Free (and Cheap) Activities in Greymouth
That’s right, a trip to the mouth of the Grey (Mawheranui) River doesn’t have to be a costly one with most of the top attractions being 100% free to visit! From walking trails, where Greymouth’s mining relics are being reclaimed by the forest, to an art gallery to ruggedly beautiful beaches, there’s plenty to check out in Greymouth for free. If you’re willing to put the fuel money in, you can also day trip to some of the West Coast’s must-dos between the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Hokitika Gorge. To make up our “cheap” section, there’s also an affordable brewery tour and affordable delicacies like whitebait fritters to experience the West Coast’s foodie side.
So, fill your itinerary with these free and cheap things to do in Greymouth to make sticking to your travel budget a breeze! For more tips, check out The Guide to Greymouth on a Budget.
1. Walk the Point Elizabeth Walkway – FREE
Of course, you’re in New Zealand so you want to see some stellar scenery, right? Photo-worthy landscapes are easy to find in Greymouth, especially on the Point Elizabeth Walkway. Take in the coastal views of the wild West Coast as you walk through coastal forest to a rocky viewpoint looking out to the Southern Alps. The walk takes approximately 1h45minutes to walk one way but a return walk to the viewpoint is a good alternative to the full thing.
Location: Rapahoe, State Highway 6, approximately 11km (7 miles) from Greymouth or North Beach Road about 6km (4 miles) from Greymouth.
2. Visit Rapahoe Beach – FREE
Although part of the Point Elizabeth Walkway, Rapahoe Beach is an attraction in itself that you can drive to if you prefer. This picturesque beach backed with coastal cliffs is a stunning place to watch the vivid West Coast sunset or simply pop in on your way in or out of Greymouth. The beach is patrolled for swimming on weekends during summer.
Location: Beach Road, Rapahoe, approximately 11km (7 miles) from Greymouth town centre.
3. Check Out the Brunner Mine Site – FREE
Greymouth is home to some fascinating historical sites showcasing its rich heritage in coal and gold mining. An iconic site is the Brunner Mine Site, just a short drive inland from Greymouth. A short walking trail here with lots of interpretation panels tells the story of one of the earliest industrial coal mining sites in the country along with the remains of a coke oven, tunnel and brick factory. It’s also one of the activities we list in the 10 Things to Do in Greymouth with Kids.
Location: Taylorville, State Highway 7, approximately 12km (7 miles) from Greymouth town centre.
4. Tour the Monteith’s Brewery – CHEAP
Yes, one of our only “cheap” attractions in Greymouth is a brewery tour! Learn about the West Coast’s passion for brewing on the comprehensive Monteith’s Brewery tour. Meander between the vats and bottling machines of this working brewery while learning about the brewing process. You’ll also get an insight into the history of one of New Zealand’s oldest beermakers and see artefacts in the mini-museum. At the end of the tour, learn how to pour your own pint and, of course, taste the goodness too. The brewery also has a bar and restaurant so you can indulge in the various beers and ciders with a tasting paddle to pair with some food.
Location: 60 Herbert Street, Greymouth.
5. Do the Woods Creek Track (and Other Walks) – FREE
To discover more of Greymouth’s mining history that’s being reclaimed by nature, check out some of the cool walking trails. The Woods Creek Track is a highlight, a 45-minute loop passing trail races, dams and tunnels immersed in native forest. Find this walk on the road to the Shantytown Heritage Park, which is a relatively affordable attraction and mock-up of a gold-rush town. There are plenty more walks to check out in Greymouth, between the Floodwall Walkway to Breakwater Tiphead to the waterfall at Coal Creek Falls. Learn more in the 10 Best Walks in Greymouth.
Location: Maori Creek Road, Dunganville, approximately 27km (17 miles) from Greymouth town centre.
6. Check Out the Left Bank Art Gallery – FREE
Take a break from the walks and mining sites with something a little different at the Left Bank Art Gallery. This free art gallery inside the imposing architecture of a former Bank of New Zealand building showcases contemporary New Zealand paintings, photography, sculptures and crafts. It’s also a great place to see pounamu (greenstone/jade) art. Check out the gift shop to browse pieces of handcrafted textiles, jewellery, jade, vintage pendants and carvings making for a unique souvenir to take home.
Location: 1 Tainui Street, Greymouth.
7. Take a Trip on the Great Coast Road to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks – FREE
Ok, so you’ll need to take into account fuel costs for this, but there are many free and cheap sights to admire on the Great Coast Road. The entire Great Coast Road is a scenic journey between Greymouth and Westport, but hitting the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks makes a nice half-day trip for most travellers. The coastal attraction with limestone formations shaped like pancakes can be accessed on a sealed 20-minute loop walk just off the highway. Try to time your visit with high tide to see the best blowhole displays. On your way back, stop by Motukiekie or Rapahoe Beach or, if your budget will allow, stop in Barrytown to carve your own Maori pendant at the Skeleton Crew Carving Studio (around NZ$90 per adult).
Location: State Highway 6 between Greymouth and Westport. The Punakaiki Pancake Rocks is approximately 44km (27 miles) away from Greymouth.
8. Spend the Day at Lake Brunner – FREE
Inland from Greymouth is a gem not many visitors to the West Coast know about. Lake Brunner is a lake formed by glacial carving and is a stunning sight among the foothills of the Southern Alps. A road trip from Greymouth takes you only half an hour to reach the lakeside village of Moana where you’ll find an array of short walks to enjoy the area, as described in the 10 Hikes Around Lake Brunner. You can also just sit by the lake with a picnic!
Location: Moana, Arnold Valley Road, approximately 36km (22 miles) from Greymouth town centre.
9. Take a Trip to Hokitika Gorge – FREE
Another trip worth taking from Greymouth is south to Hokitika Gorge! Admire the milky blue river water flowing through the dramatic gorge landscape on this short walk through the forest. The swingbridge is a highlight of the walk, which gives incredible views, or you can walk all the way to the bottom of the trail to the boulder river bank – just watch out for the sandflies! While you’re in the area, check out the 10 Awesome Things to Do in Hokitika to add activities to your itinerary.
Location: Whitcombe Valley Road, Kokatahi, approximately 72km (45 miles) from Greymouth town centre.
10. Indulge in Cheap Eats – CHEAP
With West Coast delicacies, such as whitebait and paua fritters, eating out can definitely be classed as an activity! A great place to try the aforementioned dishes is Cobden Takeaways (126 Bright Street), where whitebait is on the menu during the season between mid-August and November. It’s also a good place to pick up a classic Kiwi fish and chips with a can of tomato sauce to eat while parked up on the coast. Another interesting foodie highlight is The Lifeboat NZ at Blakedown Tiphead, found at the end of the Floodwall Walkway. It’s a Dutch food truck in a renovated boat serving coffee and stroopwafels! For dining recommendations, check out The Foodie Guide to Greymouth.
Location: Cobden Takeaways – 126 Bright Street. The Lifeboat NZ – Blakedown Tiphead.