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 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’).
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.
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.
And how was it?
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.
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.
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!