After another visit to the very well-equipped gym I went to Coal Town.
My immediate thought was that it was from 1975 – I wasn’t far off as the actual opening was in 1977. It hasn’t been updated much since then.
There are the standard NZ regional museum features – lots of photos, piles of info on panels, and as much random crap as you can fit. This one has a room devoted to gold mining in the area.
Then there is a room of automotive miscellany.
There is one room about maritime whatnot, complete with a giant steam engine you can set going for 50c. One small room is full of various types of minerals.
For some reason they also have the old TV1 transmitter.
The rest of the museum is about coal.
Unfortunately the panels being nearly 40 years old does show in this section quite badly – references to 1985 in the future tense, government policy referring to Muldoon, and a very different take on sustainability make it all seem very old.
There is also a section of mock mine. It’s similarly dusty. All this for only $12.50!
I went back in to town and bought a fairly decent lunch at a cafe – ham salad sandwiches include pineapple and betroot here! I then had a massage at the Soap Box. 1 hr for $50 isn’t too bad but she did overdo the effleurage a bit and the room was cold. Oh well.
I drove out along SH6 back to Greymouth. This is supposed to be one of the Top 5 Coastal Drives in the World! according to Lonely Planet. Once again – LIES!!!!! The first section is just scrub, and then when you do get out to the coast you can’t look. If you do, you will say “Oooh, look at the loveeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaa!” and drive off the very twisty road.
Even the coastal scenery isn’t that amazing – maybe if you come from some landlocked country you will like it. It’s better than the road between Picton and Christchurch.
If you do want to do a mega NZ road trip here are some better suggestions (in no order):
1. SH6 through the Buller Gorge. Very nice when it is sunny.
2. SH35 from Opotiki to Gisborne – poor road conditions but like driving to another country.
3. SH2 from Dannevirke to Wellington – go through many pretty little villages (Masterton, Carterton, Greytown, Featherston) then over the Rimutaka hill road.
4. SH4 The Wanganui Ruver Road – again like driving to another country. Unsealed but amazing scenery.
5. SH73 to Greymouth! Not that I am biassed at all! It is a very varied road – bush, alpine scenery, then coast. But it does have a habit of being closed with snow a lot.
And since you’re reading – the roads to avoid!
1. SH2 from Opotiki to Gisborne – DON’T miss the turnoff or you’ll be stuck on The Most Boring Road in the World
2. SH1 from Auckland to Levin. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz farms zzzzzzzzzzz
3. SH1 from Picton to Christchurch Zzzzzzzzzzz sea zzzzzzzzzzzzz
4. SH2 to Thames. ZZZZZZZZZZZ paddocks zzzzzzzzzzzzz