My biggest reason to stop in the larger West Coast town of Greymouth was to go to Punakaiki also known as the Pancake Rocks. Like the Moeraki boulders, it didn’t look like it would take too much time, but hey, you never know. They are also a natural occurance and look like something I had never seen before. They are only a quick 30 minute ride outside of town, but I walked the whole path, not wanting to be rushed. The place was awesome! I highly recoomend everyone stopping there (and all the backpacker buses do). High tide is supposed to be “better” because when the waves come in, they splash up really high and act like a geyser. I was there during low tide and it was great too. Just so unlike anything I had ever seen before.
I ate lunch there at the over priced cafe before taking my time to return to town and stopping on the side of the road at some random beaches to enjoy the quite and read my book.
Greymouth as a town is kind of a bust. It’s the largest town on the West Coast of New Zealand and kind of reminds me of Invercargill where most of the population is just working class and there isn’t much to see in town. It’s sort of the jade capital of New Zealand and there are jewlery stores on every corner. If you want to get something jade, this is probably the place to do it. Because of it’s size, it’s a good place to crash for the night, but not really worth staying more then traveling through.
I stayed at Duke’s Backpackers which was really interesting. When I stayed, it was own by Isrealies and I was there over Hanukkah, so they lite the candles and sang songs every night I was there, which I hadn’t expirenced in a while. The kitchen and eating area was huge, they had cheap single rooms with closet, chair, sink and wardrobe. The place was very quiet. I don’t remember the parking situation, I know there was a lot, but I don’t remember if I was there over a weekend, so it may have been free and there was no issue.
Moral: I could have done Greymouth and the area in an afternoon instead of the full day I allotted myself. But the weather was great and I spent the rest of my time reading on the beach, so no complaints here. If you drive the West Coast, you gotta stop at Punakaiki. You can see it in like 30 minutes, if you rush and it’s so awesome!