My parents visited for the Christmas and New Year period. They live in Invercargill and we only get to see each other once or twice a year so it was nice to have them here for a decent length of time.
The weather was perfect for their visit – mostly blue skies, sunshine and lovely warm temperatures. We had one day when the rains came but they were a welcome relief from the summer heat and it was good to top up the water tanks as we rely on the rain water. We had contemplated an afternoon of exploration with a lunch stop at the Honey Junction Cafe at Kumara Junction but with the rain it ended up being a relaxing time – spending a little longer at the cafe that first thought!
Christmas Eve day we all relaxed out in the sunshine, reading our books with a short walk on the beach with the dogs before dinner.
Christmas day started with a champagne breakfast – we had international guests staying also from Sweden so it was nice to let them experience a Kiwi Christmas breakfast. Once they had departed and their room was cleaned, Stephen and I headed into Greymouth to visit with Stephen’s Mum while Mum and Dad stayed home with the dogs and took them for a morning beach walk. Once back home we all sat out in the gardens with a platter of nibbles and more champagne for our Christmas lunch. It was lovely sitting out in the sunshine enjoying the sound of the Tasman sea in the background and the great coastal views. Nice to be able to appreciate your own backyard.
We tried to send Mum and Dad on some fun adventures while they were here and incorporate learning some history of the West Coast. First up was to Denniston for the Denniston Mine Experience. Denniston is north of Westport, on SH67 heading towards Karamea. They were booked on the 10am tour and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, afterwards spending time exploring the incline and brakehead, relics and information boards.
On the drive back to us at Breakers, Mum and Dad stopped in at the Mitchells Gully Goldmine. This is on SH6 between Charleston and Westport and is a fantastic little working goldmine with relics, tunnels and a bush walk.
The other main adventure for the folks was to Reefton for the “Around the Globe” goldmine tour. This is a current working goldmine – a quartz mine unlike the most of the gold mining on the West Coast which is alluvial. Mum and Dad headed off after breakfast to meet with the midday tour and again it was early evening before they were home after doing some further exploration after the tour while they were in Reefton.
Mum and Dad did get to do some sitting back and relaxing while they were here also – it wasn’t all out and about exploring. As mentioned, we had predominately lovely weather so they were able to relax out in the sun and read their books as well as take the occasional walk along the beach. The boys enjoyed having their “grandparents” here as they were taken for morning beach walks while Stephen and I did the breakfasts. Dad tried a couple of mornings to get some fresh mussels off the rocks while the tide was out but they were neat tides and didn’t go out far enough to get to the decent mussel beds. Will have to wait until the next visit.
The last adventure for their stay was out to Nelson Creek. Nelson Creek is inland slightly from Greymouth, another area fill of gold mining history with some lovely bush walks following the old water races from the mining days. Today it is a popular summer camping spot for many of the West Coast locals. Stephen, Jan and the dogs went mountain biking up Kangaroo creek and the Noname valley while Mum and Dad took a drive up to the Haupiri valley before coming back and exploring the Colls Dam walk and tailrace walk at Nelson Creek.
During their stay, Mum and Dad were treated to some of the most spectacular sunsets. Just enough cloud cover for the colours to come through once the sun had set. We had one evening with no cloud – perfect conditions to see the green flash, but we all managed to forget and it had set before we remembered. The rest of the evenings the sky was constantly changing from oranges, pinks and reds – they were stunning, even for us living here and experiencing some wonderful skies.
One more rest day ie no exploring just relaxing in the sunshine with a book – a little beach walk and then it was home time. Dad had to get back to start work after the holiday break and it is a good 9 hour drive from Greymouth back down to Invercargill. It was sad saying our goodbyes but we had a lovely time with Mum and Dad visiting our little slice of paradise and I think they enjoyed themselves…….
Jan and Stephen run Breaker Boutique Accommodation on the Punakaiki coastline, north of Greymouth. Breakers is rated #1 on Tripadvisor for Greymouth Inns and Hotels. Check out other blog postings of Jan and Stephen’s adventures or their activities page on their website for things to do in the area.