At the heart of the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island stands a town steeped in gold mining history. Greymouth is the area’s largest town and the terminus for the country’s TranzAlpine Railway, which is often described as one of the world’s most scenic train journeys. The surrounding area is a spectacular wilderness dotted with scenic reserves. As a center for New Zealand jade, the town offers visitors the unique opportunity to wander around local galleries to invest in an authentic piece of jade jewelry. If you’re the adventurous type, the Grey Valley is the perfect place to try a wide variety of exciting adventure activities, such as caving, white water rafting or quad biking. You can also explore the area on foot, with one of the best walks being the Point Elizabeth Track, a coastal walkway with spectacular cliff top views of the coast and Mount Cook. To learn more about the local heritage, you can make a short drive south down the coast to Shantytown Heritage Park, which is the perfect way to spend an interactive day discovering the stories of the past. This recreated gold rush town offers plenty of unique experiences that will thrill adults and kids alike, such as panning for gold, or taking a ride on the steam train. Another favourite destination for the kids is Woods Creek Walk, an isolated 45 minute walk through old gold mining tunnels and forest. Finally, when you’re ready to take a rest, there’s no better way to relax than with a visit to the local brewery to sample one of the local award winning beers.
The West Coast of the South Island is renowned for its rainy weather. Yet, dry spells can still be fairly frequent. If you visit in the summer months between December and February, temperatures tend to be mild and this is why most travelers choose to visit during the summer months.
In the winter months between June and August the temperature drops and can range from 41 to 59 degrees F. Rainfall can still be high, but if you want a cheaper deal on flights and accommodation it’s the cheapest time to visit.