Posted by: The Travelling Mallorys | March 1, 2011

Grotty Greymouth and the Monteith’s Brewery Tour Letdown Debacle Shenanigans

Back in Franz Josef we sat and listened to two ditzy but lovable English girls recount all the things people had advised them on their tour of New Zealand, which included such useless gems as

Auckland is just get in and get out


Christchurch isn’t worth seeing

so when people said that Greymouth was a deadsville town with nothing in it we took it with a pinch of salt. After all, everyone in Australia said Canberra was going to be crappy and we loved it. Don’t listen to the doubters right? Well, in this case wrong!

Greymouth at peak going-out time

Greymouth at peak going-out time

Greymouth isn’t just a deadsville town with nothing in it, it’s a massive hole of broken despair. The only tourists you see are queueing at the iSite tourist information place to book the first bus out of here. The only locals you see are half-human, half-yeti.

The hostel we’re staying at has a certain charm. Nowadays called Neptunes Backpackers it was previously the Gilmer Hotel and, even though we didn’t know that as we walked in, we could tell it had a spooky hotel kind of feel.

The hostel itself isn’t too bad, but the people that are staying here are complete freaks, Bavarians, or us.

Us you know about, Bavarians we can handle (although there really are an awful lot of them here putting salt and water into their porridge), but the freakometer is about to blow sky-high!

Erin made me watch a BBC period drama called Little Dorrit. Maybe you saw it. If so, you’ll understand why I’m freaked out by this guy staying here (and definitely giving me the occasional ‘look’).

Mr Pancks, the snorting midget

Mr Pancks, the snorting midget

In addition to that, while I was washing up yesterday some bloke in his forties blatantly called me “Justin Fucking Timberlake”.

Lucky for him I had already realised he had tourettes or something or I would have rocked his body, and not in a JT-style good way. He had already walked into a room full of backpackers and said “Oooh, there’s a lot of cooooool people in here isn’t there” and then under his breath “I wonder if I’ll ever meet another woman” which was all a bit weird, so he was clearly a couple of straps short of a rucksack.

Then today as I went down to do some washing, this couple came in who homeless people would have given their spare change too. Seriously, it was like The Magic Numbers’ ostracised evil brother and sister-wife had turned up to pitch their tent in the carpark. They’re out there now in the pouring rain and wind, the freaky weirdos.

These guys left their freakier siblings in New Zealand and they're camping outside our window

These guys left their freakier siblings in New Zealand and they're camping outside our window

But, my dear husband, we were only here for one reason weren’t we – your highly anticipated Monteith’s Brewery Tour that you have been looking forward to ever since we arrived in New Zealand.

That’s true.

And how was it?

Bloody awful.

Indeed it was! Firstly our free pick-up didn’t arrive, and then when it did we got driven about 25 seconds down the road before getting out which was a bit embarrasing.

I can live with that, but the tour itself was the big letdown. I love the beer Monteiths make, so going to their flagship brewery was really, genuinely exciting for me. Turns out that since they got bought out by a conglomerate a few years back they don’t really make beer here anymore, just cider. And the apples turn up pre-squashed, so basically they bottle it and send it out.

The bottling machine, because I know you're as interested as we were

The cider bottling machine we saw on our brewery tour, because I know you're as interested as we were

It was a real shame. We were talked through the whole process on what was now basically legacy machinery, and talked through it in a real hurry.

I thought maybe that was good as we’d have more time in the tasting room. You’ll remember at the Speights Brewery tour in Dunedin we had some time to drink as much as we could, so I was expecting the same thing here.

But you were wrong.

So wrong! They had all the normal beers you find in a pub on tap, and gave one little thimble of each, then a quarter pint of your favourite! Absolute mickey take. We were finished well before the tour  was meant to be done, and totally gutted at the same time.

Biggest drink of the tour - what a joke

Biggest drink of the tour - what a joke

We’d bought this special tour and meal deal, so we did squeeze a bit of value of it in the end, but it was thoroughly disappointing, especially as it was the only reason we had come to Greymouth for these two nights.

Seeing as Greymouth is such a poohole, it seems that the most interesting industry here should make a bit of effort to for you to leave with a smile on your face but it didn’t work out like that. Still, we’re off tomorrow heading for Nelson.

Another long bus ride, but hopefully some normal citizens. We’ll let you know!

Until then…



  1. […] to the crappest place in the whole of New Zealand (possibly the world) to go to their factory, but I’ve written about that elsewhere, so won’t get back into that again now. Pouring a 'pint' of my […]

  2. Tosser

    • You’re right Matt. It could have been worse – we could have stayed at Noah’s Ark Backpackers in Greymouth right? That really would have been something to complain about.

  3. I’m born and bred in Greymouth and I bet you wouldn’t call me a half yeti to my face! And if greymouth is such a let down why don’t you f##k off back too your own scabby country I hear there has been a shortage of d##kheads while you have been away! Freeeak

    • Hi Ben Ilton. Thanks for your charming comment. I’m sure people will flock to Greymouth now you’ve shown what a born and bred Greymouthian is like.

  4. Shame you were bussing it! The Punakaiki Rocks and the coastline just north of Greymouth has stunning scenery. Just south is the old gold mining camp which now has the unfortunate name of Shanty Town, but is well worth a visit, , particularly the walk through the old part of the mining area.
    Yes Greymouth isn’t much to look at but it has some great places nearby and is a good stop over if you’re driving over Arthurs or Lewis passes.

    • Nice one Pat. Shame we missed that good stuff, but plenty of people read this so I hope they’ll benefit from your tips. Happy new year!

  5. […] to the crappest place in the whole of New Zealand (possibly the world) to go to their factory, but I’ve written about that elsewhere, so won’t get back into that again […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s