Greymouth Floodwall Walk

A floodwall built along Grey River not only protects the township of Greymouth but also offers a pleasant walk with a memorial, sculptures and other historic points of interest.

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The floodwall that lines the southern side of the Grey River can be accessed at several points along Mawhera Quay. Locals jokingly call it ‘the Great Wall of Greymouth’.

It is the starting point of the West Coast Wilderness Trail, a 139 km (86 mi) 4 day cycle trail that runs from Greymouth to Ross via Kumara, Cowboy Paradise and Hokitika.

The floodwall includes a memorial to the miners who have lost their lives in coal mining accidents on the West Coast. This memorial was unveiled on January 19, 2013, the 46th anniversary of the Strongman Mine disaster that killed 19 men.

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Memorial to those you lost their lives in coal mining accidents on the West Coast

Memorial to those you lost their lives in coal mining accidents on the West Coast

A striking feature of Mawhera Quay is the clock tower that was erected by the Greymouth Rotary and Lions clubs in 1992. The clock is from the former Post Office and is dated from 1903.

Opposite the clock tower on the corner of Mawhera Quay and Tainui Street is the historic Bank of New Zealand building, built in 1924, which now houses the Left Bank Art Gallery.

Clock tower and Bank of New Zealand building

Clock tower and Bank of New Zealand building

Toward the Port of Greymouth end of the floodwall is the Coal River Heritage Park. The park is a partnership between the Greymouth Heritage Society, Grey District Council and Port of Greymouth.

The park includes gardens; a drill point sculpture to celebrate coal mining and industry; three restored Q wagons; and the heritage passenger wharf, which has been re-decked.

Heritage passenger wharf and restored Q wagons

Heritage passenger wharf and restored Q wagons

Restored Q wagon

Restored Q wagon

Opposite the Heritage Park on Gresson Street is the Harbour Board Offices and the Grey County Chambers building. The Greymouth Harbour Board Offices building was built in 1885 and opened in November 1886. It was restored in 2002.

Grey County Chambers building, built in 1924, is now home to the History House Museum. The museum located at 27 Greeson Street is open Monday to Wednesday 10 am – 4 pm, Thursday 1 pm – 4 pm and Friday 10 am – 4pm. Adults are $6, children $2.

Greymouth Harbour Board Offices building

Greymouth Harbour Board Offices building

Grey County Chambers (History House Museum)

Grey County Chambers (History House Museum)

The floodwall walk ends at the Port of Greymouth. It is only a 10 minute walk along Mawhera Quay part of the floodwall. Those wishing to explore further can follow the West Coast Wilderness cycle trail.

The trail veers away from the river and follows the Blaketown Lagoon, a fishing basin. Blaketown is named after Isaac Blake, an early shopkeeper in the district. After Blaketown Fishermans Wharf the trail follows the coast offering views of the west coast beach and Tasman Sea.

Blaketown Fishermans Wharf

Blaketown Fishermans Wharf

West Coast

West Coast

Sun setting on the walk back

Sun setting on the walk back

Port of Greymouth on the walk back

Port of Greymouth on the walk back

TranzAlpine, Christchurch to Greymouth

The TranzAlpine is a scenic tourist train that travels from Christchurch to Greymouth.

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The journey is 223 kilometres (139 miles) one way and travels across the Canterbury plains, alongside the Waimakariri River and through the Southern Alps. It is regarded as one of the top scenic train rides in the world.

There are 3 passenger cars A, B, D. The C car is a café car serving meals, snacks and beverages. KiwiRail Scenic Journeys currently serves prepackaged meals from catering company Wishbone. Staff can heat up meals. The meals are reasonably priced but many passengers seem to bring their own snacks as it is only a four-and-half-hour trip one way.

An open viewing car was located at the front of the train, offering the best opportunity for photos and a breath of fresh air.

The train departs Christchurch at 8:15 am and travels across the Canterbury plains with stops at Rolleston, Darfield, Springfield and Cass.

TranzAlpine, Christchurch Railway Station

TranzAlpine, Christchurch Railway Station

TranzAlpine crosses Canterbury plain

TranzAlpine crosses Canterbury plain

Springfield

Springfield

The train stops at Arthur’s Pass for approximately 20 minutes, which is a good opportunity to get off have some fresh air, take some photos, throw a snowball or two.

After Arthur’s Pass train stops at Otira, Jacksons, Moana (Lake Brunner), Kokiri before a scheduled arrival in Greymouth at 12:45 pm.

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Arthur's Pass

Arthur’s Pass

Greymouth Railway Station

Greymouth Railway Station

The train returns from Greymouth at 1:45 pm arriving in Christchurch at 6:05 pm. It is possible to do the TranzAlpine as a day trip or have an overnight stay in Greymouth.