The town of Greymouth is aptly named—at first take, it's a rather dispirited strip of motels and industrial buildings stretched along a wild beach. It sits, as the name suggests, at the mouth of the Grey River and is thus exposed to a bone-chilling wind in winter. But in warmer weather, its good points come to the fore. Many travelers arrive here on the TranzAlpine train from Christchurch—instead of captivating coastal
drives, they’ve enjoyed a breathtaking ride on viaducts high above river beds, beneath steep peaks, and through dripping rain forest. If you're arriving and returning by train, take a day or two for a trip up to Punakaiki or down to the glaciers, to grasp the scope of the landscape.