Travel to the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island (known by the Māori name Te Tai Poutini) and you’ll find turquoise lakes, historic mining towns and challenging – but beautiful – hiking tracks. After all that adventuring, a stop at a country pub is just what you need.
We’ve done the hard work for you and mapped out a pub crawl along the west coast. Start in Hokitika and wind your way through the incredible countryside to beers at Greymouth, Blackball, Ngahere and Reefton.
Pioneer Hotel - Hokitika
First stop is Hokitika, a historic gold mining town next to the Hokitika River, which is where you’ll find the popular walking track and turquoise waters of Hokitika Gorge just a half-hour drive away. It’s also famous as a place to source pounamu, a type of greenstone that plays an important role in Māori culture (it’s traditionally worn as a necklace). The Pioneer Hotel is a popular road trip stop-off point. It’s an old-school country pub with a sunny outdoor garden and budget accommodation options. On Sundays the chefs cook up a hearty pork belly roast.
Kaniere Hotel - Hokitika
Next up is the Kaniere Hotel, located just down the road in Hokitika. It’s a welcoming pub just a short drive away from Lake Kaniere, one of the area’s main attractions with lots of stunning walking and mountain bike tracks, waterfalls and picnic areas. This no-fuss local spot is great for budget accommodation and refuelling with a meal. You’ll find the locals playing pool there, and on Thursday nights, there’s usually a live music or open mic night.
Monteith’s Brewery - Greymouth
Head down the road in Greymouth to Monteith’s Brewery, the best place to learn about the classic Kiwi craft beer company Monteith’s. Founded by the Monteith family in 1868, the brand has a long history of using New Zealand-grown ingredients to create delicious beers. You can tour the brewery with an ale or IPA in hand, before finishing with a lesson on proper tasting and pouring. The restaurant is popular for burgers, chips and other pub food.
Formerly The Blackball Hilton - Blackball
Next, head 25 kilometers north of Greymouth to check out Blackball’s historic pub, Formerly The Blackball Hilton. About half an hour’s drive from Hokitika, Greymouth is the largest town on the west coast with a population of around 14,000. Established in 1910, when Greymouth was a bustling mining town, the pub sits in a heritage two-storey building in almost original condition. Pop inside to sit by the fireplace and recharge. If you’re in a van, there are motorhome sites outside where you can park and plug in.
Nelson Creek Hotel – Ngahere
A short drive from Greymouth you’ll find Ngahere and the Nelson Creek Hotel. This pub is directly opposite Nelson Creek Recreation Reserve, which doubles as a campground and the starting point of many walking tracks around the area. It’s no-frills inside, and serves classic pub fare like burgers and beers.
Dawson’s Hotel at Reefton – Reefton
Reefton is a small inland town right next to the Inangahua River. Its claim to fame is being the first place in the southern hemisphere to have electric street lights (which were turned on in 1888). The town’s quaint main street is lined with heritage buildings, and Dawson’s Hotel is one of them. The pub was established in 1874 and has a restaurant, beer garden, piano and lots of comfy chairs – perfect for the last stop of your tour.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Christchurch NZ.