Greymouth & Westport – ideas for free time

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The main attraction of this region is the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki. This attraction can be easily viewed from 20-minute walkway loop that also weaves through native bush and has a number of interpretive boards along its length. If you have more time you may wish to take a walk in Paparoa National Park or amble along one of the nearby beaches.

If you continue north of here, just south of Westport you will find Cape Foulwind, so named by Captain Cook as the Endeavour got blown far offshore in this area. However, for modern day visitors the foul wind is more readily associated with the large colony of New Zealand fur seals that breed here, creating a somewhat unsavoury smell, and noise. Despite this, the walkway that takes you past the seals to the lighthouse and various viewpoints is well worth the time.

Greymouth itself doesn’t require too much pause for thought, however, one of New Zealand’s main brewing companies, Monteiths, is open to visitors, whilst just south of the city Shantytown is a great place to take a break from the driving, learn about the gold rush history of this area and try your hand at gold panning. Continuing south, Hokitika is a good place to stop for lunch and to have a wander around the shops and galleries. Alternatively, just south of the town, the West Coast Treetop Walk & Café offers a great lunchtime menu and has a walkway running though the tops of the trees, as well as a 40-metre tower that looks out over Lake Mahinapua and the Tasman Sea beyond.

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