The Must-Dos in Greymouth!
As the biggest hub on the West Coast in the South Island, you simply can’t miss Greymouth. The town was once famous for its mining, but today it’s the start of many fantastic day trips, off-roading experiences, the base of one of New Zealand’s biggest beer brands, and more! Check out the highlights in this list of the best things to do in Greymouth.
While there are many hikes, mountain bike trails, surfing, tours and more in Greymouth (just take a look at our The Complete Guide to Greymouth), we’ve made this list concise to the must-dos in Greymouth! However, if you want to stick around a while to explore the area more, check out some accommodation in our 10 Best Motels in Greymouth and The Guide to Greymouth on a Budget lists.
1. Do the Floodwall Walk
An easy walk within Greymouth, follow the floodwall beside the Grey River towards the river mouth. Features of the walk include a monument to 300 men who died in West Coast mining disasters, watching the locals fish, passing historic cranes and birdwatching at the sandbar. At the Blaketown Tiphead, enjoy spectacular views all the way to Aoraki Mt Cook on a clear day! Additionally, this is a great place to watch the sunset. Check out the 10 Best Walks in Greymouth for more walks in the area.
Location: Mawhera Quay.
2. Check Out the Brunner Mine Site
One of the most significant historical sites on the West Coast, if you want to learn more about the New Zealand people then the Brunner Mine Site just outside of Greymouth is a good place to go. This 2km (1.2-mile) walk around coke ovens, a brick factory and the remains of tunnel entrances have interactive displays going through the history. Check out more experiences like this in the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Greymouth.
Location: 11km (7 miles) east of Greymouth on State Highway 7. The site and roadside car parking area are easy to spot.
3. Go Off-Roading with On Yer Bike!
They’re not afraid to get a little rough and muddy in Greymouth and that certainly shows at On Yer Bike! Choose a self-drive off-roading adventure in a 4×4 buggy or quad bike or be driven in some beasty machines around a purpose-built mud-tastic track extending more than 16km (10 miles) through a mix of farmland and forest. Find out more about tours with On Yer Bike on Viator and Tripadvisor. See more activities like this in the 10 Romantic Activities in Greymouth for Couples.
Location: 5km (3 miles) north of Greymouth on State Highway 6.
4. Cycle the West Coast Wilderness Trail
Greymouth marks the beginning of the 2-4 day West Coast Wilderness Trail. This 120km (75-mile) bike trail to Ross takes old miners’ trails through rainforest, past glacial rivers, lakes, wetlands and along the Tasman Sea. Stop along the way in quaint West Coast villages like Kumara, Lake Kaniere and Hokitika. The trail is mostly off-road and starts from the centre of Greymouth with plenty of bike hire and shuttle options for the one-way trip. Learn more in our guide to Mountain Biking on the West Coast.
Location: The trail starts on the Floodwall opposite the i-SITE.
5. Take a Day Trip to Lake Brunner
One inland lake that many travellers don’t even know about on the West Coast is Lake Brunner. This dark reflective lake surrounded by rainforest and mountains is picture-perfect with plenty of walks and boat trips to make the most of it. Check out some walks to do in the 6 Best Things to Do at Lake Brunner & Moana and the 10 Hikes Around Lake Brunner.
Location: 36km (22 miles) southeast of Greymouth. Take State Highway 7 to the Arnold Valley Road turn off then follow the Arnold Valley Road to the town of Moana on the shore of Lake Brunner.
6. Do a Brewery Tour at Monteith’s Brewery
Beer is kind of a big deal in New Zealand. Check out the brewery of one of New Zealand’s biggest beer brands, Monteith’s in its home turf on the West Coast. Learn about the beer-making process while seeing the inner workings of this working brewery. At the end, you even get to pour your own beer. Food and beer tastings are also available. Find out more about the brewery tour on Viator and Tripadvisor. See more experiences like this in the 7 Things to Do in Greymouth for Foodies.
Location: 60 Herbert Street.
7. Travel on the TranzAlpine Through Arthur’s Pass
Greymouth Railway Station is the beginning/end of one of the world’s most scenic train journeys as voted in multiple travel publications. Hop on the TranzAlpine in Greymouth and enjoy a journey through the West Coast rainforest and lakes on the way to the mountainous regions of the Arthur’s Pass National Park. You’ll go through a nearly 2km (1.2-mile)-long tunnel piercing through the mountains. The train goes all the way to Christchurch where you can return the same day or continue your travels from there. Find out more about the TranzAlpine on Viator and Tripadvisor. See more activities like this in the 8 Luxury Activities in Greymouth.
Location: Greymouth Railway Station, 164 Mackay Street.
8. Do a Road Trip Down the Grey Valley
Take the road less travelled and discover the history and small towns of the Grey Valley. The valley follows the Grey River incorporating interesting towns like Blackball. Snap up a photo of Formerly the Blackball Hilton, a hotel and pub that famously got into a dispute with a certain international hotel chain. You’ll also want to pop into the Blackball Salami Company‘s store to taste incredible gourmet meat products. The valley also has a myriad of hiking and mountain biking trails which you can find out more about in our 10 Best Walks in Greymouth and Mountain Biking on the West Coast.
Location: Blackball, 24km (15 miles) east of Greymouth on the Taylorville-Blackball Road.
9. Visit the Historic Shantytown
Step back in time at this recreated pioneer town with more than 30 buildings to explore. Ride a steam train through the town, experience a working sawmill, pan for gold, check out an interactive museum and dress up in old-world costumes for fun photo opportunities. There’s even an on-site cafe! Find out more about Shantytown Heritage Park on Viator and Tripadvisor. Check out more activities like this in the 10 Things to Do in Greymouth with Kids.
Location: Rutherglen Road, 11km (7 miles) south of Greymouth.
10. Visit the Local Art Galleries and Jade Studios
Wander the streets of Greymouth and you’ll find plenty of inspiration, as well as unique souvenirs of your visit to the West Coast. Check out Shades of Jade selling authentic West Coast pounamu carved into all kinds of jewellery or check out the Garth Wilson Jade studio. See fine art photography and gifts at the Nimmo Gallery & Store.
Location: Shades of Jade – 22 Tainui Street, Garth Wilson Jade – 63 Rutherglen Road, Nimmo Gallery – 102 Mackay Street.
11. Check Out the Pop-Up History House Museum
[Update: The History House Museum has been relocated to what’s now called the Pop-Up History House Museum on 8 MacKay Street].
Learn about the people that flocked to Greymouth and the West Coast during the coal mining and gold rush eras to earn their fortunes despite the dangers and hardships of the jobs! History House is a museum packed with relics found all over the region. Find more museums in the area with our 10 Interesting Museums on the West Coast.
Location: The Pop-Up History House Museum – 8 MacKay Street. The original History House Museum building – 27 Gresson Street.