Possibly one of the greatest recent additions and assets for Greymouth and the Grey District would have to be the West Coast Wilderness Trail. The trail starts in Greymouth and goes right through to Ross in the south – some 136odd kms.
An easy day trip is Greymouth through to the road/rail bridge at Taramakau River, our very own little “golden gate” bridge. Not quite the same grandeur but we love it just the same and it is as iconic to this area as the Golden Gate bridge is to San Francisco.
Part of me had been dreading getting back on the bike – it had been about 5 weeks since my last outing and the longer I left it – well you know how it goes. Anyway start to the day was stunning – there was heavy rain overnight and it was supposed to continue for at least another day but, unusually the weatherman got the forecast for us wrong (unusually yeah right!) and I said to Stephen let’s go for a ride – bike from Greymouth out to the bridge and back and get some photos. He said sure thing, so we loaded up and headed into town.
The trail starts opposite the I-Site on the floodwall overlooking the Grey River. Mawhera is the original name of the Grey River – our Maori name meaning bright running waters and wide open river mouth. It was changed to Grey River and the town to Greymouth in honor of Sir George Grey then Governor of New Zealand in the 1800s. Little history lesson there for you – being called Greymouth has NOTHING to do with the weather……
The trail follows the river along the floodwall, past the beautiful Miners memorial in commemoration of the many miners that have lost their lives on the West Coast.
Continuing on we ride through the fisherman’s wharf, passing the lineup of fishing boats settled in safely to wait out the last of the stormy weather, and carry on along the lagoon edge to meet the sea.
We now follow the coast line for about 9kms, meandering along behind the sand dunes. You can hear the roar of the sea – it was nearly high tide with a good swell so although we couldn’t always see the sea, we could certainly always hear it.
This section – right through to Paroa is ever-changing, skirting not just the sea edge but also the little subdivisions of Greymouth so you get a real birds-eye look at just how pretty the town is and the facilities available to the community – playgrounds, rugby fields etc – not to mention our huge airport…… – that’s the runway I’m biking beside lol.
Did I mention Greymouth is right by the sea! How’s this for a view. We had a good day but on a super clear day you can see the expanse of the Southern Alps, all the way down including Aoraki Mt Cook and Mt Tasman.
Once we reach Paroa the trail moves away from the sea and edges between the main highway and the Saltwater Lagoon and New River on the other side. It passes through a couple of native bush sections and the bird song is almost as loud as the roaring sea was. I guess after the rain there are lots of worms and insects for the birds to feed on – that and all the new spring growth on the trees and flowers and with the sun shining – yep they had plenty of reasons to be chirping away.
Eventually we make it to the bridge – standing proud over the Taramakau River. We take a minute to have a nibble and soak up the views before it is time to turn around and head back to town. All in all a great couple of hours on the bike – 36 kms in all so not a bad effort and my legs aren’t complaining either….. yet…… probably nothing that a big slab of chocolate cake or the such like wouldn’t fix……
Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. They enjoy getting out walking and biking and seeing the sights of the Grey District.