If you're a history buff, you'll find that Shantytown Heritage Park (tel. 0800/742-689 in NZ, or 03/762-6634; www.shantytown.co.nz) has been rather well done. Situated amid native bush, the replica West Coast gold-mining town includes over 30 historic buildings, and a collection of more than 10,000 historic objects, photographs, archives, and textiles. A steam train operates on a 20-minute bush track, and a stagecoach will rattle you over an old bush road. You can pan for gold, and the sawmill experience takes you through what appears to be an operating sawmill, complete with historical film footage. It's open daily from 8:30am to 5pm. Admission is NZ$29 for adults, NZ$13 for children 5 to 17, with family concessions (this includes a steam train ride and gold panning). To get here, drive 8km (5 miles) south of Greymouth to Paroa, make a left, and go another 3km (2 miles) inland.
For a summary of the region's artistic talents, head for Left Bank Art Gallery, 1 Tainui St. (tel. 03/768-0038; www.leftbankarts.org.nz), Monday through Friday from 11am to 4pm; and weekends 11am to 2pm. It has changing exhibitions (free admission), an excellent shop featuring the work of 70 West Coast artists, and the New Zealand Pounamu Jade Collection. It's closed weekends in winter.
If you prefer something a little more intoxicating, go to Monteith's Brewery, 60 Herbert St. (tel. 03/768-4149; www.monteiths.co.nz), to book the NZ$30 brewery tour and tasting. Daily tours are given at 11:30am, 2pm, 4pm, and 6pm (closed Easter Friday and Saturday, Dec 25, and Jan 1).
A Blackball Experience
Go off the beaten path and discover the quaint historic village of Blackball, 28km (17 miles) northeast of Greymouth in the Grey Valley. Started as a base for transient gold seekers in 1864, it's a lingering testimony to the way life used to be on the coast. Visit the "famous" Formerly the Blackball Hilton, 26 Hart St. (www.blackballhilton.co.nz; tel. 03/732-4705), an original West Coast pub, for a beer, a casual meal, or a low-key overnight stay; and stop off at the award-winning Blackball Salami Company, Hilton Street (tel. 03/732-4111), which makes sausages and salami - low-fat venison and beef versions are a specialty.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.