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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.