Lets take this gig global!!
Hi there folks, well, I dont know if any of you guys have read the last Greymouth update but I've just read back over it and realised how dull it was!! Sorry about that. I was writing it in McDonalds of all places (it was the cheapest place for t'internet!) so not sure if it was the smell of burgers distracting me or lack of time (or the cute girl behind the counter!! ;-) but anyways, I have gone back and changed a few things for your viewing pleasure so if you havent read it before, forget this rambling nonsense and if you HAVE then maybe go back and have another look!! Anyway, back to my news. Well, as I said I left Franz on the bus and headed to Greymouth on Monday. The journey was surprisingly good with a couple of unexpected stops along the way. The first at the smallest town in NZ -Pukhera. It has a resident population of just 2 -yep you read that right...just 2 people!!! All the others "commute" in from neighbouring villages. It did have an interesting shop and cafe though. Ummm, not one for the animal lovers though Im afraid! A real outback place where killing appears to be all they do here. Oh and cooking it afterwards! The walls were covered in stuffed dear/sheep heads, the benches lined with animal skins/fur and the menu included such delicases as Possum pies and rabbit stew! Errrmmm...yummy! :-( Next up was an hour stop off in Hokitika, the home of Greenstone/Jade. Unlike the rest of the bus, this didnt really interest me so after a very brief stroll round the Jade factory (mainly just to use their toilet!) I wondered the town and had my lunch on the beach. A nice little place but not somewhere I would want to spend too much time in. Arriving in Greymouth, it was erm...very 'Grey'!! Thinking it was quite a small place I donned my 30kgs of bags and started walking to my designated hostel. After being pointed in the right direction I soon learned that the map wasnt quite to scale and that I had a bit of a mission on my hands! Schoolboy error!! Things didnt get any better when it started to pour down about half way there. I thought I was back on Franz Josef!! I had come too far to turn back now though so had to plough on. "Man, this place had best be worth it!!" i was thinking - And blow me it was!! I wasnt in the best of moods when I finally arrived but after a quick gander at the hostel my mood changed instantly! What a cool place! I thought I had added Africa to my list countries visited! The whole place was decked out in African/Asian style with funky colours and face sculptures everywhere and possibly the cosiest lounge I have ever been in!! After checking in and ringing out my clothes I took a stroll around town to sort a few things out and have a little think. Originally I was only going to stay in Greymouth for the one night and nothing in the town changed that opinion BUT the hostel (Global Village backpackers by the way!) was soooooo good that I decided to stay another day anayway!! You can hire bikes and even Kayaks for free which i took full advantage of but generally just took it easy as the weather was still pretty rubbish for the two days. I can honestly say that it was by far the best place I have stayed at EVER!! Yep, even better that Cool Bananas folks and that is really saying something!! I loved it and even though I was only there for two days I will miss the TV/movie den, the cosy lounge, my heavenly bed, the funky music played around the place, the decor and the bedtime muffins dearly!! I will be back!! So, time was pressing so I had to move on today and I am now back to where I started - Christchurch. I got here in style though as I caught the Transalpine train across the heart of the island. From the Tasman sea to the pacific ocean. It is renowned as one of the most scenic journeys in the world and even with the dull weather it really didnt disappoint. Highlights included: my four free seats!! the Arthurs pass section of Alps, the 74m high Staircase viaduct and the cloudy tourquiose glacial rivers. A really good journey and one I would defo do again, especially in summer. Right so I am now in C'church for just the one night before I head to Kaikoara tomo for some possible whale watching then heading upto Nelson before catching the ferry to the North island so got some busy days ahead. Will try and keep you posted. All the best, Dan