Family Activities in Greymouth
A key part of the West Coast journey, whether you’re road tripping along the West Coast or visiting off the TranzAlpine train, Greymouth is a great base for family fun. From walks and attraction parks showcasing historical features from the town’s proud mining heritage to breathtaking natural attractions like the Pancake Rocks, Hokitika Gorge and Lake Brunner, there’s so much for families to do here. Get inspired for your visit with this list of things to do in Greymouth with kids.
For more family activities in Greymouth and other travel tips, see The Guide to Greymouth for Families.
1. Go On an Off-roading Adventure with On Yer Bike
Whatever the weather, which you really need to plan for on the wet and wild West Coast, On Yer Bike is here to provide! While the off-roading tour operator is more known for its self-drive buggy and quad biking adventures, a great option for families with little ones (aged three and above) is the Hagglund experience. Jump in this all-terrain military vehicle for a rainforest ride to remember. Ploughing through the mud, creeks and other natural obstacles; nothing can stand in its way! The experience lasts between 30 minutes to an hour, travelling approximately 5km (3 miles). Alternatively, older kids might like to jump in the passenger seat of a two- or four-seater buggy as you try the self-drive buggy adventure!
Location: 511 State Highway 6, Coal Creek, approximately 6km (4 miles) from Greymouth town centre.
2. Experience the West Coast as it Used to Be at Shantytown Heritage Park
Get into the pioneer spirit of the West Coast at the family attraction Shantytown Heritage Park. Wander through the streets of this replica gold rush town to get a taste of what the West Coast used to be like in the 19th Century. Ride the steam train through the rainforest, try your luck at panning for gold (an extra fee applies), see a working sluice gun or sawmill in action and much more!
Location: 316 Rutherglen Road Rutherglen, Paroa, approximately 12km (7 miles) from Greymouth town centre.
3. Go on a Glowworm and Gold Panning Tour
A real hidden gem of the Greymouth area, Glow-worm Cave Tour offers exciting glowworm and gold panning tours. As long as your kids are old enough scramble through a cave and a shallow stream, they’ll have a blast on this tour. Delve into a cave with a ceiling of glowworms glittering like a galaxy of stars and learn about their interesting lifecycle from your knowledgable guide. You’ll also get an insight into the local European and Maori history and try your hand at panning for gold!
Location: 8 Whall Street, Greymouth
4. Tackle One of Greymouth’s Short Walks
Tie up the kids’ laces, because some of the best family attractions in Greymouth are scenic walks! For something easy for kids of all ages, as well as being stroller-friendly, have a stroll along the Greymouth Floodwall to the Blaketown Tiphead for cool coastal views and even back to Aoraki Mt Cook on a clear day. Walks that are suitable for more active children (although not pre-schoolers) are the Woods Creek Track, Coal Creek Falls and the Point Elizabeth Walkway. Woods Creek Track is a fun 45-minute trail with mining tunnels and gold mining races to check out. Coal Creek Falls is a one-hour return of easy walking with a picturesque waterfall being the highlight. Finally, the Point Elizabeth Walkway offers stunning coastal views between tracts of coastal forest on a 1h45min oneway trail.
Location: Check out the walks’ locations in the 10 Best Walks in Greymouth.
5. Check Out the Brunner Mine Site
Another short walk and a historical site worth visiting is the Brunner Mine Site. And don’t worry, this isn’t too far from town and can be coupled up quite nicely with a trip to Lake Brunner (see point #8). Wander around one of New Zealand’s earliest coal mining sites and learn fascinating facts on the interpretation panels throughout. There is a short walk to various coke ovens, a brick factory and the remains of a tunnel.
Location: Taylorville, State Highway 7, approximately 12km (7 miles) from Greymouth town centre.
6. Take a Trip to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks…
For a bit of a road trip to see some must-see sights and landscapes on the West Coast, hit the road to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks! Located north of Greymouth, the Pancake Rocks are bizarre limestone formations that look like stacked pancakes. The walk to admire them takes about 20 minutes and is stroller-friendly, but allow extra time to stop and admire the blowholes best seen at high tide. Tours and transport to this attraction are also available with Explore West Coast. For more things to do while you’re in the area, check out the 9 Awesome Things to Do in Punakaiki.
Location: Coast Road, Punakaiki, approximately 44km (27 miles) from Greymouth town centre.
7. … Or to Hokitika Gorge
Another amazing natural attraction and road trip worth taking from Greymouth is heading south to Hokitika Gorge! Admire the milky blue river water flowing through the dramatic gorge landscape on this walk that only takes about 15 minutes to tackle. Kids love crossing the swingbridge, while strollers are suitable for the first part of the walk to the bridge. Again, tours and transport to this attraction and more are also available with Explore West Coast. 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.
8. Spend the Day at Lake Brunner
Only a 30-minute drive inland from Greymouth is the real hidden gem of the West Coast. Lake Brunner is a recreational haven where locals come to fish, jet boat, waterski, kayak and more. For visitors and especially families, it’s a wonderful place to lap up the scenery of the lake and surrounding mountains. The best way to do that is along the many family-friendly short walks in the area, featuring cool forest, swingbridges and even glowworms. Find out more about them in the 10 Hikes Around Lake Brunner. There’s also floating pontoons on the lake for swimming in summer, as well as perfect picnic spots around the lake.
Location: Moana, Arnold Valley Road, approximately 36km (22 miles) from Greymouth town centre.
9. Ride the TranzAlpine Train Through Arthur’s Pass
What kid doesn’t love to ride the train?! Better still, the TranzAlpine is sure to impress you too, often ranked as one of the most scenic train journeys in the world. The four-hour train ride goes from Greymouth to Christchurch, passing through the commanding alpine landscape of the Arthur’s Pass National Park. Observe the breathtaking scenery from the open-air viewing carriages or from the comfort of your seat with large windows up to the ceiling. Keep the kids happy with a treat from the cafe carriage in between watching the braided rivers, lakes and bush-clad mountains go by.
Location: Greymouth Train Station, 164 MacKay Street, Greymouth.
10. Cycle Part of the West Coast Wilderness Trail
The South Island is packed with scenic bike trails, including the iconic West Coast Wilderness Trail. What’s more, it’s the best one to tackle with kids thanks to its smoothly packed gravel surface that is only classed as high as grade-two difficulty. While the trail is 139km (86 miles), short sections can be enjoyed, such as the Greymouth to Kumara section taking around two to four hours to complete. The trail starts from the railway station, following the Grey River and the coast, then inland through coastal forest along a historic bush tramway with beautiful views of the Taramakau River. Children’s bikes and a ride-behind bike can be hired from Mann Cycles and bikes with child seats can be hired from West Coast Rail Trails Cycle Holidays. For more details about the trail, see Mountain Biking on the West Coast.
Location: Start from the Greymouth Railway Station, 164 MacKay Street, Greymouth.