 30,000 ha of varied landscape from lush West Coast native rainforest and mountain tops, to expansive rugged beaches and coastline.
Dont be surprised to see most of the trees labelled here for your benefit. The whole of NZ hardly has any animal life, most of the animals you see are domesticated or imported from other countries. Infact the cab driver told us we would see the only two water buffaloes in the country on the way to Punakaiki....we were so amused to see 2 buffaloes being showcased, i India we get to see them in evry street almost! :) We just realised how much we take nature and animal life for granted in India!
These rocks are called pancake rocks as they look like pancakes stacked one on the other, the beach below with its pebbly texture was splendid. Infact we almost felt lke the first ones setting foot on the beach!
- Road Trip
Tick Tock, Tick Tock
Thought I'd break into some nursery rhyme but chose against it. The clock tower has it's bit of history which you can read from the plaque at the tower itself. The clock tower was erected by the Greymouth Rotary and Lions clubs in 1992. The clock is from the former Post Office that is dated from 1903.
- Road Trip
Franz Joseph Glacier
Down the west coast you can find Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers. You can do scenic hiking tours up the glacier, they last either half a day or a full day. With experienced guides you
climb up the ice walls, crawl through ice caves and enjoy wonderful views down to the
prehistoric, Jurassic Park-like scenery of rainforest, stone and ice!
This is a warm glacier so you cannot expect low temperatures. However, you should be
a good hiker and not scared of heights...It certainly is worth the effort!
Go to the Climbing Center on the main street of the village of Franz Josef.
This is a lighthouse site. There's also a seal colony here now and you can do a 2.5 hour walk to another bay. When we were there, the seals had puppies. There were a lot of them and you could see them very well, this is really worth a visit.
Stop for lunch picnic at Lake Mahinapua
Lake Mahinapua is located between greymouth and Hokitika
We stopped here on our way to Hokitika after leaving Shanty Town and when we saw the lake, we decided to stop and have a lunch picnic.
The wind was quite strong when we were there
- Adventure Travel
Visit Shanty Town
it's a replica of what the city was like on the Old days during the Gold Mining Booming.
It's fun to go if you have never been to a place like this and esp if you're travelling with kids. They will surely enjoy it
You can do Gold Panning as well.... for additional fee beside the entrance fee
If you're a student bring your ISIC card as they give discount for students
- Theme Park Trips
Go to Punakaiki Rocks at Sunset
Drive from greymouth to punakaiki takes 20 minutes. The scenery along the way was breathtaking .... you can see teh sea along the way
There is a 30 minutes walk you can do in the park.
If you want to see the blowhole you have to come at special time when the tide is high. I didn't get to see that :(
There are 2 times you can chose to see Punakaiki at best:
1. at sunset
2. when the tide is high so you can see the blowhole (you need to ask the Local about the timing)
- Budget Travel
- National/State Park
Montieth Brewery Tour
A must do in Greymouth, the Montieth Brewery tour is a great tour to take when you want to meet other traveler's and taste some good beer. The entry price is a little more than a budget traveler would normally shell out, but my tour ended in 20 minutes of free beer drinking and spending the rest of the day with 10 new friends drinking and relaxing on the river bank.
Jade Factory (at Hokitika)
The Jade Factory is one of the few places where shoppers can watch skilled Carvers at work creating one-off originals. It gives visitors a chance to wander through the factory or take a guided tour with commentary about the prestigious green stone - what it meant and still means to Maori, along with a technical explanation of the physical properties.
- Family Travel
Punakaiki (Pancake) Rocks
Paparoa National Park - Known for its Pancakes. These fascinating limestone formations put on a spectacular spouting display in certain sea conditions. The eroded rock layers look like stacks of pancakes. Water is forced by the waves into small holes, where it blows upward, making tiny geysers. The effect is best during stormy weather. The coastal promontory of the Pancake Rocks is looped by an easy walking track.
- Hiking and Walking
Gold panning and NZ history
A trip out to Shantytown is a bit of fun. There are taxis that will do the trip out there for $20 return p.p.
The old shops are moderately interesting, but goldpanning is the best part of it.
I enjoyed the tour of the Monteiths brewery in Greymouth. You get ample opportunity to sample what Monteiths has to offer. It's reasonably priced as well at $10.
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