I left the Golden Bay and Abel Tasman National Park area this morning, driving south toward Greymouth, located on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island. I have visited some amazing places in my life, but the stunning and remarkable places I was able to visit the last few days were unbelievably pictureesque. I could only hope that I would be rewarded with equally beautiful sites in the Greymouth area.
I wouldn’t be disappointed. I arrived in Greymouth at around 4pm and I stopped in a funky sandwich and coffee shop, where I ordered an Americano, with cream on the side. They had WIFI, so I checked my mail, while relaxing on one of their comfortable mismatched sofas, rock music from the 60s blaring in the background. Greymouth is blessed with many natural attractions, including the amazing Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowhole. I plan on seeing this during my stay here.
Before arriving in town, I stopped at the Brunner coal mine historical site. In 1896, New Zealand’s worst industrial accident occurred, claiming 58 miners. The mine is 11 kilometers east of Greymouth on the banks of the Grey River. It took approx. one hour to tour the site. According to the information at the site, this area was discovered by Thomas Brunner, an explorer, who found coal here in 1848. The Oaks Brothers, Thomas, John, and Joseph, thinking they were the discoverers, dug coal from the Brunner seam in 1857 for the galley of their ship, Their boat, the Emerald Isle was the first vessel known to cross the Grey River bar. Beehive coke ovens and other remnants from this era are on the site. Especially noteworthy is the box girder suspension footbridge.
This historical site is obviously important to the community of Greymouth, i.e., it’s obvious that a lot of money was spent on restoring some of the artifacts here, e.g., bridge, chimney, interpretative displays, etc. An actual train comes through this site and I was . . . umm, a bit indisposed in the restroom or I would have taken a picture of the one I heard rumbling through a few feet away (quite disconcerting when it occurred. Grin.).