Plan a Family Trip to Greymouth
The largest town on the West Coast, Greymouth is more than just a large dot on the map! It’s a town with a rich mining heritage, which is evident from the remains seen on exciting short walks in the area. In fact, finding gold is still on the agenda for many visiting here with lots of opportunities to pan for the good stuff at various family-friendly attractions. As well as that, families will find Greymouth an ideal base for exploring West Coast highlights, from the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks in the north to Hokitika Gorge in the south. Meanwhile, stay in one of the town’s family-friendly holiday parks and motels which are convenient and kind on the budget.
So, plan your family getaway along with activities and accommodation with this complete guide to Greymouth for families.
Things to Do in Greymouth with Kids
- Go on an off-roading adventure with On Yer Bike
- Experience the West Coast like it used to be at Shantytown Heritage Park
- Go on a glowworm and gold panning tour
- Tackle one of Greymouth’s short walks
- Check out the Brunner Mine Site
- Take a trip to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks
- Or take a trip to Hokitika Gorge
- Spend the day at Lake Brunner
- Ride the TranzAlpine through Arthur’s Pass
- Cycle part of the West Coast Wilderness Trail.
For more details on each activity and their locations, check out the 10 Things to Do in Greymouth with Kids.
Family Adventure Activities
Greymouth offers many fantastic outdoor adventures on its doorstep (some of them all-weather or free, which we’ll get onto later). One that pleasantly surprises visitors, however, is 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 native bush, try your luck at panning for gold, see a working sluice gun or sawmill in action and much more!
A real hidden gem of the Greymouth area, Glow-worm Cave Tour offers glowworm and gold panning tours. As long as your kids are old enough scramble through a cave, they’ll have a blast on this tour. Delve into a cave with a ceiling of glittering glowworms and learn about their interesting lifecycle from your knowledgable guide. You’ll also get an insight into the local and Maori history and try your hand at panning for gold.
For more family adventures, check out the 10 Things to Do in Greymouth with Kids.
All-weather Family Activities
When it comes to all-weather fun, 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 famous for its buggy and quad biking adventures, a great option for families with kids 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! Rides last between 30 minutes to an hour and travel approximately 5km (3 miles). Alternatively, older kids might like to jump in the passenger seat as you try the self-drive buggy adventure!
Riding the train is always a kid-pleaser, but the TranzAlpine is sure to inspire 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 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.
For more all-weather ideas, check out the 10 Things to Do in Greymouth on a Rainy Day.
Free Family Activities
Tie up the little ones’ laces, because most of the free family attractions in Greymouth are scenic walks! Some of the closest walks to town that are suitable for 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 along the way. 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. Learn more about the walks, as well as a few others, in the 10 Best Walks in Greymouth.
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 to walk and is stroller-friendly, but allow extra time to stop and admire the blowholes. See more attractions nearby in the 9 Awesome Things to Do in Punakaiki. Tours to this attraction are also available with Explore West Coast.
Next, head south to check out Hokitika Gorge! Admire the fluorescent turquoise 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 a viewing platform. Check out more things to do in the area in the 10 Awesome Things to Do in Hokitika. Tours to this attraction are also available with Explore West Coast.
Finally, another short walk and historic site worth visiting is the Brunner Mine Site. And don’t worry, this isn’t too far from town. 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.
For more free activities, check out the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Greymouth.