Beautiful Coastline, Exploring Gold Mines, Being Attacked By A Cave Weta, Making Weapons, Drinking Beer
04.03.2012 - 08.03.2012
After Westport I made the picturesque drive down the west coast, with slightly hazardous driving as I kept trying to look over my shoulder to check out the view. I made the mandatory stop at Pancake rocks and joined the droves of other tourists to go round the short walkway to check out the blowholes and other cool rock formations (well if you can call rock formations cool, probably the wrong choice of words...). After that I made the final driving stint to Greymouth, where I planned to stop off for a five days to chill out and wait for the weekend (as I have tickets for the "Wild Foods Festival" in a Hokitika, a small town 30mins drive South away)
The hostel im staying at, Global Village, is pretty awesome and good for chilling out reading and watching movies. However when your travelling you obliged to always seem to be doing something, so I dutifully scouted the leaflets board for things to do for five days.
Among my activities included walking at Woods Creek, a short walk near some Gold Mines, where I braved the tunnels with my head torch (trying not to think of cave in's, rock falls, getting lost or my torch cutting out) In the end it was a cave Weta (A bug they get in New Zealand, google it) which I thought might have jumped onto me which scared me into legging it out of the mine.
My next noteworthy activity was making a knife in a nearby place called Barrytown. An all day actvity, we had to put our steel in a fire, hit it with a hammer lots of times, sand it down, stick some wood to it, sand that down, put some filler on it (then go away for lunch and return with our work looking remarkably more knife like than when we left them) do alot more sanding and polishing, stain the handles, and your left with a knife, easy as that (probably not that easy if you dont have someone doing the difficult bits, but letting you do just enough to make you feel like you made it all by yourself). The day was also filled with other random activities including taking some ponies for a walk, throwing axes at a wooden board, being hauled up on a giant swing and watching the resident fox terrier dog stand on its hind legs and jump around begging for your food. We also got to enjoy a glass of "Champagne" at the end of the day (which the owners admitted was actually the cheapest white wine you can buy put through a kitchen appliance called a SodaStream which carbonates it).
The guy who runs the tour also told us not to mess with him, as apparently he has 17,000 friends, and they all have knives.
After some more time spent relaxing in the hostel, with a coastal walk along Point Elizabeth to break up the laziness, the next stop on the to-do list of Greymouth was the Monteiths Brewery tour. After arrviving at the brewery at 6pm, we spent 15 minutes watching a DVD of how beer is made in the brewery (all the while thinking "when do we get to drink the beer") however the "educational" section of the tour was relatively painless and short, and soon we were allowed into the bar section, where we were plied with beer after beer. After trying 8 beers and 1 cider, we were given free reign of the bar and it became a race against time to see how much we could drink before we got asked to leave the tour (to get our money's worth). We did pretty well. As a bonus we then went for a meal afterwards where we got to try more beer whilst we were blindfolded to try and identify what it was (a game in which we were all winners, due to the fact we were drinking free beer). All in all a fun night, and a good end to my stay in Greymouth. Tomorrow I am heading to Hokitika where I will be sampling new food and music at the "Wild Foods Festival"